Monday, September 10, 2007

The "Citie of Henricus" , also known as Henricopolis or Henrico Town, was a city founded by Sir Thomas Dale in 1611 as an alternative to the swampy and dangerous area around Jamestown Settlement, Virginia. It was named for Prince Henry, the eldest son of King James I.
Henricus was the second successful English city in the New World and was located on the James River, just a few miles southeast of the modern city of Richmond, Virginia, but at the time, one of the westernmost outlying developments from the Colony's fortified capital at Jamestown.
This city is near where Pocahontas grew up among the Appomattox tribe, where she converted to Christianity, and where she and John Rolfe fell in love, and married in 1614, living together across the river at the Varina Farms Plantation. There, a son, Thomas Rolfe, was born to the couple.
The early 17th century settlers in the young colony tried to start what would have been the first institution of higher education in the British colonies. In 1618 a royal charter was obtained for founding the University of Henrico, and in the following years land was set aside for its use. But nothing more than a school for the Native Americans had actually come into existence by 1622, when the town was destroyed in the Indian Massacre of 1622. It was not rebuilt, and Virginia had to wait until 1693 for the College of William and Mary to be established. Many historians believe that the successful plan submitted to the Crown for William and Mary was based largely upon the earlier efforts at Henricus.
The site of Henricus later became part of the Shire of Henrico (1634), later renamed Henrico County (1637). It was included in the area south of the James River subdivided to form Chesterfield County in 1749.
Over time, even the exact location was lost. However, in the late 20th century, the site was rediscovered and has been partially restored. Henricus Historical Park is located within the 810-acre Dutch Gap Conservation Area, portions of which were the site of major Revolutionary and Civil War action.

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