York River (Virginia)

York River
Flickr - …trialsanderrors - Yorktown harbor, Virginia, 1903.jpg
York River at Yorktown, ca. 1903
Name origin: York
CountryUnited States
 - locationChesapeake Bay, Virginia
Length34 mi (55 km)
Dischargefor Hanover, Virginia
 - average1,085 cu ft/s (31 m3/s) [2]
York River watershed

The York River is a navigable estuary, approximately 34 miles (55 km) long,[3] in eastern Virginia in the United States. It ranges in width from 1 mile (1.6 km) at its head to 2.5 miles (4.0 km) near its mouth on the west side of Chesapeake Bay. Its watershed drains an area of the coastal plain of Virginia north and east of Richmond.

Its banks were inhabited by indigenous peoples for thousands of years. In 2003 evidence was found of the likely site of Werowocomoco, one of two capitals used by the paramount chief Powhatan before 1609. The site was inhabited since 1200 as a major village. Enormously important in later U.S. history, the river was also the scene of early settlements of the Virginia Colony. It was the site of significant events and battles in both the American Revolutionary War and the American Civil War.


The confluence of the Mattaponi and Pamunkey Rivers in West Point, the site which marks the beginning of the York River

The York River is formed at West Point, approximately 35 miles (56 km) east of Richmond, by the confluence of the Mattaponi and Pamunkey rivers. It drains into the Chesapeake Bay towards the southeast, entering the bay approximately 5 miles (8 km) east of Yorktown, which sits along its southern shore. U.S. Highway 17 crosses the estuary from Yorktown to Gloucester Point on the George P. Coleman Memorial Bridge.