Jamestown Settled - History

Jamestown Settled - History

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King James I of England granted the London Company a charter to settle the southern part of English North America. 144 men embarked on three ships to settle on the James River. The settlers endured many trials, but Jamestown became the first permanent English settlement in North America.

The British Monarchy did not have enough money to organize settlement activity in North America. Instead, they assigned that role to independent companies that raised money from merchants to accomplish this goal. King James gave the charter to settle the area around Virginia Company of London More on the Companies

On December 20, 1606 the settlers set sail to America to establish a new colony. In late April 1607, they arrived off the coast of Virginia. They sailed up the James River, 50 miles and established a new settlement which they called Jamestown.
More on the Voyage

The settlers built a fortified settlement and planted crops. They established initial friendly relations with the Native Americans. Soon, however, many of the colonists became sick from disease. The colonists did not plant enough crops and many of the colonists died of hunger over the first winter. More on Settlers
Captain John Smith took control of the colony, after the first disastrous winter. He immediately made changes that put all the men to work, and put the settlement on a good footing. Smith was captured by local native Americans, but was saved by Pocahontas, the favorite daughter of the Indian chief. Pocahontas helped establish good relations between the Natives and settlers More on Smith. Smith's Account
Smith was forced to return to England after being injured. The winter following his departure was the worst winter in the short history of the colony. It became known as "the starving time". Starving Time
The colony was saved and prospered due to the actions of John Rolfe. Rolfe instituted a new strain of tobacco that was soon exported by the colony in ever growing quantities. Rolfe also married Pocohontas, the daughter of the Indian chief, thus ensuring peace between the settlers and the Native Americans. More on Tobacco and Pocohontas

The Tragic True Story Of The Jamestown Settlement

When it comes to the "discovery" of America, the storybook narrative you learned in elementary school is way off the mark. It's hard to dispute the arrogance — and hostility — of European powers laying claim to land that had been occupied by indigenous cultures for centuries, and real-life colonization definitely wasn't a fanciful tale of Pilgrims, Thanksgiving dinner tables, and handshake agreements: It was a brutal, bloody time where people like Christopher Columbus committed monstrously genocidal actions, wars broke out every decade, and disease was widespread. Ugly stuff.

Over a century after Columbus, though, and years before the Pilgrims sailed to Massachusetts in search of religious freedom, the story of the USA truly began with a rough little colony named Jamestown, Virginia, which would go down in history as the first successful English settlement of the New World. If you think camping in the woods is rugged, well . Jamestown's first settlers had to contend with harsh weather, fatal sickness, and starvation so bad that they (literally) started cannibalizing each other's dead bodies. Clearly, the true story of Jamestown wasn't anything like Disney's Pocahontas.


Spain, Portugal, and France moved quickly to establish a presence in the New World, while other European countries moved more slowly. The English did not attempt to found colonies until many decades after the explorations of John Cabot, and early efforts were failures—most notably the Roanoke Colony which vanished about 1590.

1607–1609: Arrival and beginning

Late in 1606, English colonists set sail with a charter from the London Company to establish a colony in the New World. The fleet consisted of the ships Susan Constant, Discovery, and Godspeed, all under the leadership of Captain Christopher Newport. They made a particularly long voyage of four months, including a stop in the Canary Islands, [17] [18] in Spain, and subsequently Puerto Rico, and finally departed for the American mainland on April 10, 1607. The expedition made landfall on April 26, 1607, at a place which they named Cape Henry. Under orders to select a more secure location, they set about exploring what is now Hampton Roads and an outlet to the Chesapeake Bay which they named the James River in honor of King James I of England. [19] Captain Edward Maria Wingfield was elected president of the governing council on April 25, 1607. On May 14, he selected a piece of land on a large peninsula some 40 miles (64 km) inland from the Atlantic Ocean as a prime location for a fortified settlement. The river channel was a defensible strategic point due to a curve in the river, and it was close to the land, making it navigable and offering enough land for piers or wharves to be built in the future. [20] Perhaps the most favorable fact about the location was that it was uninhabited because the leaders of the nearby indigenous nations [21] considered the site too poor and remote for agriculture. [22] The island was swampy and isolated, and it offered limited space, was plagued by mosquitoes, and afforded only brackish tidal river water unsuitable for drinking.

