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Moving inland from the east, early Virginian settlers would have pushed up the James River to establish Jamestown. Virginia’s rivers have shaped the state’s geography. Most of the rivers set their courses when the Appalachians rose three hundred million years ago. Today, some rivers, like the James and York rivers flow through the central Piedmont plateau to the swampy lowlands and salt marshes, finally emptying into the Atlantic. Fascinating flora and fauna have grown up in and around these rivers. Many state parks, like the York River State Park, offer visitors a closer look at them.