Virginia's Northern Neck
"The Birthplace of a Nation"
Lying between the Rappahannock and Potomac rivers, the Northern Neck provided fertile land that supported production of tobacco, the first great cash crop of the Virginia colony.
Six counties were formed within the region as the colony evolved: Northumberland (1648), Lancaster (1651), Westmoreland (1653), Stafford (1664), Richmond (1692), and King George (1721). A microcosm of Virginia's complex colonial society and an incubator of Revolutionary leadership, the Northern Neck has been called the "Birthplace of the Nation."
Economic and societal development of the Northern Neck within Virginia and the wider British Empire benefited a white population composed of many small and middling farmers dominated by several elite families who amassed large plantations. This satisfied white society was made possible by the subjugation of indigenous Native Americans and exploitation of enslaved Africans and African Americans during the 17th and 18th centuries. Ironically, this tragic legacy also produced within the Northern Neck leaders who played decisive roles in the American Revolution and the early
In 1766 Westmoreland County native Richard Henry Lee authorized the Leedstown Resolves (also known as the Westmoreland Resolves), the first colonial statement of opposition of the Stamp Act imposed on the American colonies by the British Parliament. Ten years later, in the Second Continental Congress meeting in PHiladelphia, he introduced the resolution that led to adoption of the Declaration of Independence. Richard Henry Lee and his brother Francis Lightfoot Lee were the only brothers among the signers of the Declaration.
Three of the first five US presidents were born in Northern Neck counties—George Washington (Westmoreland, 1732), James Madison (King George, 1751), and James Monroe (Westmoreland, 1758). The three, along with Albemarle County's Thomas Jefferson, comprised the "Virginia Dynasty" that made an indelible impact on the early evolution of the presidency.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Colonial Era • Government & Politics • Native Americans • Political Subdivisions • Settlements & Settlers
Location. 38° 14.527′ N, 76° 59.419′ W. Marker is near Colonial Beach, Virginia, in Westmoreland County. Marker is on James Monroe Highway (Virginia Route 205) north of Old Road, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 4455 James Monroe Hwy, Colonial Beach VA 22443, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Birthplace of James Monroe (here, next to this marker); James Monroe (here, next to this marker); Birthplace of Monroe (here, next to this marker); James Monroe's Virginia Legacy (a few steps from this marker); James Monroe Birthplace (a few steps from this marker); Soldier - Statesman President James Monroe (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Birthright and Beginnings (about 500 feet away); Monroe's Childhood Home (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Colonial Beach.
Credits. This page was last revised on July 5, 2021. It was originally submitted on July 5, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 96 times since then and 49 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on July 5, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.