In 1611, Sir Thomas Dale established the second English settlement in the Virginia Colony. Dale named the town Henrico in honor of Henry, Prince of Wales. In 1612, Virginia's economy was transformed when John Rolfe introduced a new form of tobacco on his Henrico farm. The tobacco was shipped to England and Virginia began to prosper. In 1614 John Rolfe married Pocahontas, the daughter of Algonquin chief Powhatan. The marriage eased relations between the English and Native Americans for several years. After 11 years Henrico was abandoned after
an attack by the Native Americans who feared the colony's rapid expansion. After counter attacks by the colonists and the withdrawal of Native Americans, the Virginia Colony began to to grow. In 1634 the colony was divided into eight shires, one of which was Henrico. During the Revolutionary War the Henrico militia was called to active duty when British troops under Benedict Arnold occupied Richmond in 1781. After the war, Henrico sent Governor Edmund Randolph and future Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Marshall to the 1788 Constitutional Convention. By the early 19th century most Henricoans made their living by farming or coal mining. The principle source of labor for these industries was slavery. In 1800 Gabriel, a slave on the Brookfield Plantation in Henrico County planned a massive slave
uprising. Gabriel's uprising failed when it was betrayed by slaves at another Henrico plantation, and the state implemented new laws regulating slaves and free blacks. During the Civil War Henrico County saw more battles than any area of the country. Robert E Lee made his reputation as a skilled military commander at the Seven Days Battles in 1862, famed cavalry Jeb Stuart was killed at Yellow Tavern, and African-Americans proved that they fight with valor at the Battle of New Market Heights. After the war, education became an important part of Henrico's reconstruction. In 1886 Elizabeth Holliday opened a public school in Glen Allen, and in 1892 Virginia Randolph opened a school for Henrico's African-Americans. Demand for coal and food products led to an increase in prosperity for the county after World War I. In 1934 Henrico became the first county in Virginia to adopt the county manager form of Government. Today Henrico County is a well planned community of beautiful residential areas, fertile farm lands, and carefully developed business areas.