The Jamestown settlers arrived in Virginia during a severe drought, according to a research study conducted by the Jamestown Archaeological Assessment (JAA) team in the 1990s. The JAA analyzed information from a study conducted in 1985 by David Stahle and others, who obtained drawings of 800-year-old bald cypress trees along the Nottoway and Blackwater rivers. The lifespan of these trees is up to 1,000 years and their rings offer a good indication of an area's annual amount of rainfall. The borings revealed that the worst drought in 700 years occurred between 1606 and 1612. This severe drought affected the Jamestown colonists and Powhatan tribe's ability to produce food and obtain a safe supply of water. [23]

The settlers also arrived too late in the year to get crops planted. [24] Many in the group were either gentlemen unused to work or their manservants, both equally unaccustomed to the hard labor demanded by the harsh task of carving out a viable colony. [24] One of these was Robert Hunt, a former vicar of Reculver, England who celebrated the first known Anglican Eucharist in the territory of the future United States on June 21, 1607. [25]

Two-thirds of the settlers died before ships arrived in 1608 with supplies and German and Polish craftsmen, [26] [27] [28] who helped to establish the first manufactories in the colony. As a result, glassware became the foremost American products to be exported to Europe at the time. Clapboard had already been sent back to England beginning with the first returning ship.

The delivery of supplies in 1608 on the First and Second Supply missions of Captain Newport had also added to the number of hungry settlers. It seemed certain at that time that the colony at Jamestown would meet the same fate as earlier English attempts to settle in North America, specifically the Roanoke Colony (Lost Colony) and the Popham Colony, unless there was a major relief effort. The Germans who arrived with the Second Supply and a few others defected to the Powhatans, with weapons and equipment. [7] [8] The Germans even planned to join a rumored Spanish attack on the colony and urged the Powhatans to join it. [30] The Spanish were driven off by the timely arrival in July 1609 of Captain Samuel Argall in Mary and John, a larger ship than the Spanish reconnaissance ship La Asunción de Cristo. [31] Argall's voyage also prevented the Spanish from gaining knowledge of the weakness of the colony. Don Pedro de Zúñiga, the Spanish ambassador to England, was desperately seeking this (in addition to spies) in order to get Philip III of Spain to authorise an attack on the colony. [32]

The investors of the Virginia Company of London expected to reap rewards from their speculative investments. With the Second Supply, they expressed their frustrations and made demands upon the leaders of Jamestown in written form. They specifically demanded that the colonists send commodities sufficient to pay the cost of the voyage, a lump of gold, assurance that they had found the South Sea, and one member of the lost Roanoke Colony. It fell to the third president of the Council Captain John Smith to deliver a bold and much-needed wake-up call in response to the investors in London, demanding practical laborers and craftsmen who could help make the colony more self-sufficient. [33]

1609–1610: Starving Time and Third Supply

After Smith was forced to return to England due to an explosion which gave him deep burn wounds during a trading expedition, [34] the colony was led by George Percy, who proved incompetent in negotiating with the native tribes. There are indications that those in London comprehended and embraced Smith's message. The Third Supply mission of 1609 was to be by far the largest and best equipped. They also had a new purpose-built flagship, Sea Venture, constructed, and placed in the most experienced of hands, Christopher Newport.

On June 2, 1609, Sea Venture set sail from Plymouth as the flagship of a seven-ship fleet (towing two additional pinnaces) destined for Jamestown, Virginia as part of the Third Supply, carrying 214 settlers. [35] On July 24, the fleet ran into a strong storm, likely a hurricane, and the ships were separated. Although some of the ships did make it to Jamestown, the leaders, and most of the supplies had been aboard Sea Venture, which fought the storm for three days before Admiral of the Company, Sir George Somers, deliberately drove it onto the reefs of Bermuda to prevent its foundering. This allowed all aboard to be landed safely. [36]

The survivors (including Lieutenant-General Sir Thomas Gates, Captain Christopher Newport, Sylvester Jordain, Stephen Hopkins, later of Mayflower, and secretary William Strachey) were stranded on Bermuda for approximately nine months. During that time, they built two new ships, the pinnaces Deliverance and Patience. The original plan was to build only one vessel, Deliverance, but it soon became evident that it would not be large enough to carry the settlers and all of the food (salted pork) that was being sourced on the islands. [37]

While the Third Supply was stranded in Bermuda, the colony at Jamestown was in even worse shape. In the "Starving Time" of 1609–1610, the Jamestown settlers faced rampant starvation for want of additional provisions. During this time, lack of food drove people to eat snakes and even boil the leather from shoes for sustenance. [38] Only 60 of the original 214 settlers at Jamestown survived. [35] There is scientific evidence that the settlers at Jamestown had turned to cannibalism during the starving time. [39] [40] [41]

