Charles I makes Virginia England's first royal colony.
On 13 May, Charles I issued a proclamation making Virginia England's first royal colony.
Charles I issued a charter creating the colony of Maryland.
On 20 June, Charles I issued a charter creating the colony of Maryland, thus also establishing the northern boundary of Virginia.
The names of the original eight counties appeared in the colony's extant records.
The names of eight shires, or counties, first appeared in the colony's extant records—Accomack, Charles City, Charles River, Elizabeth City, Henrico, James City, Warrosquyoake, and Warwick River.
Members of the executive Council forced Governor Sir John Harvey from office.
On 28 April, frustrated by the royal governor's policies and jealous of their hard-won political prerogatives, leading members of the colony's executive Council forced the governor, Sir John Harvey, from office.
Nonconformists were compelled to leave Virginia.
In March, the General Assembly required that ministers conform to the practices of the Church of England and that nonconformists be compelled to leave Virginia. Many Virginia Puritans moved to Maryland.
The General Assembly became a bicameral legislature.
In March, the General Assembly adopted Governor Sir William Berkeley's plan for a bicameral legislature, with the Council as the upper house and the burgesses, who had previously met with the Council and governor, as the separate House of Burgesses.
Indians under Opechancanough attacked the English, killing about 400 people.
On 18 April, Indians under Opechancanough again attacked the English, killing approximately four hundred people who had settled in areas previously unoccupied by the colonists.
The third Anglo-Powhatan War ended.
The third Anglo-Powhatan War ended with Virginia's Indians ceding lands stretching southward from the James River as far as Cape Henry, allowing peaceful settlement of much of eastern Virginia.
Exiled Charles II granted the Northern Neck to several court favorites.
On 18 September, Charles II, then in exile, issued a patent to several loyal followers, among them two members of the Culpeper family, granting nearly 5.3 million acres of land between the Rappahannock and Potomac Rivers, the area known as the Northern Neck. In 1690, the daughter of Thomas, second baron Culpeper of Thoresway, married Thomas, fifth baron Fairfax of Cameron. Thereafter the proprietary became synonymous with the Fairfax name.
England was declared a commonwealth under Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell.
With the trial and beheading of Charles I on 30 January, Parliament proclaimed England a commonwealth under a Lord Protector, Oliver Cromwell. In Virginia, Governor Sir William Berkeley condemned the "traitorous proceedings" and declared allegiance to the king's exiled son, Charles II.
Wood and Bland explored as far south as present-day Weldon, N.C.
Explorers Abraham Wood and Edward Bland led a small company from Fort Henry, later the site of Petersburg, as far south as the Staunton River near present-day Weldon, North Carolina. Bland's journal of the expedition, The Discovery of New Britainne, was published in London in 1651.
Parliament's Navigation Act limited trade with other countries or colonies.
In response to the significant threat posed by Dutch merchant ships trading with Virginia and other colonies, Parliament passed a Navigation Act significantly restricting sea trade between England and its possessions to English ships or to ships of the country originally producing the goods being carried.
Virginia surrendered to Parliamentary commissioners.
On 12 March, Parliamentary commissioners sent to secure the surrender of Virginia and Maryland to the authority of the Commonwealth concluded generous terms of capitulation with Governor Sir William Berkeley, allowing him to retire to his Green Spring plantation. The General Assembly then elected Richard Bennett, a Puritan, as governor.
The General Assembly passed a law restricting Quakers in Virginia.
In March, the General Assembly passed "An Act for the suppressing the Quakers" and during the next three years passed two other laws restricting Quaker meetings in Virginia. In 1663, a member was expelled from the House of Burgesses for being "loving to the Quakers." By the end of the century Virginia's Quakers were no longer subjected to much legal discrimination or harassment.
The second Navigation Act further restricted Virginia's trade.
Parliament passed a new Navigation Act that consolidated much of the act of 1651 and further restricted trade by enumerating specific crops such as tobacco that were produced in the colonies as thereafter exportable only to England or to another English colony.
