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[VA] Timeline

1619: First enslaved Africans are sold to Virginia settlers in Jamestown

1662: Colonial Virginia House of Burgesses defines slavery in statute law

1680: House of Burgesses requires that any slave away from home must carry a pass or be subject to arrest and punishment

1698-1775: Between 75,000 and 100,000 African slaves are brought to Virginia

1705: Virginia slave statutes are consolidated into one comprehensive enactment—human chattel are defined as property, the same as real estate

1754: Slave patrols are established

1775, November 7: Lord Dunmore, whom the patriots had previously run out of the colonial capital at Williamsburg, proclaims that slaves belonging to rebels will be freed if they run away and join British forces

1776: Dunmore departs Virginia, taking with him a large number of former Virginia slaves

Thomas Jefferson, a Virginia slaveholder, composes the basic draft of the Declaration of Independence

1788, June 25: Virginia ratifies the U.S. Constitution and joins the Union

1800: Gabriel's slave rebellion is discovered in the Richmond suburbs

1831: Nat Turner's slave insurrection in Southampton County terrifies white Virginians

1859: Abolitionist John Brown attempts to incite a slave insurrection at Harper's Ferry; Brown is hanged at Charles Towne, Virginia

1861, April 17: Virginia secedes from the Union and joins the Confederacy; northwestern Virginia sets up its own government, remaining loyal to the Union; Confederate capital is moved to Richmond in June; Federal General Ben Butler at Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia, declares slaves escaping from masters supporting the rebellion to be “contraband” of war

1863: West Virginia becomes a separate state

1865, April 9: General Robert E. Lee surrenders the main Confederate army at Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia, effectively concluding the Civil War in Virginia; slavery ends in the commonwealth

1867: Virginia becomes Military District #1 under the Reconstruction Acts; Virginia voters elect blacks to serve in the Constitution Convention

1868: Two dozen African Americans serve in the Virginia General Assembly

1869: Freedmen's Bureau leaves Virginia

1870, January 26: Virginia is readmitted to the Union; military reconstruction ends; white “redemption” of the state is begun by Virginia Democrats

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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