The ships from Bermuda arrived in Jamestown on May 23, 1610. [42] [43] [44] Many of the surviving colonists were near death, and Jamestown was judged to be unviable. Everyone was boarded onto Deliverance and Patience, which set sail for England. However, on June 10, 1610, the timely arrival of another relief fleet, bearing Governor Thomas West, 3rd Baron De La Warr (who would eventually give his name to the colony of Delaware), which met the two ships as they descended the James River, granted Jamestown a reprieve. The Colonists called this The Day of Providence. The fleet brought not only supplies, but also additional settlers. [45] All the settlers returned to the colony, though there was still a critical shortage of food.

Relations between the colonists and the Powhatans quickly deteriorated after De La Warr's arrival, eventually leading to conflict. The Anglo-Powhatan War lasted until Samuel Argall captured Wahunsenacawh's daughter Matoaka, better known by her nickname Pocahontas, after which the chief accepted a treaty of peace.

1610–1624: Rising fortunes

Due to the aristocratic backgrounds of many of the new colonists, a historic drought and the communal nature of their work load, progress through the first few years was inconsistent at best. By 1613, six years after Jamestown's founding, the organizers and shareholders of the Virginia Company were desperate to increase the efficiency and profitability of the struggling colony. Without stockholder consent the Governor, Sir Thomas Dale, assigned 3-acre (12,000 m 2 ) plots to its "ancient planters" and smaller plots to the settlement's later arrivals. Measurable economic progress was made, and the settlers began expanding their planting to land belonging to local native tribes. That this turnaround coincided with the end of a drought that had begun the year before the English settlers' arrival probably indicates multiple factors were involved besides the colonists' ineptitude. [46]

Among the colonists who survived the Third Supply was John Rolfe, who carried with him a cache of untested new tobacco seeds from Bermuda, which had grown wild there after being planted by shipwrecked Spaniards years before. [47] In 1614, Rolfe began to successfully harvest tobacco. [48] Prosperous and wealthy, he married Pocahontas, daughter of Chief Powhatan, bringing several years of peace between the English and natives. [49] However, at the end of a public relations trip to England, Pocahontas became sick and died on March 21, 1617. [50] The following year, her father also died. Powhatan's brother, a fierce warrior named Opchanacanough, became head of the Powhatan Confederacy. As the English continued to appropriate more land for tobacco farming, relations with the natives worsened.

Due to the high cost of the trans-Atlantic voyage at this time, many English settlers came to Jamestown as indentured servants: in exchange for the passage, room, board, and the promise of land or money, these immigrants would agree to work for three to seven years. Immigrants from continental Europe, mainly Germans, were usually redemptioners—they purchased some portion of their voyage on credit and, upon arrival, borrowed or entered into a work contract to pay the remainder of their voyage costs. [51]

In 1619, the first representative assembly in America, the General Assembly, convened in the Jamestown Church, "to establish one equal and uniform government over all Virginia" which would provide "just laws for the happy guiding and governing of the people there inhabiting," Initially, only men of English origin were permitted to vote. On June 30, 1619, in what was the first recorded strike in Colonial America, the Polish artisans protested and refused to work if not allowed to vote ("No Vote, No Work"). [52] [4] [53] On July 21, 1619, the court granted the Poles equal voting rights. [54] Afterwards, the labor strike (the first "in [North] American history") [4] was ended and the artisans resumed their work. [53] [55] [56] [57] Individual land ownership was also instituted, and the colony was divided into four large "boroughs" or "incorporations" called "citties" by the colonists. Jamestown was located in James Cittie.

Of the first documented African slaves to arrive in English North America, on the frigate White Lion in August 1619, [11] were an African man and woman, later named Antoney and Isabella. Their baby, named William Tucker, would become the first documented African child baptized in British North America. Listed in the 1624 census in Virginia, they became the first African family recorded in Jamestown. [58] Another of the early enslaved Africans to be purchased at the settlement was Angela, who worked for Captain William Peirce. [59]

After several years of strained coexistence, Chief Opchanacanough and his Powhatan Confederacy attempted to eliminate the English colony once and for all. On the morning of March 22, 1622, they attacked outlying plantations and communities up and down the James River in what became known as the Indian Massacre of 1622. More than 300 settlers were killed in the attack, about a third of the colony's English-speaking population. [46] Sir Thomas Dale's development at Henricus, which was to feature a college to educate the natives, and Wolstenholme Towne at Martin's Hundred, were both essentially wiped out. Jamestown was spared only through a timely warning by a Virginia Indian employee. There was not enough time to spread the word to the outposts.

