Colonial Virginia Timeline
How It All Went Down
Virginia planter Nathaniel Bacon leads a group of small tobacco farmers into the interior to attack Indians that have been threatening their farms. Governor William Berkeley, who previously refused Bacon's request for a commission to lead the raid, Berkeley condemns Bacon's unauthorized attack on the Susquehannock and Occaneechee Indians, leading Bacon to attack the colonial capital at Jamestown. Following Bacon's sudden death from dysentery on 26 October, Berkeley regains control over the settlement and the rebellion ends.
Royal Trim Virginia Power
The Royal Commission sent to Virginia to investigate the cause of Bacon's Rebellion returns to England with a report emphasizing the need to trim the power of the House of Burgesses and the Governor's Council. This report will trigger a series of reform proposals from the Crown, leading to a century of conflict between the royally appointed governors and the other branches of the colonial government, the House of Burgesses and the Governor's Council, which are both dominated by Virginia's wealthy planters.
The Virginia Assembly grants free men holding lifetime leases the right to vote. This enables adult men who do not own property but do have a lease-for-life on the land they work to participate in the election of the House of Burgesses.
James Blair arrives in Virginia to assume his duties as a parish rector in Henrico County.
James Blair marries Sarah Harrison, the daughter of one of Virginia's wealthiest tobacco growers, solidifying his position within the colony's planter aristocracy.
James Blair is named Commissary to Virginia for the Bishop of London. As Commissary, Blair becomes the highest ranked Anglican clergyman in Virginia, with supervisory authority over the other clergy in the colony.
The Virginia Assembly passes a law aimed at strengthening racial barriers. Interracial marriages are forbidden, the penalties imposed on white women bearing mulatto children are increased, and illegitimate mulatto children are ordered to serve indenture until the age of 31.
William & Mary College
Virginia's first college, William & Mary, is chartered by the King of England, largely through the efforts of James Blair, Virginia's most influential Anglican clergyman.
Blair Governor Council
Anglican clergyman James Blair uses his church connections to secure an appointment to the Governor's Council. From this position he will oppose all attempts on the part of colonial governors to reduce the powers of the Governor's Council and the House of Burgesses.
Blair Accuses Governor
Sir Edmund Andros is recalled from his position as governor of the colony of Virginia after James Blair accuses the governor of exercising his authority in an arbitrary and tyrannical manner.
A fire destroys the colonial state house in Jamestown, forcing the relocation of the capital in 1699 to Middle Plantation, renamed Williamsburg.
Women No Vote
The Virginia Assembly passes a law expressly denying women the right vote.
No Gifts for Votes
Elite Militia Proposal
Virginia Governor Francis Nicholson proposes the formation of an elite militia corps drawn from the ranks of the county militia and commanded by democratically elected officers. Wealthy gentry oppose the proposal, arguing that this elite militia could be used to undermine the liberties of Virginians.
Francis Nicholson is removed from his position as governor of Virginia after he is accused by James Blair and other gentry critics of conspiring to destroy the House of Burgesses and eliminate representative government in Virginia.
Slavery in Virginia
The Virginia Assembly passes a series of laws codifying slavery in the colony. These laws specify that all non-Christians, meaning Africans, imported into the colony will serve as slaves, they define a mulatto as a child with a black parent, grand parent, or great-grand parent; and they list the punishments that the colony will employ to regulate slave behavior.
Illegitimate Children Murder Criminal
The Virginia Governor's Council proposes that a law be passed specifically criminalizing the murder of illegitimate children.
The Virginia Assembly passes the Tobacco Inspection Act, requiring the inspection of all tobacco intended for export. Tobacco not meeting government standards will be destroyed. Forty tobacco inspectors will be hired at the lucrative salary of £250 annually.
Lt. Governor Removed
Virginia Lt. Governor Alexander Spotswood is forced from office after clashing repeatedly with the gentry-dominated Council and House of Burgesses. Anglican clergyman James Blair again leads the opposition to the governor and travels to London to lobby for Spotswood's removal.
The Virginia Assembly passes a law denying free blacks, mulattos, and Indians the right to vote.
New Light Presbyterian minister Samuel Davies arrives in Virginia. He criticizes slaveholders for not delivering the Christian message to their slaves; his own evangelical efforts will include extensive outreach to slave communities.
Twenty-one year old Major George Washington departs Williamsburg, Virginia for the Ohio Valley. Virginia's governor Robert Dinwiddie has sent Washington to order the French to abandon the string of forts they are building between Lake Erie and the Forks of the Ohio River, forts which threaten the interests of Virginia land speculators.
First New Light Separate Baptist Church
The First New Light Separate Baptist Church in the South is established at Sandy Creek, North Carolina. The denomination will soon spread into Virginia; by 1774 there will be 54 Baptist churches in Virginia.
French and Indian War Begins
Lt. Colonel George Washington, having returned to the Ohio Valley with a regiment of Virginia provincial troops, defeats a French force near the Great Meadows. After the battle, Washington's Indian allies, led by the Seneca chief Tanaghrisson, attack the French captives, killing the French commander and scalping the wounded; the incident instigates the the French and Indian War.
A French force of 700 attacks George Washington and his 400 troops at Fort Necessity in retaliation for the massacre of the French at the Great Meadows. Washington is forced to surrender and leave the Ohio Valley.
French and Indian War
British General Edward Braddock is defeated at the Battle of the Wilderness after marching an army of 2400 men to the Forks of the Ohio River in an attempt to drive out the French and secure the valley for Pennsylvania traders and Virginia land speculators. Despite Braddock's crushing defeat, the British will eventually win the French and Indian War, forcing France to surrender all of the disputed territory in the Ohio Valley to the British. But Virginia land speculators will be disappointed by the King's Proclamation of 1763, which forbids British-American settlement west of the Appalachian Mountains.
Washington Elected Virginia House
Colonel George Washington is elected to the House of Burgesses.
Roger Strawbridge, an Irish Methodist preacher, settles in Sam's Creek, Maryland. From there Methodism, a reform movement within the Anglican Church, will spread rapidly throughout the South. Its growth will be most dramatic in Virginia; by 1775 more than half of all American Methodists will live in Virginia.
Virginia Declares Independence
Virginia joins the other British colonies in declaring independence from Great Britain.
The "Christmas Conference," the first General Conference of the United Methodists of America, convenes in Baltimore, Maryland. The gathering of Methodist preachers condemns slavery and pledges to excommunicate all slaveholders that fail to free their slaves within two years.
Methodists Promote Education Against Slavery
At a second conference in Baltimore, the United Methodists suspend their proclamation requiring the excommunication of slaveholders. Instead, the church encourages the use of education and moral suasion to end slavery.