SOL VS.2 Geography- Rivers, Regions and Indian Language Groups

VS.2a - Virginia and the Bordering States

What large bodies of water border Virginia?

Bordering bodies of water

•           Atlantic Ocean 

•           Chesapeake Bay

What states border Virginia?

 Bordering states

•           Maryland

•           West Virginia

•           Kentucky

•           Tennessee

•           North Carolina

VS.2b - Regions of Virginia

What are the five geographic regions in Virginia? How do they differ? Where are they located?

Terms to know

•           Fall Line: The natural border between the Coastal Plain (Tidewater) and Piedmont regions, where waterfalls prevent further travel on the river

five geographic regions

•           Coastal Plain (Tidewater)
 Flat land
Location near Atlantic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay (includes Eastern Shore)
East of the Fall Line

•           Piedmont (land at the foot of mountain)
Rolling hills
West of the Fall Line

•           Blue Ridge Mountains
Old, rounded mountains

Part of Appalachian mountain system

Located between the Piedmont and Valley and Ridge regions

Source of many rivers

•           Valley and Ridge
Includes the Great Valley of Virginia and other valleys separated by ridges (The Blue Ridge Mountains and the Valley and Ridge Regions are part of the Appalachian Mountain system.)

Located west of Blue Ridge Mountains

•           Appalachian Plateau (Plateau: Area of elevated land that is flat on top)
Located in Southwest Virginia

Only a small part of plateau located in Virginia

Rivers of Virginia - VS.2c

Which water features were important to the early history of Virginia?

Water features

•           Atlantic Ocean

            Provided transportation links between Virginia and other places (e.g., Europe, Africa,    Caribbean)

•           Chesapeake Bay

            Provided a safe harbor

            Was a source of food and transportation

The four major rivers that flow into the Chesapeake Bay are separated by peninsulas.

•           James River

            Flows into the Chesapeake Bay

            Richmond and Jamestown located along the James River

•           York River

            Flows into the Chesapeake Bay

            Yorktown located along the York River

•           Potomac River

            Flows into the Chesapeake Bay

            Alexandria located along the   Potomac River

•           Rappahannock River

            Flows into the Chesapeake Bay

            Fredericksburg located on the Rappahannock River

How did water features influence the development of Virginia?

How did the flow of rivers affect the settlement of Virginia?

•          Water features were important to the early history of Virginia.

•           Many early Virginia cities developed along the Fall Line, the natural border between the Tidewater and Piedmont regions where the land rises sharply and where the waterfalls prevent further travel on the river.

•          Each river was a source of food and provided a pathway for exploration and settlement of Virginia.

•          Rivers flow downhill to the sea.

What is a peninsula?

•           Peninsula: A piece of land bordered by water on three sides.

Where is the Eastern Shore located?

•           The Eastern Shore is a peninsula bordered by the Chesapeake Bay to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. The Chesapeake Bay separates the Eastern Shore from the mainland of Virginia.


Indians and Language Groups - VS.2d

•          American Indians (First Americans) were the first people who lived in Virginia. They lived in all areas of the state.
There were three major language groups in Virginia.     

Why are First Americans called Indians?
•          Christopher Columbus called the people he found in the lands he discovered “Indians” because he thought he was in the Indies (near China).

What evidence is there that American Indians (First Americans) lived in all areas of the state?
•          Artifacts such as arrowheads, pottery, and other tools that have been found tell a lot about the people who lived in Virginia

What were the three major language groups found in Virginia, and where was each located?

Three major language groups

•           Algonquian was spoken primarily in the Tidewater region; the Powhatans were members of   this group.

•           Siouan was spoken primarily in the Piedmont region.

•           Iroquoian was spoken in Southwestern Virginia and in Southern Virginia near what is  today North Carolina; the Cherokee were a part of this group.       

VS.2e   Indians Adapt to Virginia Land and Climate

What are some characteristics of Virginia’s climate?

Climate in Virginia
•           The climate in Virginia is relatively mild with distinct seasons—spring, summer, fall, and winter—resulting in a variety of vegetation.
•           Forests, which have a variety of trees, cover most of the land. Virginia’s Indians are referred to as Eastern Woodland Indians.


