Culpeper (formerly Culpeper Courthouse, earlier Fairfax) is the only incorporated town in Culpeper County, Virginia, United States. The population was 16,379 at the 2010 census, up from 9,664 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Culpeper County.
Culpeper is located at 38°28′19″N 77°59′57″W (38.471915, −77.999168).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 7.31 square miles (18.9 km2), of which 7.27 square miles (18.8 km2) is land and 0.04 square mile (0.1 km2) is water.
After establishing Culpeper County, Virginia in 1748, the Virginia House of Burgesses voted to establish the Town of Fairfax on February 22, 1759. The name honored Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron (1693–1781) who was proprietor of the Northern Neck peninsula, a vast domain north of the Rappahannock River; his territory was then defined as stretching from Chesapeake Bay to what is now Hampshire County, West Virginia.
The original plan of the town called for ten blocks, which form the core of Culpeper's downtown area today. The original town was surveyed by a young George Washington, who at age 27 was a protege of the 6th Lord Fairfax. In 1795, the town received a U.S. Post Office under the name Culpeper Court House, although most maps continued to show the Fairfax name. The confusion resulting from the difference in official and postal names, coupled with the existence to the northeast of Fairfax Court House and Fairfax Station post offices in Fairfax County, was finally resolved when the Virginia General Assembly formally renamed the town as simply Culpeper in 1869 (Acts, 1869–1870, chapter 118, page 154).
During the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783), the Culpeper Minutemen, a pro-Independence militia, formed in the town of Culpeper Courthouse. They organized in what was then known as "Clayton's Old Field," near today's Yowell Meadow Park.