Charles II was restored to the English throne.
With the death of Oliver Cromwell and the abdication of the Lord Protector's son and successor, the General Assembly successfully secured Sir William Berkeley's consent to resume the governorship. That autumn Berkeley received a new commission as governor from Charles II.
The General Assembly declared that children of enslaved women were slaves.
The General Assembly declared that the children of enslaved women were legally slaves even if the father was a free man of African or English descent, part of the incremental legislative definition of slavery.
Charles II granted the Carolina Proprietary to eight Lords Proprietors.
On 24 March, Charles II granted a charter to eight Lords Proprietors for much of the territory that became North and South Carolina, thus establishing the southern boundary of Virginia.
The Berkenhead Conspiracy occurred in Gloucester County.
In Gloucester County, indentured servants and perhaps former soldiers of the Puritan Commonwealth planned to march on Jamestown to negotiate their freedom or resettlement. An informer betrayed the plan, and several conspirators in what was called the Berkenhead Conspiracy were likely condemned.
A devastating hurricane struck the Chesapeake Bay.
On 27 August, a devastating hurricane struck the Chesapeake Bay. Twenty-four hours of high wind and the storm surge destroyed ships, crops, livestock, and by one estimate perhaps as many as 10,000 buildings.
A Dutch fleet attacked vessels in the James River.
On 4 June, during the second of three Anglo-Dutch Wars (1652–1654, 1665–1667, 1672–1674), a Dutch fleet entered poorly defended Chesapeake Bay and in five days seized nearly all the merchant vessels in the James River and burned five or six more.
Lederer and other explorers led a series of westward explorations.
Hoping to determine the size of the continent, John Lederer, Thomas Batte, and Robert Hallom, and James Needham and Gabriel Arthur led a series of westward explorations.
George Fox helped organize a yearly meeting of Virginia Quakers.
George Fox, founder of the Society of Friends, visited Virginia to help organize a yearly meeting of Virginia's Quakers, despite official opposition from the colony's government and the Church of England.
The Lawnes Creek Riot occurred in Surry County.
Surry County farmers organized a protest against high taxes; the leaders of what was called the Lawnes Creek Riot stood trial for illegal assembly and contempt of authority.
Bacon's Rebellion erupts.
A bitter dispute between Nathaniel Bacon (1647–1676), a Henrico County planter, and Governor Sir William Berkeley over how best to protect the Virginia frontier from the threat of Indian attacks resulted in Bacon's Rebellion. The rebels burned Jamestown, but after Bacon's death from fever in October the rebellion collapsed.
Cockacoeske, queen of the Pamunkey, signed the Treaty of Middle Plantation.
On 29 May, Cockacoeske, queen of the Pamunkey, on behalf of several tribes, and Virginia commissioners signed the Treaty of Middle Plantation that virtually concluded warfare in southeastern Virginia.
The General Assembly passed a law to encourage the establishment of towns.
The General Assembly passed the first of several acts to encourage the establishment of towns. That act and others passed in 1691 and 1705 did not succeed in creating towns and commercial centers in the colony.
The Plant-Cutter Rebellion spread across five counties.
Facing depressed prices and the General Assembly's failure to restrict tobacco production, disgruntled farmers in Gloucester, New Kent, York, James City, and Middlesex Counties destroyed the tobacco crop on as many as two hundred plantations in hopes of reducing supply and thereby raising prices. The militia swiftly quelled the so-called Plant-Cutter Rebellion.
The College of William and Mary was granted a charter.
On 8 February, the Crown granted a charter for the College of William and Mary in response to a 1691 petition from the General Assembly requesting a "place of Universal Study."
A severe hurricane struck the coast of Virginia and Maryland.
On 19 October, a hurricane struck the coast of Virginia and Maryland, closing some navigable channels and cutting through islands to create several "Navigable Rivers for Sloops and small Vessels."
The College of William and Mary began educating American Indian boys.
The College of William and Mary began educating Native American boys, funded with money from the estate of British scientist Robert Boyle.