Winchester is an independent city located in the northern portion of the Commonwealth of Virginia, United States. It is the county seat of Frederick County, although the two are separate jurisdictions. The Bureau of Economic Analysis combines the city of Winchester with surrounding Frederick County for statistical purposes. As of the 2010 census, the city's population was 26,203. As of 2018, its population is an estimated 28,108.
Winchester is the principal city of the Winchester, Virginia–West Virginia, metropolitan statistical area, which is a part of the Baltimore–Washington metropolitan area. Winchester is home to Shenandoah University and the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley.
Indigenous peoples lived along the waterways of present-day Virginia for thousands of years before European contact. Archeological, linguistic and anthropological studies have provided insights into their cultures. Though little is known of specific tribal movements before European contact, the Shenandoah Valley area, considered a sacred common hunting ground, appears by the 17th century to have been controlled mostly by the local Iroquoian-speaking groups, including the Senedo and Sherando.
The Algonquian-speaking Shawnee began to challenge the Iroquoians for the hunting grounds later in that century.