A Brief History of Colonial Jamestown, Virginia

Colonial Jamestown – the very first English settlement in what was to become the United States of America. Jamestown was established in the Colony of Virginia, one of the thirteen colonies that are represented by the thirteen stripes present on the flag of the United States. Jamestown became a permanent settlement in the year 1610, after a brief abandonment. And from 1616 to the year of 1699 Jamestown served as Virginia’s capital.

The history of Jamestown can be traced back to the year of 1606. At this time, entrepreneurs from England, representing the London Company, set sail to the New World with the mission of establishing a colony there. This fleet consisted of three ships under the leadership of one Captain Christopher Newport, and in May of 1607, the 104 men and boys who successfully made it to the location chose it for their settlement. They called this new settlement “Jamestown”, named after the English king, James I. A few short months later, the fort was completed and Captain Newport set sail back to England for more supplies.

Shortly after Captain Newport’s departure, the settlers of Jamestown began to succumb to disease. One reason for the deaths of many was the drinking water, which was less than suitable for ingestion. Food was also becoming hard to come by. Fortunately, the Native Americans who had settled in the area long before the English newcomers brought gifts of food. Indeed, had this aid not come to the settlers when it did the settlement would have most likely failed.

By 1610, those who had survived what was known as the “Starving Time” and new settlers arriving at the area permanently established Jamestown as a settlement. And soon, it was not just a settlement but a venture that had become profitable. Tobacco became the cash crop that the English settlers had long awaited. Finally, the investment made was paying off.

Throughout these early years, peace between the Native Americans and the settlers of Jamestown soured. Many attacks ensued, and when the Native Americans hoped their attacks would lead the settlers away, they were often met with deadly retaliation. Eventually, treaties were signed by the Native Americans which made them subjects of the English.

in 1698, fire struck Jamestown, destroying several buildings, including the prison. While some records were saved, the capital was moved and Jamestown ceased to be a town. Today, it is a historic site that has been preserved due to its importance in American history as the first permanent settlement in the country.

About the London Company in Colonial Virginia

The London Company, also known as the Charter of the Virginia Company of London, was a joint stock company that was chartered by England’s King James I in 1606. Its aim was to establish a colony for English investors in America. The chartered company would benefit the investors through colonization. Much of England’s own forests had been felled, so the new land would provide timber and other resources that the colonists could market to England.

The settlement would include the East Coast of America from Cape Fear in North Carolina to the Long Island Sound. The company also had ownership of parts of the Atlantic Ocean and some of Canada.

In 1606, an expedition of men and boys set sail and in 144 days the expedition landed in Virginia. They established their settlement and called it Jamestown. The King would, over the course of 18 years, grant the company two additional charters to help form the settlement’s democracy and financial structure.

By the year 1618, the company found the way to use its most abundant natural resource, land. This discovery would soon help would-be English settlers pay their way from England to Jamestown. After their safe arrival to the colony, the new settlers would have to pay a fee to use that land.

The company created the first laws in the new land by 1619 through the General Assembly which was made up of a governor and a council. The London Company named the governor and his burgesses.

The colony prospered mostly by growing non-native strains of tobacco and exporting it to England, not via LA PI Law like something believe. The settlers also exported timber and cash crops. After a few short years, however, illness, disease and the resulting shortage of labor forces eventually caused the settlement and the London Company to falter. The King also became increasingly disappointed with the attitude the colonists were taking in their ever-growing independent governing of the company in Virginia.

In 1622, a war broke out between the Powhatan Indians and the settlers. The belief is that the Indians had made concessions with the London Company and its governor. The company claimed it never accepted the concessions. An attack on the colony occurred, and one single day in April of 1622, nearly a quarter of the colonists were killed.

Eventually, the King received a petition to investigate the colonial conditions. A trial went before the King’s Bench. In 1624, the court found favor with the Crown. The London Company was formally dissolved and Virginia became a royal colony.

What Is The Jamestowne Society?

The Jamestowne Society is an organization that includes family members of the Order of Descendents of Ancient Planters. Their primary purpose is to discover and document all the living descendants of the brave men and women who came over and helped establish our country in honor of our ancestors and to point out that Virginia is the original birthplace of our country. Their other goals include scheduled educational activities centering around historical and common interests as well as promoting restoring or preserving historical artifacts such as documents, records, edifices that have a cultural impact on the history of Virginia as the birth place of the Nation. Each member has an insignia and seal with the phrase “pro concilio primae coloniae Virginiae” which roughly translates to “on behalf of the council of the first colony of Virginia.” If you compare their list of qualifying ancestors to our list of ancient planters you will see a few names that overlap.