Henricus Fort and Indian Village

The recreated 1611 Citie of Henricus, an outdoor living history museum with 12 recreated colonial structures, demonstrates history through “hands-on” encounters with period dressed historical interpreters. Visitors interact with interpreters during which time visitors may be asked to assist with cooking, blacksmithing, planting or harvesting. Visitors may even be asked to join the Militia!

This new English settlement would be called “The Commonwealth of Henrico” or “Henricus” in honor of the eldest son of King James I, Prince Henry. The recreated English settlement represents various military, trades, and farming elements of Henricus during the early colonial period from 1611-1622.

Henricus Historical Park also interprets the culture of the Arrohateck people of the Powhatan Indian chiefdom at the time of contact with the English colonists who arrived in September 1611 under the leadership of Sir Thomas Dale. In the Indian village, the visitor may see the crafting of a canoe, or the cultivation of corn and tobacco on the approach to the fortified Powhatan Indian village where visitors may then enter several Indian dwellings known as “long-houses” or “yehakins”. The village illustrates the daily life of the local Indians and demonstrates how these people thrived at the time of contact with the English.

Be ready for an exciting and provocative experience in living history!

Henricus Colledge

The Virginia Company began to develop the first university in English North America near Henricus in 1619. The Colledge of Henricus, as it was known, offered a place of higher learning for both colonists and Native Americans.

The company provided instructions specifying that 10,000 acres be set aside for the university. Later, an additional 1,000 acres was reserved for a college to provide religious instruction to the natives in order to “civilize” them. The land set aside was on the north side of the river and extended from the falls down to the area adjacent to Henricus.

Enthusiasm for the project developed quickly in England. Donations consisting primarily of altar cloths, books and communion silver were collected for the college. In Jamestown, members of the first session of the Virginia Assembly in 1619 voiced their support for the school, where they requested workmen be sent to the colony to begin construction of the college.

Unfortunately, the workmen sent to Virginia were hardly the “well-provisioned and armed tenants” promised by the company. They were typical of early colonists sent to the New World and unprepared for life on their own in the wilderness.

The Colledge of Henricus was a casualty of the Indian uprising of 1622. Seventeen men were killed on college lands. Survivors fled to the Jamestown settlement for safety. The Company in London later sent a directive to Virginia ordering work resume on the college. Though several attempts were made to follow this directive, public support in Virginia was lacking and attempts ultimately failed.

Thus, the first permanent university in Virginia became the College of William and Mary, established by royal charter in 1693. It might be said that it fulfilled the high hopes of the Virginia Company and of the earlier settlers at Henricus.

Visitor's Center & Gift Shop

Whether you are looking for period reproductions or gifts for family and friends, our recently remodeled Henricus Gift Shop is a great place to shop. With hundreds of delightful items, you can find that “perfect something” for even the most challenging people on your gift list. Stop in soon to find something new and exciting for your home or office. Our collection includes:

  • Early American colonial children’s games and toys
  • Made in Henricus and made in Virginia
  • Native American, colonial and Civil War collectibles
  • An extensive selection of hard-to-find books on local history and figures