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Honoring The States: The 10th State - Virginia...

On June 26th, 1788, Virginia ratified the US Constitution as the 10th state to join the union. At the time, Virginia also included what is now called Kentucky and West Virginia. The name of the state came from Sir Walter Raleigh and Queen Elizabeth after the English Queen Elizabeth I. Virginia is known as "The Old Dominion State", which was a nicknamed that was first coined by King Charles II after they proved to be loyal during the English Civil War. It is also known as "The Mother of Presidents" because Virginia offered the first five presents of the United States. Virginia was also the site of surrender that ended both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. The capital is Richmond, the state bird is the Northern Cardinal, the state flower is the Flowering Dogwood, and the state tree is also the Flowering Dogwood.

There is archaeological proof that people lived in Virginia 16,000 - 22,000 years ago. Indigenous peoples from about 30 Algonquian tribes worked together as the Powhatan paramount chiefdom. They included the Agonquian, Siouan, and the Iroquoian people. Powhatan was the leader of the confederation of tribes around the Chesapeake Bay. The indigenous farmed the land and raised their families in peace together. Once the English arrived in 1607, they offered the colonists food and support. Many of the colonists insisted on getting rich quickly, so they neglected their promised farming responsibilities and other work to help maintain their existence, and that made them even more dependent upon the indigenous for help. Colonists hoped to find gold and spices and land to grow crops, but they were not prepared to work through harsh weather, snakes, swamps, and challenging soil conditions. Captain John Smith helped to establish trade with the locals, and saw the indigenous as those he could enslave to work for him. If he needed something, he had no problem taking it. Other colonists arrived, including John Rolfe, who eventually would marry Pocahontas. The English continued to take over the natives, and they brought their diseases and used force, which wiped out many of them. The native people who lived through these challenges were being forced to convert to Christianity through education.

In early 1622, after both Powhatan and Pocahontas had died and the indigenous had faked their friendships with the colonizers for some time, they struck them with an attack, killing about 350 colonists. Because one of their own betrayed them and leaked their plans, Jamestown was saved and the English sought bloody reprisals against the indigenous. The very first tribe in Virginia to gain federal recognition from the Bureau of Indian Affairs in 2015 was the Pamunkey Indian Tribe. Through the Thomasina E. Jordan Indian Tribes of Virginia Federal Recognition Act, in 2017 congress recognized 6 more tribes. Today, Virginia has 7 federally recognized tribes and 11 state-recognized tribes. Four of these state-recognized tribes still do not have federal recognition.

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