What was the Virginia Company of London?

There was an attempt by Sir Walter Raleigh, back in the 1580s, to position an English colony in what is now North Carolina. This settlement, referred to historically as The Lost Colony, did not last very long and succeeded in making the English crown leery of trying to attempt this once more. By 1606, what was called the Virginia Company of London was granted a charter from King James I, something that would become a joint stock company. People could buy shares in this company, each of which was promised the possibility of profitability. As you will see, this did not work out well either, but it did lay the foundation for what would become the United States of America.

The Virginia Company’s¬†Initial Arrival In America

In 1606 in the month of December, three ships set sail with a total of 144 men and boys. These settlers arrived half a year later at Jamestown Island. It was here they built a fort in order to protect themselves, and they were also focused on making money for stockholders. They did not find gems or gold, but they realized that they could manufacture many things that could be profitable. This would include wine, beer, tar, pitch, and could even manufacture glass. However, despite these grandiose ideas, their main concern was surviving.

Subsequent Ships Arrive At The Colony

Additional ships began to arrive, and during this time, there was significant strife. The settlers realized they were not merely colonists but they were employees of the Virginia Company of London. They were required to perform tasks, all of which were designed to contribute to the profitability of this venture. Different ways of governing came and went, and problems began to get worse in the form of poor food and water supplies, sickness, and assaults by the Native Americans. Hundreds of additional colonists arrived, only to find themselves in the same exact situation. Debts began to amass, and this business venture in the New World, was continuing to fail.

Finally, amidst all of the infighting, and the inability to make a profit on anything except tobacco, made this business venture by the Virginia Company of London an absolute failure. A combination of mismanagement by the administration, and factionalism among the colonists, created a very unstable situation. However, this move to colonize America pave the way for what would become the United States of America 150 years later, thereby making this failed business venture very meaningful.