Virginia, Our First Colony

Virginia, Our First Colony

by Sandra Merville Hart

Virginia’s nickname, Old Dominion, was given by King Charles II when Virginia was still a colony in praise of their loyalty to the Crown.

Early Virginia history

Over 100 colonists from England built Jamestown, our first permanent settlement, in 1607, so our American history began over 400 years ago. The area became known as the Virginia Colony.


First hard winter

The colonists arrived in America in April. By September, the food they brought with them ran out. About half of the people died from sickness. Native American tribes living in the area helped the starving settlers by bringing gifts of food.

In January of 1608, fire broke out, burning precious supplies. It destroyed the kitchen, the church, and the storehouse. Only three homes didn’t burn down. Only 32 colonists survived the hard winter.

Ships arrive with supplies

After the difficult winter ended, ships arrived with food and supplies. The settlers grew crops and began to succeed in their new home.



Virginia becomes a state

After the Revolutionary War ended, Virginia became a state on June 25, 1788. The capital is Richmond.

Other fun facts about Virginia

More U. S. presidents were born in Virginia than in any other state: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor, and Woodrow Wilson.

Virginia is known as the “Mother of Presidents.”

Richmond, Virginia, was the Confederate capital during the Civil War that lasted from 1861—65.

Over half the country’s Civil War battles were fought in Virginia.

“Give me liberty or give me death!” Those were Patrick Henry’s words spoken at St. John’s Church in Richmond. His well-known speech, delivered on March 23, 1775, happened before the Revolutionary War began.

The state bird is the northern cardinal.

The state flower is the American Dogwood.



“13 Originals: Founding the American Colonies,” The Time Page, 2013/01/04

“Explore Virginia,” Encyclopedia Virginia, 2013/01/04

“Old Dominion,” State Symbols USA, 2016/06/05

“Virginia,”, 2012/01/04



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