History of Virginia
|History of Virginia|
The History of Virginia begins with documentation by the first Spanish explorers to reach the area in the 1500s, when it was occupied chiefly by
During the first half of the 19th century, tobacco prices declined and tobacco lands lost much of their fertility. Planters adopted mixed farming, with an emphasis on wheat and livestock, which required less labor. The Constitutions of 1830 and 1850 expanded suffrage but did not equalize white male apportionment statewide. The population grew slowly from 700,000 in 1790, to 1 million in 1830, to 1.2 million in 1860. Virginia was the largest state joining the
From the 1920s to the 1960s, the state was dominated by the
For thousands of years before the arrival of the English, various societies of
As of the 16th Century, what is now the state of Virginia was occupied by three main culture groups—the
Rountree has noted that "empire" more accurately describes the political structure of the Powhatan. In the late 16th and early 17th centuries, a chief named
The Piscataway were pushed north on the Potomac River early in their history, coming to be cut off from the rest of their people. While some stayed, others chose to migrate west. Their movements are generally unrecorded in the historical record, but they reappear at Fort Detroit in modern-day Michigan by the end of the 18th century. These Piscataways are said to have moved to Canada & probably merged with the Mississaugas, who had broken away from the Anishinaabeg & migrated southeast into that same region. Despite that, many Piscataway stayed in Virginia & Maryland until the modern day. Other members of the Piscataway also merged with the Nanticoke.
The Chowanoke were moved to reservation lands by the English in 1677, where they remained until the 19th century. By 1821, they had merged with other tribes and were generally dissolved, however the descendants of these peoples reformed in the 21st century and re-acquired much of their old reservation in 2014..
Many of the Siouan peoples of the state seem to have originally been a collection of smaller tribes with uncertain affiliation. Names recorded throughout the 17th century were the Monahassanough, Rassawek, Mowhemencho, Monassukapanough, Massinacack, Akenatsi, Mahoc, Nuntaneuck, Nutaly, Nahyssan, Sapon, Monakin, Toteros, Keyauwees, Shakori, Eno, Sissipahaw, Monetons & Mohetons living & migrating throughout what is now West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina & South Carolina. All were said to have spoken, at least two distinct languages—Saponi (which appears to be a missing link language existing between the Chiwere & Dhegihan variants) & Catawba (which is most closely related to Biloxi & the Gulf Coast Siouan languages). John Smith was the first to note two groups in the Virginian interior—the Monaghans & the Monahoacs. The words came from the Powhatan  & translations are uncertain, however Monaghan seems similar to a known Lenape word, Monaquen, which means "to scalp."  They were also commonly referred to as the Eastern Blackfoot, which explains why some Saponi today identify as the Siouan-Blackfoot people, and later still as the Christannas.
As far as can be assumed, however, it seems that they were arranged thus—from east to west along the north shore of the James River, just inland of the Powhatan, would have been the
Originally existing along the entirety of the current western border of Virginia & up through some of the southwestern mountains of West Virginia & Kentucky, they seem to have first been driven east by the Iroquoian Westo during the Beaver Wars. Historians have since come to note that the Westo were almost definitely the Erie & Neutrals/ Chonnonton, who had conquered wide swathes of what is now northern & eastern Ohio approximately during the 1630s & were subsequently conquered and driven out by the Iroquois Confederacy around 1650. The Tutelo of West Virginia first seem to be noted as living north of the Saponi, in northern Virginia in around 1670. Later in the Beaver Wars, the Iroquois lost their new lands in Ohio & Michigan to the French & their new native allies around the western Great Lakes. Sometime during the 1680s-90s, the Iroquois started pushing south and declared war on the Saponi related tribes, pushing them down into North Carolina. It is noted in 1701 that the Saponi, Tutelo, Occaneechi, Shakori & Keyauwee were then going to form a confederacy to take back their homeland. The writer assumes that all five tribes were driven south, but the Tutelos are noted as allies from the "western mountains."  This is the same year that the Iroquois surrendered to the French, but it appears that hostilities with the Saponi continued long term. The Iroquois were soon after convinced by the English to start selling off all their extended lands, which were nearly impossible for them to hold. All they kept was a string of territory along the Susquahanna River in Pennsylvania.
