The Virginia Colony

By: Hannah Wolfe


Today Virginia is a state but long ago it was a colony. The beginning of Virginia, The first parlement. Who was Sir William Berkeley, What did he do? Who and what were Royalists, What did they do? Here are answers to all those questions!

The Beginning of Virginia

The Virginia colony was not easy to become established. As the three ships that were carrying the Englishmen sailed up the river that they called James, The Indians that called that same river Powhatan were watching them. It is possible that some of these Indians had seen Europeans before. In 1570, Spanish missionaries had built a settlement in Virginia that the Indians quickly destroyed. Later the English sent out several ships to explore the coast of what is now the eastern United States. These explorers named this land Virginia in honor if there Virgin Queen Elizabeth I. However these explorers failed to set up any Parliament settlements in Virginia or anywhere else in America. The Indians watched from the forest as the Englishmen left their ships to explore. On one of their first landings at a point that the English called Cape Henry, about thirty colonists were attacked by a small band of Indians. To understand why the Indians attacked the English it might help to reverse the situation. What if in the spring of 1607, One hundred Indian warriors with weapons arrived at your village and took land from you without asking permission.

Sir William Berkeley

Sir William Berkeley was the leader of Virginia for thirty-five years. He came to the new world in 1642 from the south of England. He brought with him a commission signed by King Charles I, naming him royal governor of Virginia. Berkeley was a Royalist, an Anglician, and a member of the English Upper Class. As a Royalist he was deeply loyal to the king. As an Anglician Berkeley had a deep faith in the church of England. As a member of the English Upper Class he created a social and political order based on the one he knew in England. That order established a small ruling upper class and a large servant class. Over the years Berkeley had a great impact on the development of Virginia, he also helped write Virginia's laws, establish its commerce, and shaped the make-up of its society. Sir William Berkeley was a Royalist, an Anglician, and a member of the English Upper Class.


Who were Royalists, what did they do? Royalists got their name from their loyalty to King Charles I the "royal" head of England. From 1645-1670 40,000 to 50,000 people immigrated from England to Virginia. They were very different in their social backgrounds, from the pilgrim and puritan settlers of New England. The men who became the leaders of Virginia shared Sir William Berkeley's background. Like him they were from the English Upper Class. They were also called the "Caviliers." After the English war began they fled their country to avoid persecution. In many cases, Berkeley recruited them to come to the new world. The Upper Class Englishmen who settled Virginia made up about 25% of the population. The rest of the immigrants to Virginia were from the lower class, and most of them were male. Royalists were men who were loyal to the king and fought for us in the war.


The Virginia colony wasn't easy to become discovered. The Indians fighting for Virginia. Sir William Berkeley and about his 35 years of leading Virginia. Royalists were very loyal to King Charles I. Virginia was a colony with lots of history behind it.


commerce- activities that relate to the buying and selling of goods and services.
commision- the act of committing or entrusting a person, group, etc with supervisory power or authority.
established- to begin or create something that is ment to last for a long time.
immigrated- to come to a different place or country to live there.
persecution- the act or practice of persecuting especially those who differ in origin, religion or social outlook.
settlements- an amount of money that someone receives as part of such an agreement.


* The Virginia Colony by: Dennis B. Fradin