Author: Encyclopedia Virginia staff

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Upper Mattaponi Tribe

The Upper Mattaponi tribe is a state- and federally recognized Indian tribe whose tribal grounds consist of thirty-two acres in King William County, near the upper reaches of the Mattaponi River. In 2009, the tribe consisted of 575 members, many of whom live in Virginia.

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Taylor, Peter (1917–1994)

Peter Taylor was a short-story writer and author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel A Summons to Memphis (1986). During a writing career that spanned six decades, much of which was spent in Charlottesville, he established himself as a master of short fiction, displaying elegance and lucidity of style in examining family life in the New South. Many early stories were published in the New Yorker, and after joining the faculty at the University of Virginia in 1967, Taylor experienced a mid-life second flowering and produced the fiction for which he is best remembered. In 1978, he was awarded the Gold Medal for the Short Story by the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. Wider public notice followed, although it may still have been true, as he proclaimed himself, that he was “the best-known unknown writer in America.”

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Rappahannock Tribe

The Rappahannock tribe is a state- and federally recognized Indian tribe whose tribal area is located in Indian Neck in King and Queen County. In the late twentieth century, the tribe owned 140.5 acres of land and the Rappahannock Cultural Center and had about 500 members on its tribal roll.

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Pamunkey Tribe

The Pamunkey tribe is an Indian tribe that the Commonwealth of Virginia has recognized since the seventeenth century. In 1983, while granting recognition to several other tribes, Virginia again acknowledged the Pamunkey tribe’s status. In 2015, the federal government officially recognized the tribe. The tribe has a reservation located on the Pamunkey River in King William County and is one of the nation’s oldest, dating back to 1646. Of the reservation’s 1,200 acres, 500 are wetlands. In 2012 about eighty Pamunkey tribal members lived on the reservation, with many more residing in nearby Richmond and Newport News, as well as throughout Virginia and the United States. Pamunkey people have served in every American war and major conflict, beginning with the Revolutionary War (1775–1783).

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Nansemond Tribe

The Nansemond tribe is a state- and federally recognized Indian tribe whose members live mostly in the cities of Chesapeake and Suffolk. In 2009 about 200 Nansemond tribal members were registered in Virginia.

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Monacan Indian Nation

The Monacan Indian Nation is a state- and federally recognized Indian tribe whose tribal area is located near Bear Mountain in Amherst County. The original territory of the Siouan-speaking tribe and its allies comprised more than half of present-day Virginia, including almost all of the Piedmont region and parts of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Early in the twenty-first century about 1,600 Monacans belonged to the tribe, one of the oldest groups of indigenous people still existing in its ancestral homeland, and the only group in the state whose culture descends from Eastern Siouan speakers.

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Mattaponi Tribe

The Mattaponi tribe is a state-recognized Indian tribe located on a 150-acre reservation that stretches along the borders of the Mattaponi River at West Point in King William County. Early in the twenty-first century the tribe included about 450 people, 75 of whom lived on the reservation.

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Eastern Chickahominy Tribe

The Chickahominy Tribe Eastern Division is a state- and federally recognized Indian tribe located about twenty-five miles east of Richmond in New Kent County. Early in the twenty-first century its population numbered about 132 people, with 67 of those living in Virginia and the rest residing in other parts of the United States.

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Plants in Early Virginia Indian Society, Domesticated

Virginia Indians began domesticating plants to be used as a food source following the Ice Age. As the climate warmed, their lives became less nomadic and the conditions improved for husbanding certain plants—sunflower, knotweed, and little barley at first, and then the so-called three sisters of maize, beans, and squash. Eastern North America is one of ten sites in the world where independent plant domestication occurred, but because of other abundant food sources in the Chesapeake Bay area, maize, or corn, was not widespread until as late as AD 1100. Plant domestication coincided with increasing populations, improved weapons technology, and more complex social and political systems. Already a high-status food among the Indians, maize was held in particularly high regard by the Jamestown colonists, who had never seen it before. Scholars disagree how much of the Indian diet it comprised, but it seems clear that only the highest-ranking of the Powhatan Indians of Tsenacomoco ate domesticated plants year-round.

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Davis, Varina (1826–1906)

Varina Howell Davis was the second wife of Confederate president Jefferson Davis and the First Lady of the Confederacy during the American Civil War (1861–1865). She was manifestly ill-suited for this role because of her family background, education, personality, physical appearance, and her fifteen-year antebellum residence in Washington, D.C. (She once declared that the worst years of her life were spent in the Confederate capital at Richmond while the happiest were in Washington.) A native of the urban South, she always preferred the city to the country, and after her husband died in 1889, she moved to New York, where she resided until her death in 1906.

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Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel (CBBT) connects the Virginia mainland at the city of Virginia Beach directly with the Delmarva Peninsula. Completed in 1964 and recognized by the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1965 as one of the “Seven Engineering Wonders of the Modern World,” the structure is comprised of bridges, tunnels, and land roads that span a total of twenty-three miles. Initially considered to be a risky financial move, the CBBT is now a profitable and expanding enterprise.

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