The land we call Virginia has been populated by people from varied racial, regional, and national origins since the beginning of human settlement more than 15,000 years ago. The first people to settle on the Virginia landscape about whom we know much were Algonquian and Siouan Indians. The agricultural Algonquian built semipermanent settlements from the Eastern Shore to the fall line of the James River, while the nomadic Siouan, who relied on hunting, inhabited the Piedmont west of the river all the way to the Blue Ridge Mountains. European colonists and captured Africans arrived early in the 1600s. The flow of immigrants, sometimes surging and other times slowing to a trickle, continued throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Today newcomers with Asian, African, and Hispanic roots propel Virginia to an eleventh-place ranking in the United States for foreign-born population, a place bound to change with the 2010 federal census.
The Land We Live In, The Land We Left exhibition is open to the public during the Library's regular business hours through October 30, 2010. Below is a sample of some of the immigrants to Virginia you will meet when you visit. We also invite you to download the exhibition brochure
for more information on the immigrant experience in Virginia, as well as resources for educators.