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.