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List of colonial governors of Virginia facts for kids

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This is a list of colonial (commonwealth) governors of Virginia.

Note: Some of those who held the lead role as governor of Virginia never visited the New World and governed through deputies resident in the colony. Others, such as Thomas West, 3rd Baron De La Warr, held the lead role for many years, but were only in Virginia a short portion of that time, delegating to others most of the time. Probably for those reasons, in many historical documents and references, the deputies and lieutenant governors who had the primary responsibility in Virginia are also often titled simply "governor". Also, transportation from England routinely took several months, and occasionally, much longer. Thus, dates may appear to overlap.

Virginia Company of London Governors (1607–1624)

From 1606 until 1624, Proprietary Governors oversaw the operation of the Virginia Colony. Most were styled "President of the Council", although some were styled "governor" by the proprietors.

Captain John Smith
Captain John Smith, from his 1614 map of New England
  • President of the Council Edward Maria Wingfield (1607)
  • President of the Council John Ratcliffe (1608) (real name "Capt. John Sicklemore"(?))
  • Matthew Scrivener (1608)
  • President of the Council John Smith (1608–1609)
  • President of the Council The Honourable George Percy (1609–1610)
  • Governor Thomas West, 3rd Baron De La Warr (1609–1618, sometimes absentee)
    • Deputy Governor Sir Thomas Gates (May–June 1610)
    • Deputy Governor The Honourable George Percy (March–May 1611)
    • Acting Governor Sir Thomas Dale (May–August 1611)
    • Acting Governor Sir Thomas Gates (1611–1613)
    • Acting Governor Sir Thomas Dale (1613–1616)
    • Lieutenant Governor Sir George Yeardley (1616–1617)
    • Lieutenant Governor Sir Samuel Argall (1617–1619)
  • Governor Sir George Yeardley (1619–1621)
  • Governor Sir Francis Wyatt (1621–1624)

Crown Governors (1624–1652)

After the Virginia Company of London lost its proprietary charter in 1624, the colony was taken over by the English Crown, and became a crown colony. Governors were appointed by the ruling monarch to oversee the interests of the Crown. During the interregnum period (1649–1660), when England came under commonwealth rule and the protectorate rule of Oliver and Richard Cromwell, those governments appointed Virginia's governors. William Berkeley, who was governor at the time of the execution of King Charles I, remained in office until the arrival of a Commonwealth fleet in 1651 led to his removal. Berkeley was returned to office by votes of the Virginia assembly and by appointment of the restored King Charles II in 1660.

  • Governor Sir Francis Wyatt (1624–1626)
  • Governor Sir George Yeardley (1626–1627)
  • Acting Governor The Honourable Francis West (1627–1629)
  • Governor Sir John Harvey (1628–1639)
    • Acting Governor John Pott (1629–1630)
    • Acting Governor The Honourable John West (1635–1636)
    • Acting Governor Col. George Reade (1638–1639)
  • Governor Sir Francis Wyatt (1639–1642)
  • Governor Sir William Berkeley (1642–1652)
    • Acting Governor Sir Richard Kemp (1644–1645)

Commonwealth and Protectorate Governors (1652–1660)

  • Governor Richard Bennett (1652–1655)
  • Governor Edward Digges (1655–1656)
  • Governor Lt. Col. Samuel Mathews of Mathews County, Virginia (1656–1660, died in office)

Crown Governors (1660–1775)

  • Governor Sir William Berkeley (1660–1677)
    • Lieutenant Governor Francis Moryson (1661–1662)
  • Governor Sir Herbert Jeffries (1677–1678)
  • Governor Thomas Culpeper, 2nd Baron Culpeper of Thoresway (1677–1683)
    • Lieutenant Governor Sir Henry Chicheley (1678–1680)
  • Acting Governor Col. Nicholas Spencer (September 1683–April 1684)
  • Governor Francis Howard, 5th Baron Howard of Effingham (1684–1692, absentee from 1688)
    • Gen. Joseph Bridger (1684)
    • President of the Council Nathaniel Bacon (1688–1690)
    • Lieutenant Governor Francis Nicholson (1690–1692)
  • Governor Sir Edmund Andros (1692–1698)
  • Governor George Hamilton, 1st Earl of Orkney (1698–1737, absentee)
    • Lieutenant Governor Francis Nicholson (1698–1705)
    • Lieutenant Governor Col. Edward Nott (1705–1706)
    • Acting Governor Edmund Jenings (1706–1710)
    • Lieutenant Governor General Robert Hunter (1707, captured at sea and never served)
    • Lieutenant Governor Lt. Col. Alexander Spotswood (1710–1722)
    • Lieutenant Governor Col. Hugh Drysdale (1722–1726)
    • President of the Council Robert "King" Carter (1726–September 1727)
    • Lieutenant Governor Sir William Gooch, 1st Baronet (1727–1740)
  • Governor Willem Anne van Keppel, 2nd Earl of Albemarle (1737–1754, absentee)
    • Acting Governor James Blair (1740–1741) (acting for Lt. Gov. Gooch while latter out-of-country)
    • Lieutenant Governor Sir William Gooch, 1st Baronet (1741–1749)
    • Acting Governor Thomas Lee (1749–1750)
    • Acting Governor Lewis Burwell I/II (1750–1751)
    • Lieutenant Governor Robert Dinwiddie (1751–1756)
  • Governor John Campbell, 4th Earl of Loudoun (1756–1759)
    • Lieutenant Governor Robert Dinwiddie (1756–January 1758)
    • Lieutenant Governor Francis Fauquier (1758–1768)
  • Governor Jeffery Amherst (1759–1768, absentee)
    • Acting Governor John Blair, Sr. (1768)
  • Governor Norborne Berkeley, Baron de Botetourt (1768–1770)
  • Acting Governor William Nelson (1770–1771)
  • Governor John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore (1771–June 1775)
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List of colonial governors of Virginia Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.