Werowocomoco: A Powhatan Place of Power
What is Werowocomoco?
Werowocomoco is an archeological site, the location of an important Indigenous town on the shores of what is now known as the York River. Evidence of human use of the area dates back some 6,000 to 8,000 years. The town itself - a place where people built homes, planted crops, and raised families - began to develop around the year 1200 AD. Archeological evidence suggests that Werowocomoco was not an ordinary town. In fact, Werowocomoco means “place of leadership" when translated from the Virginia Algonquian language. This was a place of politics, ceremony, and trade for the peoples of Tidewater Virginia, a region known as Tsenacomoco in Virginia Algonquian.
What happened to Werowocomoco?
In 1609, Powhatan and his people relocated westward to the town of Orapax, near present-day Richmond, Virginia. This was a strategic move, made as Powhatan increased his efforts to push back against English encroachment. While nobody remained at Werowocomoco permanently, it is possible that the town's citizens returned periodically for brief visits. In the coming decades, the site was leased by colonists and eventually lost its association as a Native place.
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Last updated: December 11, 2023