Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Middle Plantation in colonial Virginia was originally established in 1632. It was located on high ground about half-way across the Virginia Peninsula between the James River and York River. It was located in James City Shire when it was established 2 years later in 1634. It was the site of the new College of William and Mary in 1693. Middle Plantation became the Capital of the English Colony of Virginia in 1699 and was renamed Williamsburg in honor of King William III of Great Britain.
Middle Plantation was a fort at the edge of a geographic plateau of the Tidewater Region, from which the land slopes eastward down to sea level at the lower end of the Virginia Peninsula. This was a natural point to build a line of defense for the lower peninsula during early conflicts with the Native Americans.
Middle Plantation represented the first major inland settlement for the colony. It was established by an Act of Assembly in 1632 to provide a link between Jamestown and Chiskiack, a settlement located across the Peninsula on the York River. Its growth was encouraged by the construction of a wall, or palisade, across the peninsula in 1634.
College of William and Mary, State Capital
The College of William and Mary was established adjacent to Middle Plantation in 1693. The statehouse (capitol building) in Jamestown burned for the fourth time on October 20, 1698. The following year, in 1699, in a meeting held by the colonists, a group of students from the College of William and Mary submitted a proposal to move the capital to Middle Plantation, to escape the dreaded malaria and mosquitoes that plagued the Jamestown site. The capital of the Virginia Colony was relocated to Middle Plantation.
Renamed as Williamsburg
About the same time the Capital was moved, Middle Plantation was renamed Williamsburg by Colonel Francis Nicholson , proponent of the change, in honor of King William III of Great Britain. The new site was described by him as a place where "clear and crystal springs burst from the champagne soil."
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