Sir William Berkeley
|Governor of Virginia|
|Appointed by||Charles II|
|Preceded by||Samuel Mathews|
|Succeeded by||Sir Herbert Jeffries|
|Appointed by||Charles I|
|Preceded by||Sir Francis Wyatt|
|Succeeded by||Richard Bennett|
|Died||9 July 1677 71–72) (aged|
|Resting place|| St Mary's Church, Twickenham |
|Spouse(s)||Frances Culpeper Stephens Berkeley|
|Residence||Green Spring Plantation, James City County, Virginia|
Sir William Berkeley ( // ; 1605 – 9 July 1677) was a colonial governor of Virginia, and one of the Lords Proprietors of the Colony of Carolina; he was appointed to these posts by King Charles I, of whom he was a favourite.
As proprietor of Green Spring Plantation in James City County, he experimented with activities such as growing silkworms as part of his efforts to expand the tobacco-based economy. Berkeley enacted friendly policies toward the Native Americans that led to the revolt by some of the planters in 1676 which became known as Bacon's Rebellion. In the aftermath, King Charles II was angered by the retribution exacted against the rebels by Berkeley, and recalled him to England.
Berkeley was born in 1605 in Bruton, Somersetshire to Maurice Berkeley (died 1617) and Elizabeth Killigrew, of the Bruton branch of the Berkeley family, both of whom held stock in the Virginia Company of London. p5 he was born in the winter of 1605 into landed gentry. :p2 His father died when he was twelve and, though indebted, left Berkeley land in Somerset. :p5 His elder brother was John Berkeley, 1st Baron Berkeley of Stratton.Referred to as "Will" by his family and friends, :
Young Berkeley showed signs of a quick wit and broad learning. p6 His informal education consisted of observing his elders; from them he learned "the moves that governed the larger English society and his privileged place in it." :p6 Also, as part of the English country gentry, he was aware of agricultural practices, :p6 knowledge which would influence his actions as governor of Virginia.:
Though his father died in debt, Berkeley secured a proper education. He entered grammar school at about six or seven years old where he became literate in Latin and English. p6 At eighteen, like the other Berkeley men, he entered Oxford. He began his studies at Queen's College in the footsteps of his forebears, but quickly transferred to St. Edmund Hall, a "throwback to medieval times". :p7 He received, though not necessarily completed, a B.A. in fifteen months of his arrival at the Hall. :p8:
All undergraduates at St. Edmund Hall received a personal tutor. p8 While the identity of Berkeley's tutor is unsure, his effect upon the boy showed through William's "disciplined intellect and steady appetite for knowledge". :p8:
In 1632, he gained a place in the household of Charles I. That position gave him entré into a court literary circle known as "The Wits". Berkeley wrote several plays, one of which—The Lost Lady: A Tragy Comedy—was performed for Charles I and Henrietta Maria and was published in 1638. It is also included in the first and fourth editions of Dodsley's Old Plays, and A Description of Virginia (1663).
Soldiering in the First and Second Bishops' Wars (1639–1640) gained Berkeley a knighthood.
Berkeley replaced Sir Francis Wyatt as governor of Virginia in 1641.He was governor of the colony of Virginia from 1641–1652 and 1660–1677.
Berkeley's main initiative when he first became governor was to encourage diversification of Virginia's agricultural products. He accomplished this through passing laws and by setting himself up as an example for planters. p331:
Arriving at Jamestown in 1642, Berkeley erected Green Spring House on a tract of land west of the capital, where he experimented with alternatives to tobacco. p66 sugar and silk. :p70 Berkeley devoted much of his time as a planter to experimenting with alternatives to tobacco; although he always produced the crop, he "despised" it. :p67 As a planter, with Virginia in mind, Berkeley constantly attempted to determine the best crops for the state through trial and error. :p68 Berkeley produced flax, fruits, potash, silk, and spirits which he exported through a commercial network that joined Green Spring to markets in North America, the West Indies, Great Britain, and Holland. Upon the recommendation of several of his slaves, Berkeley became a successful rice farmer. They were familiar with its cultivation from their native West Africa.It was at Green Spring that he planted such diverse crops as corn, wheat, barley, rye, rape[seed], tobacco, oranges, lemons, grapes, :
He owned Boldrup Plantation.
When the parliamentarians were successful, Berkeley offered an asylum in Virginia to gentlemen of the royalist side; whereupon the parliament despatched a small fleet to the colony, and the governor, unable to offer resistance, was forced to resign his authority, but received permission to remain on his own plantation as a private person. At the Restoration, Berkeley was reappointed governor.
