History | Symbols | Interesting Facts | Famous People
Spanish explorers entered the Virginia region in 1570, several Indian
tribes inhabited the area.
Missionaries built a settlement along the York River, but were
killed only a few months later.
English explorers also arrived in the late 1580s, but their
expedition failed due to lack of supplies.
1607, Captain John Smith established the first permanent English
settlement in America at Jamestown.
Many settlers died that winter from starvation; fortunately,
ships bringing new colonists with food and supplies arrived early in the
Rolfe of Jamestown began planting tobacco in 1612.
He developed a method that enabled tobacco to be exported,
allowing it to become the leading industry in Virginia.
In 1619, the House of Burgess became the first legislature in
This group and the governor met together to create laws for the
the 1660s, small farmers grew unhappy with the influence wealthy
families had on the government.
Many resented the government’s restrictions on colonial trade.
After the French and Indian War (1754-1763), English Parliament
passed many laws without the consent of the colonies.
A leader of Virginia, Patrick Henry, wrote resolutions that
encouraged colonists to seek freedom from Great Britain.
1774, Lord Dunmore dissolved the House of Burgesses, but delegates met
They established the First Continental Congress.
In 1775, the Second Continental Congress met in Richmond.
Patrick Henry gave his famous words, “Give me liberty or give
Virginia’s George Washington was chosen as head of the
The following year Virginia adopted its first constitution.
the Revolutionary War (1775-1783), Thomas Jefferson of Virginia wrote
the Declaration of Independence; it was approved on July 4, 1776.
In 1781, the last major battle was fought in Yorktown and Great
Virginian James Madison helped to write the Constitution of the
Virginia approved the Constitution and became the 10th
state on June 25, 1788.
Washington served as the first president of the United States.
Eventually eight presidents would come from Virginia.
In 1830, Virginia adopted a new constitution providing better
representation for all counties in the state.
Other needed reforms encouraged another constitution in 1851.
It gave all white men the right to vote and required an election
for many state government officials by popular vote.
other southern states withdrew from the Union in 1860, Virginia chose to
wait for a compromise that would prevent war.
Virginia joined the Confederate States of America as the Civil
War began in 1861.
Some of the counties stayed loyal to the Union and established
their own government in northwestern Virginia.
These counties became the state of West Virginia in 1863.
Virginians, including Robert E. Lee, became leading war generals for the
More battles were fought in Virginia than in any other state.
Richmond served as the capital of the Confederacy.
The war also destroyed much of Virginia’s cities, farms, and
The Reconstruction Act of 1867 placed Virginia under military
rule and required that a new constitution be written giving blacks the
right to vote.
Virginia then reentered the Union on Jan. 26, 1870.
the 1880s, new industries opened in Virginia.
Textile, furniture, cigarette, and shipbuilding plants were
Coal was discovered in southern Virginia.
Many people left the state for better jobs during the early
During the Great Depression (1929-1939) the state worked hard to
create jobs and keep people from leaving the state.
War II brought new industries to Virginia in 1941.
Many government workers of Washington D.C. chose to live in the
suburbs of Virginia.
A large population increase during the 1950s required several new
schools to be built.
In 1954, the Supreme Court ruled segregation in public schools
Virginia passed laws that closed any school ordered to integrate.
Many of the schools closed.
Not until the late 1960s, did integration completely occur within