Virginia's First People Past and Present

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Virginia's First People Past and Present

WINGAPO (pronounced win-gà-po) – Welcome, my beloved friend

European colonists arriving in Virginia may have been greeted with, "Wingapo." Indians have lived in what is now called Virginia for thousands of years. While historians and archaeologists are still learning about the people who inhabited this land, it is clear that Virginia history did not begin in 1607.

Navigate using the following links to visit sub-sections of this topic and learn more about the people now called Virginia Indians:

  • History: Learn about the first people who inhabited Virginia. This section covers the timeframe of migration and settlement between 15,000 BCE and present day.
  • Geography: Understand how the Virginia Indian culture developed as a result of the environment
  • Culture: Discover the ways in which artifacts, language, religion, government, economic systems, occupations, arts, housing, and clothing served as an expression of the Virginia Indian culture
  • Resources: Educators looking to create a lesson plan can find instructional resources here
  • Multimedia: Get access to related informational videos and images
  • Histories of Virginia State Recognized Tribes: Explore the histories of the 11 Virginia state recognized tribes

Watch - The Virginia Indians: Meet the Tribes and download a Meet the Tribes student activity book.

Ice Age Discoveries

Recent archaeological digs in Virginia have provided compelling evidence that humans inhabited Virginia at least 18,000 years ago, well before the Clovis culture and thousands of years before previously thought. See Ice Age Discoveries for information about pre-Clovis culture and to watch streaming videos.