What are some ways Virginia’s American Indians  adapted to the climate and interacted with their environment to meet their basic needs?

Adaptation to environment

The kinds of food they ate, the clothing they wore, and the shelters they had depended upon the seasons.

 •           Foods changed with the seasons.

                        In winter, they hunted birds and animals.

                        In spring, they fished and picked berries.

                        In summer, they grew crops (beans, corn, squash).

                        In fall, they harvested crops.

•           Animal skins (deerskin) were used for clothing.

•           Shelter was made from materials around them.

VS.3a    Jamestown and Reasons for Colony

What were the reasons for English colonization in America?

Reasons for English colonization in America
Some European countries, including England, were in competition to increase their wealth and power by expanding their empires to America.

•           England wanted to establish an American colony to increase her wealth and power.

•           England hoped to find silver and gold in America.

•           An American settlement would furnish raw materials that could not be grown or obtained in England, while opening new markets for trade.


What were the reasons why the  Jamestown settlers came to America?

•          The first permanent English settlement in America was Jamestown, founded in 1607 as an economic venture.     

•           Jamestown was primarily an economic venture.

•           The stockholders of the Virginia Company of London financed the settlement of Jamestown.

•           Jamestown became the first permanent English settlement in North America in 1607. 


Why Jamestown is located where it is - VS.3b

Where is Jamestown located?

When the settlers arrived in 1607, Jamestown was located on a narrow peninsula bordered on three sides by the James River.  Today, Jamestown is located on an island in the James River.

Why did the settlers choose the site at Jamestown?           

Reasons for site choice

•           The location could be easily defended from attack by sea (Spanish).

•           The water along the shore was deep enough for ships to dock.

•           They believed they had a good supply of fresh water

 Importance of the Charters of the Virginia Company VS.3c

What was the importance of the charters of the Virginia Company of London to the Jamestown  settlement?


Importance of Virginia charters

The King of England granted charters to the Virginia Company of London.

•           The charters gave the Virginia Company the right to establish a settlement in North America.

•           The first charter of the Virginia Company of London established companies to begin colonies  in the New World.

•           The charters extended English rights to the colonists


VS.3d   Virginia Assembly (1619) -First Representative Legislative Body

As Jamestown grew, the system of government evolved.
What was this system of government called?

System of government

•           In 1619, the governor of Virginia called a meeting of the Virginia Assembly.  The Assembly included two citizen representatives (called “burgesses”) from each of the divisions of Virginia, the governor’s council, and the governor. (At that time, only adult men were considered citizens.)
•           By the 1640s, the burgesses became a separate legislative body, called the Virginia House of Burgesses.

What was the Virginia House of Burgesses, and why was it important?

Virginia House of Burgesses

•           The Virginia House of Burgesses was the first elected legislative body in America giving      settlers the opportunity to control their own government.

•           It became the General Assembly of Virginia, which continues to this day.


Arrival of Africans and Women VS.3e

What was the impact of the arrival of women on the Jamestown settlement?

•           Jamestown became a more diverse colony by 1620.
The arrival of women in 1620 made it possible for the settlers to establish families and a more permanent settlement at Jamestown.

What was the impact of the arrival of Africans on the Jamestown settlement?
•          Africans arrived in Jamestown against their will.  It is believed that they arrived as baptized Christians and therefore were labeled indentured servants for a period of 5 to 7 years.
•           The arrival of Africans made it possible to expand the tobacco economy.     

Hardships at Jamestown - VS.3f

The English colonists found life in Jamestown harder than they had expected.

What hardships did the Jamestown settlers face?     

Hardships faced by the settlers

•           The site they chose to live on was marshy and lacked safe drinking water.

•           The settlers lacked some skills necessary to provide for themselves.

•           Many settlers died of starvation and disease.

What changes took place to ensure survival?

Changes that ensured survival

•           The arrival of two supply ships, the forced work program and strong leadership of Captain John Smith, and the emphasis on self-sustaining agriculture ensured survival of the colony.

VS.3g    Powhatans and Settlers – Friendly Relationship  becomes a Hostile Relationship

How did the Powhatan people and the English settlers interact?

