In part four of our ongoing series on post-establishment Jamestown, we discussed the Third Anglo-Powhatan War of 1644. Shortly before this war, the Crown took over ownership of Virginia and was able to provide the colony with additional resources to fuel conflicts with Native Americans. After another attack by the Powhatan, Jamestown militarization occurred at a growing rate, leading to the construction of four forts. The war ended with a treaty that favored the Jamestown settlers and taxed the Native Americans.
The next chief of the Powhatan was named Neotowance, but he died only a few years later. His successor was a man named Totopotomoi and he took on the mantle of Weroance of the Pamunkey, an altogether different title than “Paramount Chief” of the Powhatan. His allegiances shifted from side to side to protect the peace, and eventually he died fighting Native Americans who had continued to fight their way past borders that the aforementioned treaty drew.
However, that’s not to say that those Native Americans were the “bad guys” in this historic tale. On the contrary, the colonists were once again the ones to cause conflict. Even after the treaty, they continued to push past the borders in an effort to obtain more land.
When Chief Wahanganoche patented tribal land to the colonists in an attempt to appease them, they accused him of murder. He was tried, found not guilty, and allowed to go free — after which, the colonists stalked and murdered him. The colonial government of Virginia increased tension even more when those in authority demanded the tribe sell every parcel of land to the colony. When the Native Americans rightly refused this demand, the colony declared war on the Patawomeck in 1666.
What followed was nothing short of the complete genocide of the tribes residing in Northern Virginia. A new treaty would follow yet more violence, and that treaty would be followed by violence in kind. The beginning of each new cycle was nearly always catalyzed by the actions of Virginian colonists, however.