The New River Valley is a region in the eastern United States along the New River in the Commonwealth of Virginia (specifically Southwest Virginia). The valley is comprised of the counties of Montgomery (including the towns of Blacksburg and Christainsburg), Pulaski, Floyd, Giles and the independent City of Radford. It is part of the Great Appalachian Valley and was one of the first frontier areas in the United States, and was key to encouraging western expansion. The first European to explore the valley was Abraham Wood of Fort Henry in 1671 and settlements began to develop in the 1700s. A branch of the Great Wagon Road led through the New River Valley. The valley was the location of several small American Civil War battles and according to the 2000 census is home to approximately 165,145 residents. The New River Valley is also home to several institutions of higher learning including Virginia Tech, Radford University and New River Community College.
The roots of modern Virginia trace back to the founding of the Virginia Colony in 1607 by the Virginia Company of London as the first permanent New World English colony. Slavery played significant roles in Virginia's early economy and politics. Virginia became one of the Thirteen Colonies in the American Revolution and subsequently joined the Confederacy in the American Civil War. Although traditionally conservative and historically part of the South, modern Virginia is a politically competitive state for both major national parties.