is an independent city in Virginia, United States located on the Appomattox River and 23 miles south of Richmond. The population was 33,740 as of the 2000 census. It is in Tri-Cities area of the Richmond-Petersburg region and is a portion of the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). The Bureau of Economic Analysis combines the city of Petersburg (along with Colonial Heights) with neighboring Dinwiddie County for statistical purposes. Other nearby counties are Prince George and Chesterfield County.
The city's unique industrial past created wealth for Virginia. Among the city's significant properties is Battersea, a Palladian-style house built in 1767-1768 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). Also on the NRHP is Petersburg National Battlefield of the American Civil War. Numerous historic properties and districts are associated with downtown. The Pocahontas Island National Historic District is the location of the largest free black population in 1860. Among the oldest black churches in the nation are two Baptist churches, established as the first of that denomination in the city in the early 19th century. The black churches were leaders in the national Civil Rights Movement of the mid-20th century that achieved historic legislation for civil and voting rights.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 23.2 square miles (60.1 km²), of which, 22.9 square miles (59.3 km²) of it is land and 0.3 square miles (0.8 km²) of it (1.29%) is water.
Petersburg is located on the Appomattox River at the fall line, which marks the area where an upland region (continental bedrock) and a coastal plain (coastal alluvia) meet. The fall line is typically prominent where a river crosses its rocky boundary as there are rapids or waterfalls. River boats could not travel any farther inland, making the location the head of navigation. The need of a port and abundant supply of water power causes settlements to develop where a river crosses the fall line.
The most prominent example of fall line settlement was the establishment of the cities along the eastern coast of the United States where the Appalachian Rise and the coastal plains meet.