Smithfield Isle of Wight County - Virginia History

Who Founded Virginia?

The history of Virginia began in the 1500’s when visited by Spanish Explorers. The occupants at that time were tribes of Algonquain, Iroquoian and Siouan peoples in the late 16th century, Sir Walter Raleigh and Queen Elizabeth 1st named the area – Virginia in honor of the Virgin Queen.

The first permanent English settlement, backed by the London Company, was founded in 1607 by John Smith and other colonists, including John Rolfe who later became the husband of Pocahontas. The main reason for establishing a colony so far from the English homeland was purely economic. The colonists hoped to find gold and spices and land to grow crops. What they found was a hostile environment. The English gentlemen were ill suited to deal with the weather, swamps, poisonous snakes and soil that was not suited for crops. Most of the original colonists were gentlemen who had no real ability for farming. A friendly relationship with the local natives helped them survive. They finally found success with Spanish tobacco.

Virginia for Lovers
John Smith

What is Virginia known for?

Since Virginia was the site of the first permanent English settlement, the state is known as “the birthplace of a nation.” As well as the “Mother of Presidents” Eight Virginia born gentlemen succeeded to the highest office in the land, including four of the first five presidents.

Other facts of note are that battlefields in Virginia were the sites of surrenders that ended both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, Yorktown for the Revolutionary War and Appomattox for the Civil War.

The history of this state spans the Colonial era to the modern-day flight into space. Visitors can step back in time by visiting Virginia’s Historic Triangle (Jamestown, Colonial Williamsburg and Yorktown) marking the very beginning of our history. They can then head for Hampton, the site of NASA, where space flight was researched and developed.

Foods, Wine, Ski slopes, mountain views and beaches, are some of the choices that the visitor will discover.

Due to the proximity of the Chesapeake Bay, Atlantic Ocean and many rivers and waterways, seafood is found on many a menu and Virginia Beach is one of the East Coast’s most popular beach destinations. In the Western part of the state, the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Skyline drive provide beautiful views as well as orchards laden with fruit. Dare we leave out HAM – yes, Virginia is the birthplace of the tasty ham that even Queen Victoria had on her table at times.

The Jamestown-Scotland Ferry is a free ride from Jamestown to Surry across the James River.

Why is Virginia for Lovers?

This award-winning tourism and travel slogan was developed in 1969. In 2012, it was named by Advertising Age as “one of the most iconic ad campaigns in the past 50 years.”

Love speaks of passion and Virginia has many sights, sounds and flavors for every age and every interest that inspire such passion! There are mountains to climb, ski slopes to careen down, beaches for sunbathing, surfing and swimming, theme parks with rides to thrill and delight, outdoor activities, sports, festivals and much more. There is much to see in Virginia and much to love!

Virginia for Lovers