For Berkeley, the path towards Virginia's prosperity was fourfold: a diverse economy; free trade; a close-knit colonial society; and autonomy from London.He proceeded to turn this thought into action in various ways. In order to support a diversified economy and free trade, for instance, he used his own plantation as an example. Virginia's autonomy from London was supported in the General Assembly's role in the colony's governance. The Assembly was, in effect, a "miniature Parliament." The colony's autonomy from London was also advocated by Berkeley in his efforts against the revival of the Virginia Company of London.
Berkeley was "bitterly hostile" to Virginia's Puritans and Quakers. In an attempt to oppress them, Berkeley helped enact a law to "preserve the Established Church's [The Church of England] Unity and purity of doctrine." It punished any minister who preached outside the teachings and doctrine of this church, thus oppressing Puritans, Quakers, and any other religious minority. p254:
Berkeley strongly opposed public education. Though he was unable to foresee the eventual establishment of such schools, he held that they would bring "disobedience, heresy, and sects into the world," and were for such reasons destructive to society. He also held printing at the same level as public education. p271:
Berkeley's downfall came with the advent of his second term. He returned from retirement in 1660 due to the early death of Governor Samuel Mathews.At his return, Berkeley appealed to England for financial support of Virginia's economy. Charles II denied Berkeley's appeal "in favour of free trade."
In 1675, Berkeley appointed Nathaniel Bacon, his wife's nephew, to Virginian high office. p234 This was uncharacteristic of Berkeley, and may have shown signs of withering competence as governor.:
Slow to act to Indian attacks, Berkeley was viewed as incompetent, making his authority easy to undermine.Disagreements over Indian policy led Bacon to rebel against Berkeley. Bacon accepted command of an illegal troop of Indian fighters and disregarded the governor's warning against leading the volunteers. "He declared Bacon a rebel, dissolved the General Assembly, and promised to remedy any complaints the voters had with him."
Bacon unexpectedly led 500 armed men into Jamestown and compelled the frightened legislators to appoint him general before he marched away in search of the Indians. His extortion of a general's commission turned a dispute over Indian policy into a duel to the death over who would control Virginia: Bacon or Berkeley.
"Berkeley defeated Bacon's invaders, which enabled him to return to the western shore and to retake his capital. Once reports of the revolt reached London, the crown sent 1,000 redcoats, ships, and a commission to crush Bacon. There was nothing for the troops to do because Berkeley had regained the upper hand. The rebellion ended before they arrived in January 1677. The Treaty of 1677, the formal peace treaty between the Indians and the colonists, was signed on 29 May 1677, after Berkeley returned to England."
Berkeley died in Berkeley House, Mayfair, England on 9 July 1677, and he was "buried half a world away from the place that had become his home"in the crypt of St Mary's Church, Twickenham, where there is a memorial window to him and his brother, Lord Berkeley.
The Jamestown settlement in the Colony of Virginia was the first permanent English settlement in the Americas. It was located on the northeast bank of the James (Powhatan) River about 2.5 mi (4 km) southwest of the center of modern Williamsburg. It was established by the Virginia Company of London as "James Fort" on May 4, 1607 O.S.;, and was considered permanent after a brief abandonment in 1610. It followed several failed attempts, including the Lost Colony of Roanoke, established in 1585 on Roanoke Island. Jamestown served as the colonial capital from 1616 until 1699.
Nathaniel Bacon was a colonist of the Virginia Colony, famous as the instigator of Bacon's Rebellion of 1676, which collapsed when Bacon himself died from dysentery.
Bacon's Rebellion was an armed rebellion that took place in 1676 by Virginia settlers led by Nathaniel Bacon against the rule of Governor William Berkeley. His grievances against the governor stemmed from Berkeley's dismissive policy to the political challenges of its western frontier, particularly leaving Bacon out of his inner circle and refusing to allow Bacon to take part in fur trading with Native Americans, and Berkeley refusing Bacon a military commission that would allow him to fight and attack Native Americans at his own discretion. Attacks by the Doeg people are credited with inciting the popular uprising against Berkeley for failing to address the demands of the colonists regarding the safety of the frontier. The Doeg people had both traded and made war on the Virginia frontier.
The Colony of Virginia, chartered in 1606 and settled in 1607, was the first enduring English colony in North America, following failed proprietary attempts at settlement on Newfoundland by Sir Humphrey Gilbert in 1583, and the subsequent farther south Roanoke Island by Sir Walter Raleigh in the late 1580s.
The House of Burgesses was the elected representative element of the Virginia General Assembly, the legislative body of the Colony of Virginia. With the creation of the House of Burgesses in 1642, the General Assembly, which had been established in 1619, became a bicameral institution.
Sir George Yeardley (1587–1627) was a planter and three time colonial Governor of the British Colony of Virginia. He was also among the first slave holders in what would eventually become the United States. A survivor of the Virginia Company of London's ill-fated Third Supply Mission, whose flagship, the Sea Venture, was shipwrecked on Bermuda for 10 months in 1609–10, he is best remembered for presiding over the initial session of the first representative legislative body in Virginia in 1619. With representatives from throughout the settled portion of the colony, the group became known as the House of Burgesses. It has met continuously since, and is known in modern times as the Virginia General Assembly.
