Colony of Virginia

The Colony of Virginia, chartered in 1606 and settled in 1607, was the first enduring English colony in North America, following failed proprietary attempts at settlement on Newfoundland by Sir Humphrey Gilbert[2] in 1583, and the subsequent farther south Roanoke Island (modern eastern North Carolina) by Sir Walter Raleigh in the late 1580s.

Colony of Virginia
1606–1776
Motto: 
  • "En dat Virginia quintum"
  • (English: "Behold, Virginia gives the fifth")[1]
Seal
StatusDissolved
Capital
Common languagesEnglish, Siouan languages, Iroquoian languages, Algonquian languages
Religion
Church of England (Anglicanism)
GovernmentConstitutional monarchy
Governor 
 1606
Edward Wingfield (first)
 1776
Lord Dunmore (last)
LegislatureHouse of Burgesses (1619–1776)
Historical eraColonial Times
 Founding
April 10, 1606
 Became Royal Colony
1624
July 4, 1776
CurrencyVirginia pound (1624-1794)
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Tsenacommacah
Virginia
Province of Carolina
Bermuda
Today part of

The founder of the new colony was the Virginia Company,[3] with the first two settlements in Jamestown on the north bank of the James River and Popham Colony on the Kennebec River in modern-day Maine, both in 1607. The Popham colony quickly failed due to a famine, disease, and conflicts with local Native American tribes in the first two years. Jamestown occupied land belonging to the Powhatan Confederacy, and was also at the brink of failure before the arrival of a new group of settlers and supplies by ship in 1610. Tobacco became Virginia's first profitable export, the production of which had a significant impact on the society and settlement patterns.

In 1624, the Virginia Company's charter was revoked by King James I, and the Virginia colony was transferred to royal authority as a crown colony. After the English Civil War in the 1640s and 50s, the Virginia colony was nicknamed "The Old Dominion" by King Charles II for its perceived loyalty to the English monarchy during the era of the Protectorate and Commonwealth of England.[4]

From 1619 to 1775/1776, the colonial legislature of Virginia was the General Assembly, which governed in conjunction with a colonial governor. Jamestown on the James River remained the capital of the Virginia colony until 1699; from 1699 until its dissolution the capital was in Williamsburg. The colony experienced its first major political turmoil with Bacon's Rebellion of 1676.

After declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1775, before the Declaration of Independence was officially adopted, the Virginia colony became the Commonwealth of Virginia, one of the original thirteen states of the United States, adopting as its official slogan "The Old Dominion". The entire modern states of West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois, and portions of Ohio and Western Pennsylvania were later created from the territory encompassed, or claimed by, the colony of Virginia at the time of further American independence in July 1776.