On March 12, 1652, Virginia governor Sir William Berkeley and the governor’s Council agreed to a negotiated surrender to the forces sent out by the Commonwealth government of England under the authority of the English Parliament. By capitulating, Virginia relinquished its status as a royal colony and ceased its formal support of the Stuart royal family. The surrender came after the colony endured an embargo and a blockade, both ordered by the Commonwealth government of England. The colonial government negotiated relatively favorable terms for its surrender, although Berkeley was forced to step down as governor. Virginia would return to royal colony status in 1660 with the Restoration.
Author: Carla Pestana
English Civil Wars and Virginia, The
The English Civil Wars (1642–1648) were a pair of civil wars fought in England that set King Charles I and his supporters against supporters of the English parliament, which opposed his policies. These wars and the resulting changes to English and colonial government affected Virginia in a number of ways. As a royal colony, Virginia was expected to support the king in wartime; while Virginia governor Sir William Berkeley enforced Charles I’s views on religious conformity to the Church of England, he took a more relaxed approach to colonial commerce, declaring neutrality in order to maintain a robust trade. In 1648, Parliamentarian forces under the command of Oliver Cromwell prevailed. In 1649, Charles I was executed and a republican government called the Commonwealth, ruled by Parliament, replaced the monarchy. The Commonwealth pursued economic and imperial policies that linked its colonies more closely to England. Virginia initially resisted this regime, proclaiming Charles II king, but was forced to surrender to Parliament on March 12, 1652. In May 1660, Charles II was restored to the throne, and Virginians pointed toward their initial resistance to the Commonwealth as evidence of the colony’s loyalty, cultivating an enduring image of Virginia as a royalist stronghold.