Study Guide for Colonial Virginia

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Study Guide for Colonial Virginia
(SOL VS4a,b,c,d,e)
DIRECTIONS: Study the information listed below. Pay particular attention to the words listed
in bold letters.
The Importance of Agriculture and Its Influence on Slavery (SOL VS4a)
 Cash crop – a crop that is grown to sell for money rather than for use by the growers
 The economy of the Virginia colony depended on agriculture as a primary source of
 Tobacco became the most profitable agricultural product
o Tobacco was sold in England as a cash crop
 The successful planting of tobacco depended on a steady and inexpensive source of
o African men, women, and children were brought to the colony against their will
to work as slaves on the plantations
o The Virginia colony became dependent on slave labor, and the dependence
lasted a long time
Culture of Colonial Virginia (SOL VS4b)
 Whenever people settle an area, they change the culture and landscape to reflect their
beliefs, customs, and architecture.
o Examples of architecture that reflect different cultures include: barns, homes,
and places of worship (i.e. – churches)
 Place names reflecting culture
o English – Richmond
o American Indian – Roanoke
 Settlement areas
o English settled primarily in the Tidewater and Piedmont regions
o Germans and Scots-Irish settled primarily in the Shenandoah Valley, which was
along the migration route
o Africans were settled primarily in the Tidewater and Piedmont regions, where
tobacco farming required a great deal of labor
o Prior to the arrival of the settlers, American Inidans lived throughout Virginia.
After the settlers arrived, most were forced inland
 Migration and living in new areas caused people to adapt old customs to their new
The Capital Moves (SOL VS4c)
 Reasons why the capital was moved from Jamestown to Williamsburg
o Drinking water was contaminated by seepage of salt water
o Unhealthy living conditions caused diseases
o Fire destroyed wooden and brick buildings at Jamestown
 Reasons why the capital was moved from Williamsburg to Richmond
o Population was moving westward
o Richmond was a more central location
o Moving to Richmond increased the distance from attack by the British
Money in Colonial Virginia (SOL VS4d)
 Terms to Know
o Money – a medium of exchange (currency, which includes coins and paper bills)
o Barter – trading/exchanging of goods and services without the use of money
o Credit = buying a good or service now and paying for it later
o Debt – a good or service owed to another
o Saving – money put away to save or to spend at a later time
 Few people had paper money and coins to use to buy goods and services
 Barter was commonly used instead of money.
 Tobacco was used as money. A tobacco farmer could use his tobacco to pay for goods
and services
 Farmers and other consumers could also buy goods and services on credit and pay their
debts when their crops were harvested and sold
 Colonial Virginia had no banks
Everyday Life in Colonial Virginia (SOL VS4e)
 People living in colonial Virginia depended on natural, human, and capital resources to
produce the goods and services they needed
 Food
o Food choices were limited
o Meals were made of local produce and meats
 Housing
o Most people lived in one- room homes with dirt floors
o Some people (farmers) lived in large houses
o Households made their own clothes
o Most clothing was made from cotton, wool, and leather
Most white Virginians made their living from the land as small farmers. A few owned
large farms (plantations).
Most enslaved African Americans worked with tobacco, crops, and livestock. Enslaved
Africans had no rights
Many free African Americans owned their own business and property, but were denied
most rights.
1) Explain how agriculture in the Virginia colony encouraged slavery.
 The colony’s number one crop was tobacco.
 In order to make the most money from this “cash crop” the colony needed a
reliable and inexpensive source of labor.
 Slaves provided a reliable and inexpensive source of labor.
2) Give two examples of counties or cities that reflected the culture from which those
people naming the county or city came from.
 Roanoke – Native American
 Loudoun - English
3) Name three reasons the capital was moved from Jamestown to Williamsburg. Then
name three reasons the capital was moved again but this time from Williamsburg to
 See section above labeled “The Capital Moves (SOL VS4c)” for the answer.
4) Name one advantage of bartering and one disadvantage of bartering.
 Advantage – You can get something you want fairly quickly without having to save
up money for it provided you have something to trade with.
o Feel free to come up with your own answer.
 Disadvantage – The person whom you want to barter with might not be
interested in bartering.
o Feel free to come up with your own answer.
5) How did the lives of small farmers differ from the life of a large plantation owner in
Colonial Virginia?
 Small farmers were responsible for planting and harvesting their own crops while
 Wealthy farmers had slaves to plant and harvest their crops.