Of the 6,000 people who came to the settlement between 1608 and 1624, only 3,400 survived. [46]

1624–1699: Later years

In 1624, King James revoked the Virginia Company's charter, and Virginia became a royal colony. Despite the setbacks, the colony continued to grow. Ten years later, in 1634, by order of King Charles I, the colony was divided into the original eight shires of Virginia (or counties), in a fashion similar to that practiced in England. Jamestown was now located in James City Shire, soon renamed the "County of James City", better known in modern times as James City County, Virginia, the nation's oldest county.

Another large-scale "Indian attack" occurred in 1644. In 1646, Opchanacanough was captured and while in custody an English guard shot him in the back—against orders—and killed him. Subsequently, the Powhatan Confederacy began to decline. Opechancanough's successor signed the first peace treaties between the Powhatan Indians and the English. The treaties required the Powhatan to pay yearly tribute payment to the English and confined them to reservations. [60]

A generation later, during Bacon's Rebellion in 1676, Jamestown was burned, eventually to be rebuilt. During its recovery, the Virginia legislature met first at Governor William Berkeley's nearby Green Spring Plantation, and later at Middle Plantation, which had been started in 1632 as a fortified community inland on the Virginia Peninsula, about 8 miles (13 km) distant. [61]

When the statehouse burned again in 1698, this time accidentally, the legislature again temporarily relocated to Middle Plantation, and was able to meet in the new facilities of the College of William and Mary, which had been established after receiving a royal charter in 1693. Rather than rebuilding at Jamestown again, the capital of the colony was moved permanently to Middle Plantation in 1699. The town was soon renamed Williamsburg, to honor the reigning monarch, King William III. A new Capitol building and "Governor's Palace" were erected there in the following years. This was a dramatic change that spelled the decline and doomed the town.

Due to the movement of the capital to Williamsburg, the old town of Jamestown began to slowly disappear from view. Those who lived in the general area attended services at Jamestown's church until the 1750s, when it was abandoned. By the mid-18th century, the land was heavily cultivated, primarily by the Travis and Ambler families.

During the American Revolutionary War, although the Battle of Green Spring was fought nearby at the site of former Governor Berkeley's plantation, Jamestown was apparently inconsequential. In 1831, David Bullock purchased Jamestown from the Travis and Ambler families.

American Civil War

During the American Civil War, in 1861, Confederate William Allen, who owned the Jamestown Island, occupied Jamestown with troops he raised at his own expense with the intention of blockading the James River and Richmond from the Union Navy. [62] He was soon joined by Lieutenant Catesby ap Roger Jones, who directed the building of batteries and conducted ordnance and armor tests for the first Confederate ironclad warship, CSS Virginia, which was under construction at the Gosport Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth in late 1861 and early 1862. [62] Jamestown had a peak force of 1,200 men. [62]

During the Peninsula Campaign, which began later that spring, Union forces under General George B. McClellan moved up the Peninsula from Fort Monroe in an attempt to capture the Confederate capital of Richmond. [62] The Union forces captured Yorktown in April 1862, and the Battle of Williamsburg was fought the following month. [62] With these developments, Jamestown and the lower James River were abandoned by the Confederates. [62] Some of the forces from Jamestown, and the crew of Virginia, relocated to Drewry's Bluff, a fortified and strategic position high above the river about 8 miles (13 km) below Richmond. There, they successfully blocked the Union Navy from reaching the Confederate capital.

Once in Federal hands, Jamestown became a meeting place for runaway slaves, who burned the Ambler house, an eighteenth-century plantation house, which along with the old church was one of the few remaining signs of old Jamestown. [62] When Allen sent men to assess the damage in late 1862, they were killed by the former slaves. [62] Following the Confederate surrender at Appomattox Courthouse, the oath of allegiance was administered to former Confederate soldiers at Jamestown. [62]

Preservation and early archaeology

In the years after the Civil War, Jamestown became quiet and peaceful once again. In 1892, Jamestown was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Edward Barney. The following year, the Barneys donated 22½ acres of land, including the ruined church tower, to the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities (now known as Preservation Virginia).

By this time, erosion from the river had eaten away the island's western shore. Visitors began to conclude that the site of James Fort lay completely underwater. With federal assistance, a sea wall was constructed in 1900 to protect the area from further erosion. The archaeological remains of the original 1607 fort, which had been protected by the sea wall, were not discovered until 1996.

