Colonial Settlement

Yorktown, named for the ancient city of York in Yorkshire, England, was founded in 1691 as a port on the York River for English colonists to export tobacco to Europe and for a time was the Colonies’ largest port. In 1629, the Virginia Council issued an order calling for the settlement of the south bank of the Charles (now York) River. The following year, Governor Sir John Harvey was given a land patent of 752 acres at Wormley Creek establishing Yorke Village.  Although the exact size and population of Yorke Village is not known, history clearly indicates that during a major portion of the 1600’s it served as the social, municipal, and religious center of the portion of the York River area.  The docks of course quickly became the commercial heart of the area. And, the area now considered to be the Village of Yorktown flourished and expanded.  Originally called “York” after it’s British namesake, the name “Yorktown” came into common use until after the American Revolutionary War.