Colonial Virginia:


•   Jamestown was primarily an economic venture.


   The stockholders of the Virginia Company of London financed the settlement of Jamestown.


•   The English settled at the mouth of the James River because:

•It was rich in natural resources.

•It had a good harbor.

•It was easy to defend.


   Jamestown became the first permanent English settlement in North America in 1607 in the Coastal Plain (Tidewater).


•   The King of England granted charters to the Virginia Company of London.


   The charters gave the Virginia Company the right to establish a settlement in North America.


•   The charters extended English rights to the colonists. This charter established basic freedoms for Virginians.


   In 1619, the Virginia House of Burgesses was the first legislative body in America giving settlers the opportunity to control their own government.


•   The House of Burgesses is called the General Assembly today.


   Women arrived in 1619 to establish families and make a more permanent settlement at Jamestown.

   African servants arrived in 1620.  Some were slaves and some were indentured servants.  If they were indentured servants, they worked for 7 years to pay off their trip by ship and then they were free.  The Africans provided free labor. 


   John Smith was the leader of the Jamestown colony.  He initiated trading relationships with the Powhatans.


   The Powhatans traded food, furs, and leather with the English in exchange for tools, pots, and guns.


   The Powhatans helped show the colonists how to plant corn and tobacco.  They helped the colonist survive in America. 


•   Tobacco as a cash crop, which means the crop, is grown to sell for money rather than for food.  The Tobacco was sold in England for money.  As the tobacco field grew, more workers were needed.  This encouraged slavery.


•   The English settled primarily in Coastal Plain (Tidewater) and Piedmont regions.


•   The Germans, Scottish and Irish farmed the area west of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Shenandoah Valley because of its rich farmland.


•   Africans settled in the Coastal Plain (Tidewater) and Piedmont regions because tobacco and corn needed a lot of workers


•   There were no banks and no money in colonial Virginia. 


•   The colonist bartered.  They might trade tobacco for sugar

•   Money is a medium of exchange.  Examples are currency, coins and paper bills.  Tobacco was used as money in colonial days.


•   Barter is trading or exchanging of goods and services. 


•   Credit is buying a good or service now and paying for it later.  Credit cards are a classic example.   

•   Debt is a good or service owed to another.  For instance, if you borrow money, you are in debt to that person until you pay them back. 


•   Saving is money put away to save or to spend at a later time.  Many people put money at a bank to save for a car, house, or college.  


•   England depended on raw materials exported from the Virginia colony, and the colony depended on imported manufactured goods from England. This is called interdependence.


•   The government of the Virginia colony was based on the English model of a representative government and was subject to English law.


•   Cultural and social influences from England included religion, language, architecture, fashion, and family structure.



Revolutionary War:


•   Conflicts developed between the colonies and Great Britain. They disagreed over how to finance or pay for the French and Indian War.

•   The most major conflict developed between England and the Virginia colony was over taxation and lack of representation in the English government.


•   African Americans from Virginia were divided about the war. Some slaves fought for the English because they were promised freedom.


•   James Armistead Lafayette, a slave from Virginia, served in the Continental Army and was given his freedom after the war.


•   George Washington provided military leadership by serving as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army.


•   The last major battle of the Revolutionary War was fought at Yorktown.


•   Formed Committees of Correspondence


•   Organized the Virginia Convention


•   Virginians provided food, clothing, and supplies for the Continental Army


•   The women farmed and supported the troops.


•   Virginia leaders played the largest role of all the citizens of the 13 original colonies in the founding of the United States.


•   Appointed Thomas Jefferson to write the Declaration of Independence.


•   The Declaration of Independence listed basic rights of individuals and explained why colonies should break away from England. It was adopted on July 4, 1776.





Important People:


•   Thomas Jefferson, a Virginian founded the University of Virginia (UVA), was the 3rd President, lived at Monticello, and wrote the Declaration of Independence.  He also wrote The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom that states that all people should be free to worship as they please. This document was the basis for the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America, the amendment that protects religious freedom.   


•   George Washington, a Virginian, was elected as the first President of the USA. He also was the commander-in-chief of the continental army, President of the Continental Congress, and labeled  “Father of Our Country.”


•   James Madison is known as the "Father of the Constitution" He believed in the importance of having a United States constitution so he kept detailed notes during the constitutional meetings.  His skills at compromise helped the delegates reach agreement during the difficult process of writing the Constitution of the United States of America.  He was also the 4th President of the USA.


•   George Mason wrote the Virginia Declaration of Rights.  It states that all Virginians should have certain rights, including freedom of religion and freedom of the press. The document became the basis for the Bill of Rights (This is the first 10 amendments) of the constitution.


•   George Wythe signed the Declaration of Independence and attended the Constitutional Convention of 1787.

•   James Monroe, the 5th President was sent by Jefferson to negotiate with Napoleon for the Louisiana Territory.


•   Patrick Henry spoke out against taxation without representation and said "Give me liberty or give me death."


•   Four of the first five presidents were from Virginia. (Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe) giving Virginia the title "Mother of Presidents".


•   Virginia has had 8 Presidents: George Washington (1st), Thomas Jefferson (3rd), James Madison (4th), James Monroe (5th), William Henry Harrison (9th), Tyler (10th), and Woodrow Wilson (28th).


Civil War or War Between the States:


•   The economy in the northern part of the US was industrialized (factories), while in the southern part it was agricultural and relied on slave labor.


