Encyclopedia Virginia: Environment and Climate http://www.encyclopediavirginia.org http://www.encyclopediavirginia.org/img/EV_Logo_sm.gif Encyclopedia Virginia This is the url http://www.encyclopediavirginia.org The first and ultimate online reference work about the Commonwealth /Paleoindian_Period Wed, 05 Oct 2016 12:04:45 EST Paleoindian Period (16,000–8000 BC) http://www.encyclopediavirginia.org/Paleoindian_Period The Paleoindian Period (16,000–8000 BC) came toward the end of the Ice Age, a time when the climate warmed and the largest mammals became extinct. Likely having originally migrated from Asia, the first people in Virginia were hunter-gatherers who left behind lithic, or stone, tools, often spearheads. At the Cactus Hill Archaeological Site in Sussex County, these date back to 16,000 BC, or well before the better-known Clovis culture. The so-called Paleoamericans likely banded together in groups of thirty to fifty and located themselves near high-quality stone resources, especially in Dinwiddie and Mecklenburg counties. While keeping a base camp, they may have established smaller settlements for more specialized tasks such as tool-making and hunting. The bands probably lacked central leadership, moved often, and traded with one another. Based on the religious practices of the later Virginia Indians, they likely were animists, investing various natural forces with spiritual power.
Wed, 05 Oct 2016 12:04:45 EST]]>
/Weather_During_the_Civil_War Tue, 27 Oct 2015 15:21:20 EST <![CDATA[Weather during the Civil War]]> http://www.encyclopediavirginia.org/Weather_During_the_Civil_War Weather was influential in shaping events during the American Civil War (1861–1865). For instance, concerns about weather helped determine overall strategy as well as tactics on the battlefield. Generals looked to the skies to decide when to begin spring campaigns, cursed at flooded rivers for impeding progress, and pushed their men to endure the extremes of the Southern climate. Weather also colored the war experience for soldiers and civilians. Becoming a veteran soldier meant being seasoned by the weather as much as being transformed by combat. Meanwhile, men and women in Virginia and across the nation religiously recorded meteorological events in diaries, letters, and newspapers, knowing how decisive this force of nature, so completely beyond human control, could be on wartime events.
Tue, 27 Oct 2015 15:21:20 EST]]>
/Little_Ice_Age_and_Colonial_Virginia_The Thu, 21 Aug 2014 17:35:21 EST <![CDATA[Little Ice Age and Colonial Virginia, The]]> http://www.encyclopediavirginia.org/Little_Ice_Age_and_Colonial_Virginia_The The Little Ice Age was a climatic period, lasting from about 1300 to 1750, when worldwide temperatures cooled slightly, leading to extreme weather that, in turn, affected the colonizing ventures of Europeans in America. Before their arrival, Europeans assumed America's climate would match that of lands situated along the same lines of latitude elsewhere. Instead, the New World was both hotter and colder than they expected. And as a result of the Little Ice Age, the weather was marked by wet springs that led to flooding, hot summers that led to long droughts, and particularly cold winters. Scientists disagree over the causes of the Little Ice Age, although an environmental scientist at the University of Virginia has pointed the finger at human activity. Regardless, scientists agree that the effect on weather was pronounced. In January 1607, a massive flood struck southwestern England even as the Thames River was frozen over. Both the areas around Roanoke and Jamestown were suffering from millennial droughts when the colonists arrived demanding food from local Indian populations. The resulting scarcity of food contributed to disease and conflict, both of which ended the venture at Roanoke and threatened the survival of Jamestown.
Thu, 21 Aug 2014 17:35:21 EST]]>
/Starving_Time_The Fri, 30 May 2014 17:45:33 EST <![CDATA[Starving Time, The]]> http://www.encyclopediavirginia.org/Starving_Time_The The Starving Time refers to the winter of 1609–1610 when about three-quarters of the English colonists in Virginia died of starvation or starvation-related diseases. In his unpublished account A Trewe Relacyon, George Percy, who served as president during these grim months, wrote that Englishmen felt "the sharpe pricke of hunger which noe man trewly descrybe butt he which hathe tasted the bitternesse thereof." Already for two years, the Jamestown colonists had died at alarming rates, mostly of summertime diseases. In 1609, the beginning of the First Anglo-Powhatan War (1609–1614) prompted the Indians to lay siege to the English fort, helping to provoke the famine. Settlers were forced to eat snakes, vipers, rats, mice, musk turtles, cats, dogs, horses, and perhaps even raptors. In addition, multiple gruesome stories suggest, and archaeological evidence has partially corroborated, that settlers devoured each other. The siege lifted in May 1610, and when the survivors of the Sea Venture wreck arrived in Virginia, they found just 60 gaunt remnants of the 240 people who had crowded the fort the previous November. Many observers argued that the colonists' idleness—their persistent refusal to work for their food—contributed to the famine. It is likely, though, that malnutrition and despair worked together to create symptoms that imitated laziness. In the end, Virginia survived, but just barely.
