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As competition grew with the port of Georgetown and the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal fostered development on the north side of the Potomac River, the city's economy stagnated, together with the loss of representation and rights to vote and failed expectations for economic benefit from the new district.

Alexandria was also an important port and market in the slave trade, and there were increasing talk of abolition of slavery in the national capital.

Alexandria was home to the Franklin & Armfield Slave Market, one of the largest slave trading companies in the country.

This led to the calling of the Annapolis Convention of 1786, which in turn led to the calling of the Federal Convention of 1787.

In 1755, General Edward Braddock organized his fatal expedition against Fort Duquesne at Carlyle House in Alexandria.

In April 1755, the governors of Virginia, and the provinces of Maryland, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and New York met to determine upon concerted action against the French in America.

In 1920, Virginia's General Assembly voted to incorporate what had been Alexandria County as Arlington County to minimize confusion.

Map of Alexandria County (1878), including what is now Arlington County and the City of Alexandria.

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