Middle Plantation in the Virginia Colony was the unincorporated town established in 1632 that became Williamsburg in 1699. It was located on high ground about halfway across the Virginia Peninsula between the James River and York River. Middle Plantation represented the first major inland settlement for the colony. It was established by an Act of Assembly to provide a link between Jamestown and Chiskiack, a settlement located across the Peninsula on the York River.
First Families of Virginia (FFV) were those families in Colonial Virginia who were socially prominent and wealthy, but not necessarily the earliest settlers. They descended from English colonists who primarily settled at Jamestown, Williamsburg, The Northern Neck and along the James River and other navigable waters in Virginia during the 17th century. These elite families generally married within their social class for many generations and, as a result, most surnames of First Families date to the colonial period.
Green Spring Plantation in James City County about five miles (8 km) west of Williamsburg, was the 17th century plantation of one of the more popular governors of Colonial Virginia in North America, Sir William Berkeley, and his wife, Frances Culpeper Berkeley.
Philip Ludwell (1637/38—c.1716) of Rich Neck Plantation in James City County, Virginia was an American military and political figure, best known as governor of the British Colony of Carolina from 1691–94. From a base in the coastal port city of Charleston, he was governor of the entire Colony of Carolina.
Cockacoeskie was a 17th-century leader of the Pamunkey tribe in what is now the American state of Virginia. During her thirty-year reign, she worked within the English system, trying to recapture the former power of past paramount chiefs and maintain peaceful unity among the several tribes under her leadership. She was the first of the tribal leaders to sign the Virginia-Indian Treaty of Middle Plantation.
Bermuda Hundred was the first administrative division in the English colony of Virginia. It was founded by Sir Thomas Dale in 1613, six years after Jamestown. At the southwestern edge of the confluence of the Appomattox and James Rivers opposite City Point, annexed to Hopewell, Virginia in 1923, Bermuda Hundred was a port town for many years. The terminology "Bermuda Hundred" also included a large area adjacent to the town. In the colonial era, "hundreds" were large developments of many acres, arising from the English term to define an area which would support 100 homesteads. The port at the town of Bermuda Hundred was intended to serve other "hundreds" in addition to Bermuda Hundred.
Sir John Harvey was a Crown Governor of Virginia. He was appointed to the position on 26 March 1628 by Charles I of England. In 1635 he was suspended and impeached by the Council of Virginia, and he returned to England. Charles I restored him to his post in 1636. He returned to Virginia in January 1637 and served until November 1639. The captain, officers, and sailors of the ship that transported the governor to Virginia in 1635 sued in Admiralty court for their pay. His government has been described as tyrannical and Harvey himself has been called "an obnoxious ruler" and was generally held to be unpopular.
Captain Samuel Mathews was a Virginia planter, political figure, and the father of Governor Samuel Mathews.
Colonel Thomas Ballard was a prominent colonial Virginia landowner and politician who played a role in Bacon's Rebellion. He served on the Governor's Council 1670–79 and was Speaker of the Virginia House of Burgesses 1680–82.
Col. Augustine Warner Jr. was a Virginia politician, planter, and landowner. He served in the House of Burgesses 1666–77 and was its Speaker in two separate sessions in 1676 and 1677, before and after Bacon's Rebellion. He then served on the Governor's Council from about October 1677 until his death.
Jamestown was the first settlement of the Virginia Colony, founded in 1607, and served as the capital of Virginia until 1690, when the seat of government was moved to Williamsburg. This article covers the history of the fort and town at Jamestown proper, as well as colony-wide trends resulting from and affecting the town during the time period in which it was the colonial capital of Virginia.
Boldrup Plantation Archeological Site is a historic archaeological site located at Newport News, Virginia. It was the location of a 17th-century plantation and now the site of a modern residential development. During the 17th century, Boldrup Plantation was owned by Gov. John Harvey, Gov. Samuel Stephens (1629-1669), and Gov. William Berkeley (1605-1677); the wife of the latter two men, Frances Culpeper Berkeley, lived there as well. The site includes the grave slab of Lt. Col. William Cole, colonial secretary of state, the graves of his second and third wives, and a pit house. The site was excavated in the 1980s.
Frances Culpeper Stephens Berkeley Ludwell, most commonly styled Lady Frances Berkeley after her second marriage, was a leader of the Green Spring faction of Virginia politics in the seventeenth century and wife to three colonial governors.
Sarah Drummond was a prominent member of Bacon's Rebellion, one of the first landowning ladies in America, and the wife of William Drummond, the first colonial governor of Albemartle Sound settlement, Provence of Carolina.