Government

In 1607, ships loaded down with supplies and 214 men arrived in what is known as Jamestowne, Virginia. The Virginia Company as they were known, named the land Virginia and their fort after the king who had granted them this opportunity, James I. This was the first permanent European settlement in America. The harsh winter of 1609 left only 60 still alive, but they persevered. Jamestown was the capital of Virginia until 1698.

Capitol in Williamsburg

Upon arrival, the colonists learned how to grow tobacco, which they sent back to England to sell. The demand this crop created in Europe created a need for more labor. Anyone who brought over someone received land in exchange. At first, black laborers from Africa were imported to the colony as indentured servants. After a set amount of time, the servant would receive the land they had farmed. However, the need for labor continued to abound.

The need for more tobacco led the more adventurous to travel west. They were searching for new lands that they could plant. They battled tribes. They battled loneliness and the other challenges that arise from the unknown.

The capital was moved to Williamsburg in 1699 following the founding of the College of William and Mary. During the events leading to the American Revolution, the capital was moved to Richmond, because the colonists feared that Williamsburg would be too vulnerable on the coast.

Virginia's began governing itself, while still part of the London Company of the Virginia Company (stock sold by the English Crown to pay for the explorations of the "New World"). The Virginia Company was divided into the London Company, which explored the Virginia area as we know it and the Plymouth Company, which settled on the coast of present-day Maine.