The Magazine at Colonial Williamsburg

Bruce Lenman looks at the colonial resonances of the Magazine Building, Williamsburg.

At times violence decisively shaped the evolution of colonial Virginia which grew, at first slowly, after the establishment of Jamestown in 1607. The Algonquian-speaking Indians of the Tidewater, or low-lying areas around Chesapeake Bay, tried twice, in 1622 and 1644, to wipe nut the English settlements by surprise attack. Both times they failed, being in turn virtually obliterated by the ferocious wars of revenge which the angry colonists unleashed on them.

Virginia's Indian problem shifted to a rapidly-expanding inland frontier where it remained enough of an emotional flashpoint to help trigger a white settler rebellion against Governor Sir William Berkeley in 1676-77. In the course of that rising, known as Bacon's Rebellion, Jamestown was burned to the ground. After fire in 1698 burned down the Jamestown statehouse (for the fourth time), the Virginia Assembly and Governor Francis Nicholson moved the colonial capital five miles north of puny, disease-ridden James- town to a site where in 1700 the building began of a new city named Williamsburg after William III.

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