Much of this country’s early history can be found in Virginia. It was home to one of our first colonies, and Jamestown was as important as any of the rest. The residents who called this place home struggled to survive, and actually did so, against all odds. All that aside, it was one of the most interesting places to live as well. Here are some things you may not have known about the history of these settlements!
- Before there were even colonies, Sir Walter Raleigh named all of the British territory north of Florida and south of Canada “Virginia.” Everything. When the population exploded, new colonies chipped away at the already-named territory little by little.
- European tobacco wasn’t introduced into the Virginia colony until about 1610, and only then by the husband of Pocahontas, John Rolfe. Needless to say, it was a great investment even if it was a lot different than what we’re familiar with today.
- That tobacco was likely smuggled from Central America or Spain, where the sale of tobacco seeds was illegal.
- Native Americans were already cultivating tobacco of their own, but naturally the European settlers of Jamestown preferred a taste of home just a little bit more.
- From late 1609 and well into 1610 was a period known as The Starving Time. The search for food was so fruitless that upwards of 80 percent of all the colonists perished over the winter. Some archaeologists believe that the residents who survived resorted to cannibalism in order to do so.
- Most historians agree that the first colonists to settle Virginia weren’t actually planters at all. They were rich men trying to become even more wealthy by stealing natural resources that the Native Americans had found for themselves. It was harder than they anticipated!
- Hampton was settled in 1610, and has been continuously settled ever since. That’s saying a lot since the town burned down during the chaos of the Civil War.
- Virginia was the site of the first capital trial and execution in the New World. A councilman and captain, George Kendall was accused of being a Catholic spy. The other colonists were worried that he might be supply information on colonization and settlement efforts to Spain, so they tried and executed him.