The Powhatan people contributed to the survival of the Jamestown settlers in several ways.
•          Captain John Smith initiated trading relationships with the Powhatans.
•          The Powhatan people and the English settlers at Jamestown established trading relationships and for a while had positive interactions.
•          The Powhatans traded food, furs, and leather with the English in exchange for tools, pots, guns, and other goods.

•           Pocahontas, daughter of Chief Powhatan, believed the English and American Indians (First Americans) could live in harmony.

•           Pocahontas began a friendship with the colonists that helped them survive.

•           The Powhatans introduced new crops to the English, including corn and tobacco.


Why did the relationship between the Jamestown settlers and the Powhatans change?

The Powhatan people realized the English settlement would continue to grow.

•           The Powhatans saw the colonists as invaders that would take over their land.  

VS.4a   Agriculture, Tobacco and Slavery

The success of tobacco as a cash crop transformed life in the Virginia colony and encouraged slavery.

•           Cash crop: A crop that is grown to sell for money rather than for use by the growers


What effect did agriculture have on the Virginia colony?

The economy of the Virginia colony depended on agriculture as a primary source of wealth.

Tobacco became the most profitable agricultural product.

•           Tobacco was sold in England as a cash crop.

How did agriculture in the Virginia colony influence the institution of slavery?

The successful planting of tobacco depended on a reliable and inexpensive source of labor.

•           Large numbers of Africans were brought to the colony against their will to work as slaves on  the plantations.

•           The Virginia colony became dependent on slave labor, and the dependence lasted a long time.

VS.4b   Immigrant Settlements and Cultural Landscapes

How do cultural landscapes reflect beliefs, customs, and architecture of people?

Cultural landscapes

Whenever people settle an area, they change the landscape to reflect the beliefs, customs, and architecture of their culture. Examples of cultural landscapes include

•           Barns

•           Homes

•           Places of worship (e.g., churches)

Place names reflecting culture

•           English—Richmond

•           American Indian (First American)—Roanoke

Where did the various cultural groups settle?

Settlement areas

•           English settled primarily in Tidewater and Piedmont regions.

•           Germans and Scotch-Irish settled primarily in the Shenandoah Valley, which was along the migration route.

•           Africans settled primarily in the Tidewater and Piedmont regions, where agriculture required a great deal of labor.           

•           American Indians were primarily in the Tidewater and Piedmont regions and the Appalachian Plateau, where their traditional homelands were located.

How did the relationship between the Virginia colony and England change over time?

Although a colony of England, Virginia developed a unique culture different from that of England.

•          Migration and living in new areas caused people to adapt old customs to their new environment.
•          The culture of Virginia reflected American Indian (First American), African, and European origins.

Capital moves from Jamestown to Williamsburg to Richmond - VS.4c


Geographical factors often influence the location of a capital. 

What are some factors that influenced the move of the capital from Jamestown to Williamsburg?

Factors related to move from Jamestown to Williamsburg

•           Drinking water was contaminated by seepage of salt water.

•           Dirty living conditions caused diseases.

•           Williamsburg was situated at a higher elevation than Jamestown.

•           Fire destroyed wooden buildings at Jamestown.

What factors influenced the move of the capital from Williamsburg to Richmond? 

Factors related to move from Williamsburg to Richmond

•           Population was moving westward.

•           Richmond was a more central location.

•           Richmond’s location was better for trade.

•           Moving to Richmond increased the distance from attack by the English. 

VS.4d   Colonial Economy – Barter,  no money or banks

Money was not commonly used in early agricultural societies.     

What forms of exchange were used in the Virginia colony?

Terms to know

•           Money: A medium of exchange (currency, which includes coins and paper bills)

•           Barter: Trading/exchanging of goods and services without the use of money

•           Credit: Buying a good or service now and paying for it later

•           Debt: A good or service owed to another

•           Saving: Money put away to save or to spend at a later time

•           Few people had paper money and coins to use to buy goods and services.
•           Barter was commonly used instead of money.
•           Tobacco was used as money. A tobacco farmer could use his tobacco to pay for goods and services.
•           Farmers and other consumers could also buy goods and services on credit and pay their debts when their crops were harvested and sold.
•           Colonial Virginia had no banks.