Fredericksburg is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of 2013, the population was 28,132.
Located on the Rappahannock River near the head of navigation at the fall line, Fredericksburg developed as the frontier of colonial Virginia shifted west out of the coastal plain. The land on which the city was founded was part of a tract patented in 1671. The Virginia General Assembly established a fort on the Rappahannock in 1676, just below the present-day city. In 1714, Lt. Gov. Alexander Spotswood sponsored a German settlement called Germanna on the Rapidan River, a tributary of the Rappahannock upstream from the future site of the city, and led an expedition westward over the Blue Ridge Mountains in 1716. In 1781, Fredericksburg was incorporated as a town, with its own court, council, and mayor. It received its charter as a city in 1879, and under Virginia law was separated from Spotsylvania County. The city adopted its present city manager/council form of government in 1911.