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 Treaty of Middle Plantation. 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.
Tangier Island, where many Powhatan Warriors were sent during the 3rd Anglo-Powhatan War
The Middle Peninsula offered much land for incoming settlers, such as this pastoral scene from Elsing Green
Petersburg was founded as a military outpost during the 3rd Anglo-Powhatan War
The Rappahannock, where many incoming settlers began gobbling up land, such as this location, Belle Grove at Port Conway, a site notable in that it was where future President Madison was born.
The Potomac River from Stratford Hall, seat of the Lee Family, on the Northern Neck.
The cannon blast that welcomed the Sea Venture survivors was a fitting salutation for the arriving settlers. It only took them a few days to realize that Virginia was not a place in which they wanted to remain. So, they began leaving by June 1610. But just as they were sailing away, a Divine intervention changed the course of the colony’s history.
Thomas West, Lord Delaware, the new governor, arrived. He ordered the retreating colonists back to Jamestown, from where Delaware would dictate control.
He established new laws, work groups, and fought back against the belligerent Powhatan Tribes.
But before too long, Delaware succumbed to one of his chronic illnesses, and he returned back to England. Where did that leave the colony? According to Delaware it was in good shape. It was in good enough shape to send more supplies and people under Thomas Dale in 1611.