is a census-designated place(CDP) in York County, Virginia, United States. The population was 203 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of York County, one of the 8 original shires formed in colonial Virginia in 1634.
It is most famous as the site of the surrender of General Cornwallis to General George Washington in 1781. Although the war would last for another year, this British defeat at Yorktown did effectively end the American Revolutionary War. Yorktown also figured prominently in the American Civil War (1861-1865), serving as a major port to supply both northern and southern towns, depending upon who held Yorktown at the time.
Today, Yorktown is part of an important national resource known as the Historic Triangle of Yorktown, Jamestown and Williamsburg, and is the eastern terminus of the Colonial Parkway. Yorktown is also the eastern terminus of the TransAmerica Trail, a bicycle touring route created by the Adventure Cycling Association.
Yorktown, named for York, a city in Northern England, was founded in 1691 as a port for shipping tobacco to Europe. It was called "York" until after the American Revolutionary War, when the name "Yorktown" came into common use.
The town reached the height of its success around 1750 when it had 250 to 300 buildings and a population of almost 2,000 people. It was the base of British General Charles Cornwallis during the 1781 siege, which was the last major battle of the American Revolutionary War. Nine buildings, including the circa-1730 Nelson House, still survive from this period, as well as many of the earthworks dug by the besieging American and French forces. The Yorktown Victory Monument – commemorating the victory, the alliance with France that brought it about and the resulting peace with England – is located just outside the current town. A memorial to the French war dead of the Yorktown campaign is being planned for construction at the French cemetery on the site of the battle.
During the 1862 Peninsula Campaign of the American Civil War (1861-1865), Yorktown was captured from the Confederacy and then used as the base for the Union Army of the Potomac under General George B. McClellan