The Saponi attempted to return to their lands, but were unable to do so. Around 1702, the Governor of the Virginia Colony gave them reservation land & opened Fort Christanna nearby. All the tribes appear to have returned, sans the Keyauwee, who remained among the Catawba. They came to be known as the Christanna People at this time. This fort offered economic & educational aid to the locals, but after the fort closed in 1718, the Saponi dispersed. With continued conflicts between the Saponi & Iroquios in the region, the governors of Virginia, Pennsylvania & New York all stepped in together to organize a peace treaty, which did ultimately end the conflict. Sometime around 1722, the Tutelo & some other Saponis migrated to the Iroquoian held Pennsylvania territory and settled there, among many other refugees of local tribes who had been destroyed, absorbed into Colonial society, or simply moved on without them. In 1753, the Iroquois reorganized them all into Tutelo, Delaware & Nanticoke Tribes, relocated them to New York & gave them full honors among the Confederacy, despite none of them being Iroquoian. After the American Revolution, these tribes accompanied them to Canada. Later, the descendants of the Tutelos migrated again to Ohio, becoming the Saponi & Tutelo Tribes of Ohio. Many of the other Siouan peoples of Virginia were also noted to have merged with the Catawba & Yamasee tribes.
While mainly noted in Virginia, it appears that the Tuscarora migrated into the region from the Delmarva Peninsula early in the 17th century. John Smith noted them on an early map as the Kuskarawocks. (They may have also absorbed the Tockwoghs, who also appear on the map & were most likely Iroquoian.) After an extended war with the English, the Tuscarora began leaving for New York & began merging with the Iroquois in groups around 1720, continuing approximately until the Iroquois were banished to Canada following the American Revolution. Those who remained became a new tribe—the
The Meherrin aided the Tuscarora in that war, but did not follow them north. In 1717, the English gave them a reservation just south of the North Carolina border. The North Carolina government contested their land rights and tried to take them away due to a surveyor's error that caused both Native & English settlers to claim parts of the reservation. However, they managed to, more or less, stay put well into the modern day. The Nottoway also managed to largely stay in the vicinity of Virginia until the modern day without much conflict or loss of heritage.
Although the Beaver Wars were primarily centered in Ohio, the Iroquois Confederacy of New York were also in a long strung conflict with the Susquehannocks of central Pennsylvania, as was the English colony of Maryland, although the two were not known to be allies themselves. Sometime around the 1650s or 1660s, Maryland made peace with & allied themselves to the Susquehannocks, thus the Iroquois labelled them an enemy as well, despite being allied with England by this time. After ending their war with the Susquehannocks in 1674, however, the Iroquois went on a more or less inexplicable rampage against Maryland and its remaining Native allies, which included the Piscataways and the Eastern Siouans tribes. The Eastern Siouans were forced out of the state during the 1680s. After the Beaver Wars officially ended in 1701, the Iroquois sold off their extended holdings—including their land in Virginia—to the English.
In the mid 17th century, around 1655-6, an Iroquoian group known as the
The first Spanish & English explorers appear to have greatly overestimated the size of the Cherokee, placing them as far north as Virginia. However, many historians now believe that there was a large, mixed race/ mixed language confederacy in the region, called the
After the Westo punched straight through them, they seem to have split along the line of the Tennessee River to create the
Meanwhile, the Coyaha reforged their alliance with the Cherokee & brought in many of the smaller Muskogean tribes of Alabama (often referred to as the Mobilians) to form the
Furthermore, alike the Sawannos, it seems many splinter groups fractured off from the core group and moved into places like West Virginia & Kentucky. Afterwards, those lands seemed to be filled with native peoples who claimed "Cherokee" ancestry, yet had no organized tribal affiliation. The descendants of those people live throughout West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Kentucky & Ohio today. However, it also seems probable that these populations married into the surviving Monongahela & other Siouan groups, yet the populations must have been quite small on both sides to allow that these peoples never reformed a government & remained nomadic for a great deal of time afterwards.