Virginia Memory, Library of Virginia
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CHRONOLOGY BY PERIOD

ca. 1580
Sir Walter Ralegh named Virginia in honor of Elizabeth I.
Sir Walter Ralegh (or Raleigh) named the region of North America that he intended to colonize Virginia, in honor of Elizabeth I, the Virgin Queen.
ca. 1580
Powhatan began consolidating tribes.
Wahunsenacawh (or Powhatan), as paramount chief, began consolidating groups or Powhatan tribes in the vicinity of the mouths of the James and York Rivers, amassing about thirty of them by 1607.
1584
The Chesapeake Bay may have been explored by members of the Roanoke Colony.
One of several ships bound for what would become the Roanoke Colony on an island off the present-day North Carolina coast may have explored the Chesapeake Bay coastline and met a hostile reception.
1588
Spanish explorers abducted two American Indian boys.
Spanish explorers abducted two Native American boys, one captured at the mouth of the Potomac River and one on the Eastern Shore.
1603
English explorers may have entered the Chesapeake Bay.
An English ship entered what was perhaps the Chesapeake Bay searching for fresh water but withdrew in the face of an Indian attack.
ca. 1605
Europeans reached the Rappahannock River and attacked the American Indians.
A European ship reached the Rappahannock River where the captain and crew, after a friendly reception by Native Americans, killed the chief, kidnapped several others, and escaped. (After the arrival of the English in 1607, Indians took John Smith to the place, where the Indians stated that he had not been among those involved.)
1606
James I issued the first Charter.
On 10 April, James I issued a charter to the Virginia Company of London, authorizing a group of investors to establish two colonies in the New World.
1607
Christopher Newport and his crew explored the James River to the Falls.
On 21 May, Captain Christopher Newport led a twenty-one-man expedition, including John Smith and Gabriel Archer, up the James River as far west as the falls, later the site of Richmond, searching for the source of the James River.
1607
The English settle Jamestown.
On 26 April, colonists aboard the Susan Constant, Godspeed, and Discovery reached the Virginia coast at Cape Henry after an eighteen-week voyage. On 14 May, after sailing up the river they named for their king, 104 men and boys stepped ashore on the peninsula that they named Jamestown.