In 1932, George Craghead Gregory of Richmond was credited with discovering the foundation of the first brick statehouse (capitol) building, circa 1646, at Jamestown on the land owned by Preservation Virginia. [63] Around 1936, Gregory, who was active with the Virginia Historical Society, founded the Jamestowne Society for descendants of stockholders in the Virginia Company of London and the descendants of those who owned land or who had domiciles in Jamestown or on Jamestown Island prior to 1700. [64]

Colonial National Monument was authorized by the U.S. Congress on July 3, 1930 and established on December 30, 1930. In 1934, the National Park Service obtained the remaining 1,500 acres (610 hectares) portion of Jamestown Island which had been under private ownership by the Vermillion family. The National Park Service partnered with Preservation Virginia to preserve the area and present it to visitors in an educational manner. On June 5, 1936, the national monument was re-designated a national historical park, and became known as Colonial National Historical Park.

From 1936 J.C. "Pinky" Harrington worked on the NPS's excavations at Jamestown. In 1954 John L. Cotter took charge of field projects at Jamestown, conducted with the site's 350th anniversary (1957) in mind. Cotter worked with Edward B. Jelks and Harrington to survey the area's colonial sites. In 1957 Cotter and J. Paul Hudson co-authored New Discoveries at Jamestown. Cotter contributed, along with Jelks, Georg Neumann, and Johnny Hack, to the 1958 report Archaeological Excavations at Jamestown. [65]

In the present time, as part of the Colonial National Historical Park, the Jamestown Island area is home to two heritage tourism sites related to the original fort and town. Nearby, the Jamestown-Scotland Ferry [66] service provides a link across the navigable portion of the James River for vehicles and affords passengers a view of Jamestown Island from the river.

Historic Jamestowne

Historic Jamestowne, located at the original site of Jamestown, is administered by Preservation Virginia and the National Park Service. The central 22½ acres of land, where the archaeological remains of the original James Fort were found, are owned by Preservation Virginia (formerly known as the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities) the remaining 1,500 acres (6.1 km 2 ) are held by the National Park Service and is part of the Colonial National Historical Park.

The site gained renewed importance when in 1996 the Jamestown Rediscovery project began excavations in search of the original James Fort site, originally in preparation for the quadricentennial of Jamestown's founding. The primary goal of the archaeological campaign was to locate archaeological remains of "the first years of settlement at Jamestown, especially of the earliest fortified town [and the] subsequent growth and development of the town". [67]

Today, visitors to Historic Jamestowne can view the site of the original 1607 James Fort, the 17th-century church tower and the site of the 17th-century town, as well as tour an archaeological museum called the Archaearium and view many of the close to two million artifacts found by Jamestown Rediscovery. They also may participate in living history ranger tours and Archaeological tours given by the Jamestown Rediscovery staff. Visitors can also often observe archaeologists from the Jamestown Rediscovery Project at work, as archaeological work at the site continues. As of 2014 [update] , the archaeological work and studies are ongoing. [68] In addition to their newsletter and website, new discoveries are frequently reported in the local newspaper, the Virginia Gazette based in nearby Williamsburg, and by other news media, often worldwide. [69]

Jamestown Settlement

Jamestown Settlement is a living-history park and museum located 1.25 miles (2.01 km) from the original location of the colony and adjacent to Jamestown Island. Initially created for the celebration of the 350th anniversary in 1957, Jamestown Settlement is operated by the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, and largely sponsored by the Commonwealth of Virginia. The museum complex features a reconstruction of a Powhatan village, the James Fort as it was c. 1610 –1614, and seagoing replicas of the three ships that brought the first settlers, Susan Constant, Godspeed, Discovery.

With the national independence of the United States established by the end of the 18th century, Jamestown came to be looked at as a starting point. Its founding in 1607 has been regularly commemorated, with the most notable events being held every fifty years.