•   Northern states wanted the new states created out of the western territory to be "free states" while the southern states wanted the new states to be "slave states".


•   Nat Turner, a slave, led a revolt against plantation owners in Virginia.


•   Abolitionists are people who worked at ending slavery.


•   John Brown, a white man, led a raid on the United States Armory (Arsenal) at Harpers Ferry, Virginia. He was trying to start a slave rebellion. He was captured and hanged.

•   Harriet Tubman, also called ‘Moses’ established a secret route that escaped slaves took called the “Underground Railroad.”


•   Abraham Lincoln became the 16th President of the United States in 1860, some southern states seceded from the Union. Later, other southern states, including Virginia seceded to form the "Confederate States of America"(South).


•   The capital of the Confederacy (South) was moved to Richmond, Virginia.


•   60% of the Civil War was fought in Virginia because it lay between Richmond, the capital of the Confederacy and Washington, D. C. the capital of the United States.


•   The Confederacy (South) won the first battle of the Civil War, which was fought at Manassas on Bull Run Creek.


•   Conflict grew between the eastern counties of Virginia that relied on slavery and the western counties that favored abolition of slavery. West Virginia was formed out of the western counties of Virginia. 


•   Robert E. Lee was the leader of the Confederate Army during the Civil War. He was offered command of the Union forces and the beginning of the war, but resigned rather than fight against his native state of Virginia.


•   J. E. B. Stuart resigned from the United States Army to join the Confederate Army. Robert E. Lee called him the “eyes of the Army”.


•   Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson was a Confederate general who earned the name "Stonewall" at the Battle of Bull Run.


•   The Civil War ended at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, where Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered his army to union General Ulysses S. Grant.


Reconstruction (Rebuilding):


•   Reconstruction was the time period after the Civil War in which Congress passed laws designed to rebuild the country and bring the southern states back into the Union.


•   Virginians faced serious problems in rebuilding the state after the Civil War. Problems faced during Reconstruction.

Millions of freed slaves needed housing, food, and jobs.

•Virginia’s economy was in ruins.

Money had no value and banks were closed.

Railroads, bridges, plantations, and crops were


Virginia had no functioning government.


•   The Freedmen's Bureau was a government agency that provided food, schools, and medical care for freed slaves and others in the South.


•   Sharecropping became common in Virginia after the Civil War in which freed men and poor white farmers rented land from a landowner by promising to pay the owner with a share of the crop.


20th Century:


•   "Jim Crow" Laws were passed by southern states. "Jim Crow" Laws established segregation or separation of the races and reinforced prejudices held by whites.


•   Jim Crow Laws had an effect on African American life.

Unfair poll taxes and voting tests were established to keep African Americans from voting.

African American and white children attended separate schools.

•African Americans found it very difficult to vote or hold public office.

•They were forced to use different drinking fountains and restrooms.

•They had to ride in the back section on buses and trains


•   Segregation is the separation of people, usually based on race or religion.


•   Discrimination: is an unfair difference in the treatment of people due to prejudice.  It can be because of race, color, handicapped etc.


•   Society in Virginia was segregated by race. African-Americans established their own churches, businesses, and schools.

•   Maggie Lena Walker opened the first bank for African-Americans.


•   Railroads were a key to the growth of business, agriculture, and industry. This helped cities to grow.


•   Virginia changed from a rural (country), agricultural society to a more urban (city), industrial society because old systems of farming were no longer effective and crop prices were low.


•   Technological developments in transportation, roads, railroads, and streetcars helped cities grow.


•   Virginia adopted a new constitution, which banned slavery and gave black men the right to vote.


After WWII (1941-1945)


•   Northern Virginia has experienced growth in federal jobs and technology located in the region.


•   African American demanded equal rights.


•   The US Supreme Court rules in 1954 (Brown v. Board of Education) that separate but equal public schools were unconstitutional


•   All public schools, including those in Virginia, were ordered to integrate and allow all races to attend school.


•   Harry F. Byrd, Sr. led a Massive Resistance, which fought to "resist" the integration of public schools. The policy of Massive Resistance failed, and Virginia’s public schools were integrated.

•   L. Douglas Wilder was the first African American to be elected a state governor in the US.  He was governor of Virginia in 1990. 


•   Arthur R. Ashe, Jr. was the first African American winner of a major men’s tennis singles championship.


•   Harry, F. Byrd,Sr., was governor, was known for a "Pay As You Go" policy for road improvement, and he modernized Virginia state government.


•   Virginia’s transportation system (highways, railroads, and air transportation) moves raw materials to factories and finished products to markets.


•   Virginia exports agricultural and manufactured products, including tobacco, poultry, coat, and large ships.


•   Woodrow Wilson was the 28th president and born in Virginia.


•   Virginia has one of the greatest concentrations of high-technology industries in the nation.


•   Tourism is a major part of Virginia's economy.


•   The northeast megalopolis is a string of urbanized areas extending along the Atlantic Coast from Boston south to the Hampton Roads area. Because of economic development, the eastern part of Virginia is now considered part of the northeast megalopolis.


•   There are three forms of money: currency, coins, and checks.


•   Banks provide financial services.

•They lend money to consumers to purchase goods and services. (houses, cars, education)

•They lend money to producers to start new businesses.

•They issue credit cards.

•They provide savings accounts and pay interest to savers.

•They provide checking accounts.