Wyatt, Sir Francis

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Sir Francis Wyatt, 1588–1644, English colonial governor of Virginia. Married to a niece of Sir Edwin Sandys of the London Company, he went to Virginia as governor in 1621, taking with him the first written constitution for an English colony. In 1622 he had to face a disastrous attack by Native Americans that took the lives of some 350 settlers. Virginia became a royal colony in 1624, but Wyatt, at the crown's request, stayed on as governor until 1626, when Sir George Yeardley, whom he had succeeded, resumed the office. He was governor again from 1639 until 1642, when he was replaced by Sir William Berkeley.