Virginia History

The Virginia Colony is the first colony of the thirteen American colonies. The name Virginia refers to the “Virgin Queen” (“Virgin Queen”) Elizabeth I of England. Originally the name referred to a much larger area, namely the coastal area explored by Sir Walter Raleigh ‘s expedition of 1584 and the hinterland as far as the Mississippi. Jamestown was founded in 1607, the oldest permanent English settlement in the New World that is still inhabited. King Charles IIgave Virginia, which had remained loyal to the monarchy throughout the English Civil War, the nickname “The Old Dominion”.

According to watchtutorials, the English settlers arrived during a period of great drought and scarcity of food, which led to conflicts with the native population, the Indians. As the English population grew and moved more and more inland, conflict intensified. This led to the first fighting, but a marriage between John Rolfe and the Powhatan princess Pocahontas temporarily restored peace. In 1622, a surprise attack by the Powhatan on Jamestown took place, killing a quarter of its population. This was the first of the American Indian Wars and went down in history as the Jamestown Massacre. In 1667the Bacon Rebellion took place in which a group of small farmers launched attacks on the Indians on their own initiative in order to take land. It brought them into conflict with Governor William Berkeley and eventually they attacked the capital Jamestown and set fire to much of the city. Bacon also drafted a statement denying the king’s power and additional troops were sent from London for both reasons.

In 1693 a university was founded in Williamsburg, the College of William & Mary, the second oldest university in the United States after Harvard. The colony owed its first economic boom to tobacco cultivation. In the late 18th century, cotton started to become the main export product. For tobacco cultivation, the planters first recruited white workers (“indentured labourers”), who did not differ much in status from slaves during their contract period, but after seven years were given complete freedom and then usually started a small farm themselves. Around 1700, however, the planters mainly made use of imported blacks, who were imprisoned for lifecontinued slavery. Virginia thus became a slave state, where 30 to 40% of the population consisted of black slaves.

Virginia was one of thirteen colonies that revolted against British rule in the 18th century. Three of the main Founding Fathers came from Virginia, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison. Patrick Henry was a lawyer and ardent advocate of American independence, and he famously delivered a speech in 1775 with the closing sentence Give me Liberty, or give me death! (Give me freedom or give me death!). He would later be elected governor twice. In 1781, inYorktown fought the last battle in the American Revolutionary War.

Virginia became the tenth state of the United States on June 25, 1788 . Its first president, George Washington, owned Mount Vernon, a Virginia plantation that is now a museum. The Virginia territory then ran all the way to the Mississippi and Ohio, but the western part was renamed the new state of Kentucky in 1792.

One of Southampton County ‘s largest slave revolts took place in 1831, led by the slave Nat Turner. More uprisings took place, two of them led by white abolitionists, John Brown and George Boxley. Because Virginia’s economy was largely dependent on slave labor, not only in agriculture but also in mining and manufacturing, the state sided with the Confederate States of America in the American Civil War. The western part of the state consisted mainly of smaller farms and there were far fewer slaves here. This area seceded and became the stateWest Virginia. A large number of battles took place in Virginia, including the First Battle of Bull Run. In 1864, Virginia rejoined the federation under a new constitution. It eventually provided for the end of slavery, and parliament became the ninth state to ratify the amendment to the US constitution that established this. On the basis of this constitution, a system of public education was also built up from 1870; until then, only children from wealthy families attended private schools. By August 1871, 2,800 public schools had been established and 3,000 teachers had been appointed.

In March 1924, the Virginia General Assembly passed a racial law that went beyond anything the United States has known in this area. The Racial Integrity Act made the usual distinction between whites and non-whites, but labeled anyone non-white who had even one non-white ancestor. Under the direction of magistrate Walter Plecker, archives and population registers were scoured to screen “suspicious” white families for “miscegenation”. In 1958, the couple married Loving, a black woman and a white man. Mixed marriages were banned in Virginia at the time and in order to get married, the marriage took place in Washington DC. The couple was sentenced to one year in prison in Virginia. The case was eventually referred to the Supreme Court in 1967, which ruled that intermarriage is legal throughout the United States and the conviction must be reversed. This event is still celebrated on June 12, Loving day. In 1990, Douglas Wilder took office as governor, becoming the first African-American governor in the US.

Virginia was also hit during the attacks on September 11, 2001, when a plane crashed into the Pentagon.

Virginia History