This paper documents the biogeochemistry configuration of the Energy Exascale Earth System Model (E3SM), E3SMv1.1‐BGC. The model simulates historical carbon cycle dynamics, including carbon losses predicted in response to land use and land cover change, and the responses of the carbon cycle to changes in climate. In addition, we introduce several innovations in the treatment of soil nutrient limitation mechanisms, including explicit dependence on phosphorus availability. The suite of simulations described here includes E3SM contributions to the Coupled Climate‐Carbon Cycle Model Intercomparison Project and other projects, as well as simulations to explore the impacts of structural uncertainty in representations of nitrogen and phosphorus limitation. We describe the model spin‐up and evaluation procedures, provide an overview of results from the simulation campaign, and highlight key features of the simulations. Cumulative warming over the twentieth century is similar to observations, with a midcentury cold bias offset by stronger warming in recent decades. Ocean biomass production and carbon uptake are underpredicted, likely due to biases in ocean transport leading to widespread anoxia and undersupply of nutrients to surface waters. The inclusion of nutrient limitations in the land biogeochemistry results in weaker carbon fertilization and carbon‐climate feedbacks than exhibited by other Earth System Models that exclude those limitations. Finally, we compare with an alternative representation of terrestrial biogeochemistry, which differs in structure and in initialization of soil phosphorus. While both configurations agree well with observational benchmarks, they differ significantly in their distribution of carbon among different pools and in the strength of nutrient limitations.