Fri, 30 May 2014 17:45:33 EST]]>
/Early_Archaic_Period Fri, 30 May 2014 13:32:31 EST <![CDATA[Early Archaic Period]]> http://www.encyclopediavirginia.org/Early_Archaic_Period Fri, 30 May 2014 13:32:31 EST]]> /Diet_in_Early_Virginia_Indian_Society Fri, 30 May 2014 13:13:25 EST <![CDATA[Diet in Early Virginia Indian Society]]> http://www.encyclopediavirginia.org/Diet_in_Early_Virginia_Indian_Society Diet in early Virginia Indian society changed significantly from the Ice Age to the English colonists' landing at Jamestown in 1607, from initially relying more on meat to over time increasingly combining wild game, fish, nuts, and berries. The Indians' eating patterns were shaped by the seasons, and for the Powhatans there were five, not four. In the early and mid-spring (cattapeuk), they ate migrating fish and planted crops. From late in the spring until mid-summer (cohattayough), they split their time between the towns, where they weeded the fields, and the forests, where they foraged. Late summer (nepinough) was harvest time, and the autumn and early winter (taquitock) the occasion for feasts and religious rituals. This marked a second time in the year when the Indians abandoned their towns, this time for communal hunts. Meats were prepared and stored for the late winter and early spring (popanow), when shortages made life difficult and even dangerous. "They be all of them huge eaters," the colonist William Strachey observed of the Powhatans, but the Indians also lived intensely physical lives, requiring a large number of calories. Their metabolisms, meanwhile, were slow enough to store nutrients and then, during shortages, use them slowly while the people remained active. The colonist John Smith described the Powhatans as living "hand to mouth," but they were often better fed than the colonists with a diet that was low in fat, sugar, and salt, and high in protein and fiber.
Fri, 30 May 2014 13:13:25 EST]]>
/Kepone Fri, 16 May 2014 11:19:19 EST <![CDATA[Kepone (Chlordecone)]]> http://www.encyclopediavirginia.org/Kepone Kepone, also known as chlordecone, is a toxic, nonbiodegradable insecticide that a chemical plant in Hopewell, Virginia dumped into the James River from 1966 until 1975. The chemical's negative effect on the environment was documented and eventually publicized, leading authorities to shut down the Allied Chemical Corporation plant that produced Kepone and to order fishing bans and advisories. The environmental and medical scandal was one of the first of its kind to play out nationally, and while it eventually led to the destruction of the Virginia fishing industry, it also led to improved environmental awareness.
Fri, 16 May 2014 11:19:19 EST]]>
/Shenandoah_National_Park Wed, 18 Jan 2012 15:53:16 EST <![CDATA[Shenandoah National Park]]> http://www.encyclopediavirginia.org/Shenandoah_National_Park Shenandoah National Park in the northern Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia was created in 1926 to preserve an area of natural beauty and provide recreational opportunities for the people in the surrounding region. Long populated by Siouan- and Iroquoian-speaking Indians, the area was first opened for settlement by whites early in the eighteenth century. When the National Park Service expressed an interest in a park in the Appalachian Mountains, a group of Virginia businessmen, in league with then-state senator Harry F. Byrd Sr., championed a "skyline" drive through the Blue Ridge. Byrd's fund-raising and administrative skills proved to be crucial to the project, especially in the wake of dwindling federal support during the Great Depression. The 160,000-acre park (which has since grown to almost 200,000 acres) was dedicated in 1936 and the Skyline Drive completed in 1939.
Wed, 18 Jan 2012 15:53:16 EST]]>
/Rye_Cove_Cyclone Tue, 23 Nov 2010 12:52:06 EST <![CDATA[Rye Cove Cyclone]]> http://www.encyclopediavirginia.org/Rye_Cove_Cyclone The Rye Cove Cyclone is the deadliest tornado in Virginia history. Part of an unusual outbreak of tornadoes across the eastern United States on May 2, 1929, it hit the Rye Cove School in the Appalachian highlands of Scott County in the southwestern part of the state, killing twelve students and one teacher and injuring fifty-four. Tornadoes also hit two school houses in Bath County later that day, but both schools had already dismissed students for the day. Scott County native A. P. Carter, of the singing group the Carter Family, volunteered to help in the wake of the tragedy, and the group recorded "The Cyclone of Rye Cove" later that year. The school's 1929–1930 term was canceled, and a memorial school dedicated in 1930.
Tue, 23 Nov 2010 12:52:06 EST]]>
/Hurricane_Camille_August_1969 Thu, 09 Sep 2010 13:00:10 EST <![CDATA[Hurricane Camille (August 1969)]]> http://www.encyclopediavirginia.org/Hurricane_Camille_August_1969 Hurricane Camille arrived in Virginia on the night of August 19, 1969, one of only three category five storms ever to make landfall in the United States since record-keeping began. One of the worst natural disasters in Virginia's history, the storm produced what meteorologists at the time guessed might be the most rainfall "theoretically possible." As it swept through Virginia overnight, it seemed to catch authorities by surprise. Communication networks were not in place or were knocked out, leaving floods and landslides to trap residents as they slept. Hurricane Camille cost Virginia 113 lives lost and $116 million in damages. It also served as a lesson that inland flooding could be as great a danger as coastal flooding during a hurricane.
Thu, 09 Sep 2010 13:00:10 EST]]>
/Modern_Environmental_History_of_Virginia Thu, 08 Jan 2009 14:13:24 EST <![CDATA[Modern Environmental History of Virginia]]> http://www.encyclopediavirginia.org/Modern_Environmental_History_of_Virginia Virginia's modern history has been shaped by and has in turn shaped its nonhuman natural environment. In one way, nature has been a historical actor changing Virginia: the state's climate, geology, waterways, fisheries, wildlife population, flora and fauna, and soil content have provided the conditions for economic, cultural, and recreational possibilities across the state. In another way, Virginians have acted to change land-use patterns, increase waste flows into rivers and other habitats, and intensify demands for energy, putting increased pressure on the environment during the twentieth century. By century's end, new transportation and energy-producing technologies, more scientific knowledge about interrelated ecosystems, and an accompanying shift in values about environmental features led Virginians to perceive their environments in ways differing significantly from their nineteenth-century predecessors. Moreover, the state's modern history serves as a representative example of the complex intermingling between culture and nature in America's environmental history.
Thu, 08 Jan 2009 14:13:24 EST]]>