Poet Eugene Fitch Ware wrote:
… Of all U.S. states, only three will live on in story,
Old Virginia with all of her noble stock
Old Massachusetts with her pretty Plymouth Rock,
And sunny Kansas with all her woes and glory…
Before all the European settlers arrived, the region that we know as Virginia was the territory of Powhatan, the great and influential Indian emperor. In its epic years, the state of Virginia became both the ‘Mother of the Frontier’ and the ‘Mother of Presidents’ as it had produced eight presidents.
Many people also refer to Virginia as the ‘Mother of the States’ as it had given up its claims to Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, and portions of Minnesota.
The state of Virginia was a forefront state during the Revolutionary War, that came to an end when, in Yorktown, Lord Cornwallis was surrendering to Washington.
More battles were fought out on Virginia land than on the soil of another U.S. state at the time of the Civil War, and the state is known as the land of battlefields, stately mansions, colonial homes, and old churches.
Virginia was the first U.S. state since the Reconstruction area to elect a governor of African-American descent, L. Douglas Wilder.
Quick Facts about Virginia
– Most U.S. presidents, eight in total.
– First manufacturing factory in the U.S. a 1608 glass factory.
– In 1619, the first iron furnace.
– Leading the synthetic fiber production in America.
– Tobacco farming Pioneer.
– Nation’s first canal (1790), 7 miles long from Westham to Richmond.
Thomas Jefferson wrote his own epitaph:
… Here is buried Thomas Jefferson, author of the American Declaration of Independence, of the Religious Freedom Statute of Virginia, and father of the University of Virginia…
Virginia brief history
– Around 1580, the early Spanish explorers sailed along Virginia’s beautiful shores.
– In Aquia Creek (the Potomac area), a few Jesuit missionaries had established a mission, but they were all killed by the Indians.
– In 1607, on May 14th, a couple of English ships went for anchor in what we now know as the James River, and they set up a settlement the next day. They named it James Town, and it became the very first permanent American English settlement.
– The settlement was led by John Smith who struck a deal with the powerful Indian Chief Powhatan. He most probably got some help of Powhatan’s daughter named Pocahontas. In 1609, Smith went back to England due to severe injuries.
– The period 1609 – 1610 was the “starving time”, and the 65 James Town survivors were rescued by Thomas West, 3rd Baron De la Warr, who was bringing new settlers and new supplies.
– The settlers and the colonists organized “the House of Burgesses” in 1619 which is considered the first American legislative body that was democratically elected.
– Chief Powhatan died in 1618, and that’s when Indian troubles really started. The troublesome time lasted till 1646 when Indian King Opechancanough got shot.
– In 1676, Nathaniel Bacon was rallying the people against Sir William Berkeley’s government through his “America’s 1st declaration of independence.” When Bacon died not so much later, William Berkeley hanged a few dozen of Bacon’s followers.
– 1658: Virginia passed a bill into law that was expelling all attorneys from the colony.