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Southside (Virginia) facts for kids

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Southside, or Southside Virginia, has traditionally referred to the portion of the state south of the James River, the geographic feature from which the term derives its name. This was the first area to be developed in the colonial period.

Southside- Location
Southside of Virginia

During the colonial era, Southside was considered the area where entrepreneurs settled, as opposed to some of the more established and wealthier families in the Tidewater counties. Many early Southside settlers were younger sons of established Tidewater families. A major portion of the territory was formed in 1703, when Prince George County, Virginia was organized from Charles City County. Four other counties and three independent cities were formed from this territory, the counties in the 18th century and some of the independent cities in the 19th and 20th centuries.

In the 21st century, however, some people use a more limited definition of the region that is confined to the Piedmont area: those counties lying south of the James River, west of the Fall Line, and east of the Blue Ridge Mountains. This is the southern portion of Virginia's Piedmont region. This definition describes an area often considered to be the heart of Southside. It also accounts for social and economic changes as the eastern counties developed dense populations, and the Richmond suburbs expanded to occupy large portions of Chesterfield and Powhatan counties.

Counties in the region

Counties considered part of this region began those divided from Prince George County: Brunswick, Dinwiddie, Nottoway, Amelia, and Prince Edward, formed from parts of Prince George County. In addition to Richmond, the independent city of Petersburg, Virginia was established in this region.

In addition, the western part of Southside has long been reputed for its isolated, rural, and culturally conservative character. Associated counties are Patrick, Henry, Bedford, Pittsylvania, Halifax, Charlotte, Mecklenburg, Campbell, Lunenburg, Appomattox, Buckingham, Cumberland, Powhatan, and Greensville counties.

The independent cities of Danville, Emporia, Lynchburg, and Martinsville, are also considered to be in the western part of this region.

These more rural, western areas of Southside are noted for sharing similarities and connections with North Carolina. For instance, residents of Danville frequently visit Greensboro, North Carolina for amenities. Residents of South Boston and Clarksville, Virginia travel to the Research Triangle for amenities, including use of the Raleigh–Durham International Airport.


Southside Piedmont region has a climate different from the coastal areas of Virginia. Summers are typically hot, with highs generally in the upper 80s to low 90s; quite often 5-7 degrees hotter than in Richmond. Winters are generally mild, and nighttime lows often drop below freezing; frequently 5-7 degrees cooler than Richmond or Norfolk. Much of this has to do with the distance of the region from the temperature-moderating effect of the Atlantic Ocean.

Snow and frozen precipitation usually falls every year in Southside (usually less than a foot), with the western and northern fringes of the area getting several inches more snow than the rest.

Cities and Towns associated with Southside

Higher education

Colleges in the Southside region include:

  • Averett University
  • Central Virginia Community College
  • Hampden–Sydney College
  • Liberty University
  • Longwood University
  • Lynchburg College
  • Patrick & Henry Community College
  • Randolph College
  • Southside Virginia Community College
  • Virginia University of Lynchburg
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