Bristol is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 17,835. It is the twin city of Bristol, Tennessee, just across the state line, which runs down the middle of its main street, State Street. The Bureau of Economic Analysis combines the city of Bristol, Virginia, with neighboring Washington County, Virginia, for statistical purposes. Bristol is a principal city of the Kingsport–Bristol–Bristol, TN-VA Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is a component of the Johnson City–Kingsport–Bristol, TN-VA Combined Statistical Area – commonly known as the "Tri-Cities" region.
Evan Shelby first appeared in what is now the Bristol area around 1765. In 1766, Shelby moved his family and settled at a place called Big Camp Meet (now Bristol, Tennessee/Virginia). It is said that Cherokee Indians once inhabited the area and the Indian village was named, according to legend, because numerous deer and buffalo met here to feast in the canebrakes. Shelby renamed the site Sapling Grove (which would later be changed to Bristol). In 1774, Shelby erected a fort on a hill overlooking what is now downtown Bristol.