Land Expansion – The Powhatan Tribes and William Berkeley

Virginia continued to expand beyond the James River by the time Sir William Berkeley arrived. Much of that expansion spread northward into traditional Powhatan power centers along the Middle Peninsula, and further northward into the Northern Neck.

Some of the Powhatan tribes didn’t take kindly to English encroachment. Notably, the 1622 massacre leader, Opechancanough, decided to do something about those expanding English settlements. He led a fresh attack in April 1644.

In spite of more than 500 deaths and a new Anglo-Powhatan War, the English continued expanding into new lands. By 1646 the English had won the war, Opechancanough was killed, and his successor signed the Articles of Peace. Now, land restrictions, both legal and belligerent were removed.

With no restrictions, English Virginia expansion rapidly entered a new phase. That new phase, however, brought new challenges that were rooted in older foundations.



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  2. Billings, Warren M. Sir William Berkeley and the Forging of Colonial Virginia. Baton Rouge, LA: LSU Press, 2004.
  3. Billings, Warren. A Little Parliament: The Virginia General Assembly in the Seventeenth Century. Richmond, VA: Library of Virginia, 2004.
  4. Craven, Wesley Frank. White, Red, and Black: The Seventeenth Century Virginian. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1977.
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  7. Horn, James. Adapting to A New World: English Society in the Seventeenth-Century Chesapeake. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1994.
  8. Mapp, Alfred J. Virginia Experiment: The Old Dominion’s Role in the Making of America, 1607-1781Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, Inc., 2006.
  9. Neill, Edward D. Virginia Carolorum: The Colony under the Rule of Charles The First and Second, A.D. 1625-A.D. 1685. Albany, NY: Joel Munsell’s and Sons, 1886.
  10. Rothbard, Murray N. Conceived in Liberty. Auburn, AL: Ludwig Von Mises Institute, 1999.
  11. Tyler, Lyon Gardiner. The Cradle of the Republic: Jamestown and the James River. Richmond, VA: The Hermitage Press, 1906.
  12. Wallenstein, Peter. Cradle of America: Four Centuries of Virginia History. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2007.
  13. Walsh, Lorena S. Motives of Honor, Pleasure, and Profit: Plantation Management in the Colonial Chesapeake, 1607-1763. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2010.
  14. Washburn, Wilcomb E. Virginia Under Charles I and Cromwell 1625-1660. Kindle Edition.
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  16. Wertenbaker, Thomas Jefferson. The Planters of Colonial Virginia. Kindle Edition.

Berkeley Signature



All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author unless otherwise noted. The featured image is the Falls at the Appomattox River near the site of Fort Henry.

Music used for this episode – Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers,”Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” available on iTunes, and “Crazy World (Judgment Day)” by Jamestown Revival also available on iTunes.

2 thoughts on “Land Expansion – The Powhatan Tribes and William Berkeley

  1. The 1646 treaty is commonly known as “The Articles of Peace” or “Treaty of Peace” in association with its 1646 date. The treaty was set forth with Necotowance in James City, not Middle Plantation / Williamsburg. The subsequent treaties of 1677 and 1680 are sometimes called “Treaty of Middle Plantation,” but their titles are also “The Articles of Peace…”

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