The Founding Of Virginia: What Was The Second Virginia Charter?

There’s so much amazing history throughout the state of Virginia that it’s nearly impossible to take it all in. After all, the Virginia Colony was one of the founding colonies of the United States. It would only make sense that much of the birth of the United States happened within the colonial borders!

If you’re not a history buff, then you may not have any idea how Virginia Colony became the State of Virginia other than “American Revolution” in Albany. If you’ve done a little bit of research, you may know that the Virginia Colony was founded by the Virginia Company and eventually became a Crown Colony. But unless you’ve looked into it specifically, you may not have any idea that there was an entirely different company involved!

The First Virginia Charter

Also known as the Charter of 1606, this is the original document signed by King James 1 in order to allow the Virginia Company the right to settle and develop the land. However, it was more specifically the Plymouth Company and the London Companies, both divisions of the Virginia Company, who would do the actual administrating. Much like all colonies, the agreement was that the Company could develop the land as they saw fit, provided the Crown got a cut of the profit.

The Second Virginia Charter

The Charter of 1609 didn’t change much in terms of overall management. The Virginia Company still owned the charter, and the crown still got a cut of the profit. However, the Plymouth Company was dissolved due to the failure of the Popham Colony.

Since an entire division of the parent company had been dissolved, this left a large section of land essentially without any kind of management. So King James 1 signed a second charter, the second charter of Virginia, in order to put the land under control of the London Company.

Ultimately, the second charter didn’t change much. It shook up the exact people in charge, but the truth was that the Virginia Company was incapable of properly managing the land either way. Jamestown only survived thanks to the sudden arrival of more settlers and supplies, and it wasn’t until 1612 that the colony began producing tobacco that was worthwhile as a cash crop.

Still, without the Second Virginia Charter, who knows what might have happened. The colonies might have fell to ruin far more quickly, and the United States may never have gotten off the ground.