The Virginia Colony
The First New World Settlement
Our colony was founded in 1607 by John Smith and several other colonists including John Rolfe who were backed by the London Company (Britain). The name "Virginia" was inspired by Queen Elizabeth I of England, the "Virgin Queen".
The Virginia Colony is located on the Eastern coast of the New World, between the Southern colonies and New England colonies. It contains mountains, valleys, and coastal plains. The English settled at the mouth of the James River, which is rich in natural resources and a good harbor. Virginia's central location among the colonies made it a good contact point for trade, and its physical geography and warm climate made an immense impact on Virginia's large tobacco industry.
Religion and Government
The law mandates that Virginians worship in the Anglican Church, which is supported by tax dollars of the citizens. The Virginia Colony is not tolerant of non-Christian religions. Religion also influences the government, so there is a blurred line between religious and civil authority. In addition, religious freedom also comes with political independence. Our colony began as a joint stock company, and we are endorsed by King James I. The colonists are governed by a council that was chosen back in London. We recently created the House of Burgesses, and each Virginia community elects two representatives to this governing body. The House can pass laws, but the Virginia Company has the power to veto; however, the King just made us a royal colony, though the assembly still meets because it seems to be an effective form of government. The King granted us charters which extended basic freedoms to all Virginians.
We trade goods such as tools, pots, and guns with the local Powhatan's for food, furs, and leather. We did not have banks or money, so we barter using items such as tobacco and sugar.
Religion and Government
A Chronology of Events
1608: John Smith is released; a fire destroys all the homes in the colony
1611: John Rolfe introduces tobacco seeds
1619: first meeting of Virginia General Assembly
1622: Indian massacre kills 347 colonists
1624: Virginia made a royal colony
1676: Bacon's Rebellion
1699: Williamsburg is established as the capitol
Chief Powhatan: Indian Chief who helps us survive in the New World
Pocahontas: Indian woman who married John Rolfe and rescued John Smith
John Rolfe: introduced tobacco to the economy
Christopher Newport: helped deliver supplies to the colony to keep it from failing