200th anniversary (1807)

The bicentennial of Jamestown on May 13–14, 1807, was called the Grand National Jubilee. [70] Over 3,000 people attended the event, many arriving on vessels which anchored in the river off the island. [70]

May 13 was the opening day of the festival, which began with a procession which marched to the graveyard of the old church, where the attending bishop delivered the prayer. [70] The procession then moved to the Travis mansion, where the celebrants dined and danced in the mansion that evening. [70] Also during the festivities, students of the College of William and Mary gave orations. An old barn on the island was used as a temporary theater, where a company of players from Norfolk performed. [70] Attending were many dignitaries, politicians, and historians. The celebration concluded on May 14 with a dinner and toast at the Raleigh Tavern in Williamsburg. [70]

250th anniversary (1857)

In 1857, the Jamestown society organized a celebration marking the 250th anniversary of Jamestown's founding. [70] According to the Richmond Enquirer, the site for the celebration was on 10 acres (40,000 m 2 ) on the spot where some of the colonists' houses were originally built. [70] However, it is also speculated that the celebration was moved further east on the island closer to the Travis grave site, in order to avoid damaging Major William Allen's corn fields. [70]

The attendance was estimated at between 6,000 and 8,000 people. [70] Sixteen large steam ships anchored offshore in the James River and were gaily decorated with streamers. [70] Former US President John Tyler of nearby Sherwood Forest Plantation gave a 2½ hour speech, and there were military displays, a grand ball and fireworks. [70]

300th anniversary (1907): Jamestown Exposition

The 100th anniversary of the Surrender at Yorktown in 1781 had generated a new interest in the historical significance of the colonial sites of the Peninsula. Williamsburg, a sleepy but populated town of shops and homes, was still celebrating Civil War events. However, as the new century dawned, thoughts turned to the upcoming 300th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown. The Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities (now known as Preservation Virginia) started the movement in 1900 by calling for a celebration honoring the establishment of the first permanent English colony in the New World at Jamestown to be held on the 300th anniversary in 1907. [71]

As a celebration was planned, virtually no one thought that the actual isolated and long-abandoned original site of Jamestown would be suitable for a major event because Jamestown Island had no facilities for large crowds. The original fort housing the Jamestown settlers was believed to have been long ago swallowed by the James River. The general area in James City County near Jamestown was also considered unsuitable, as it was not very accessible in the day of rail travel before automobiles were common.

As the tricentennial of the 1607 Founding of the Jamestown neared, around 1904, despite an assumption in some quarters that Richmond would be a logical location, leaders in Norfolk began a campaign to have a celebration held there. The decision was made to locate the international exposition on a mile-long frontage at Sewell's Point near the mouth of Hampton Roads. This was about 30 miles (48 km) downstream from Jamestown in a rural section of Norfolk County. It was a site which could become accessible by both long-distance passenger railroads and local streetcar service, with considerable frontage on the harbor of Hampton Roads. This latter feature proved ideal for the naval delegations which came from points all around the world.

The Jamestown Exposition of 1907 was one of the many world's fairs and expositions that were popular in the early part of the 20th century. Held from April 26, 1907 to December 1, 1907, attendees included US President Theodore Roosevelt, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, the Prince of Sweden, Mark Twain, Henry H. Rogers, and dozens of other dignitaries and famous persons. A major naval review featuring the United States' Great White Fleet was a key feature. U.S. Military officials and leaders were impressed by the location, and the Exposition site later formed the first portion of the large U.S. Naval Station Norfolk in 1918 during World War I. [72] [71] [73]

350th Anniversary (1957): Jamestown Festival

With America's increased access to automobiles, and with improved roads and transportation, it was feasible for the 350th anniversary celebration to be held at Jamestown itself in 1957. Although erosion had cut off the land bridge between Jamestown Island and the mainland, the isthmus was restored and new access provided by the completion of the National Park Service's Colonial Parkway which led to Williamsburg and Yorktown, the other two portions of Colonial Virginia's Historic Triangle. There were also improvements of state highways. The north landing for the popular Jamestown Ferry and a portion of State Route 31 were relocated. [70]

Major projects such were developed by non-profit, state and federal agencies. Jamestown Festival Park was established by the Commonwealth of Virginia adjacent to the entrance to Jamestown Island. Full-sized replicas of the three ships that brought the colonists, Susan Constant, Godspeed, and Discovery were constructed at a shipyard in Portsmouth, Virginia and placed on display at a new dock at Jamestown, where the largest, Susan Constant, could be boarded by visitors. On Jamestown Island, the reconstructed Jamestown Glasshouse, the Memorial Cross and the visitors center were completed and dedicated. [70] A loop road was built around the island.

Special events included army and navy reviews, air force fly-overs, ship and aircraft christenings and even an outdoor drama at Cape Henry, site of the first landing of the settlers. [70] This celebration continued from April 1 to November 30 with over a million participants, including dignitaries and politicians such as the British Ambassador and U.S. Vice President Richard Nixon. [70] The highlight for many of the nearly 25,000 at the Festival Park on October 16, 1957 was the visit and speech of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and her consort, Prince Philip. [70] Queen Elizabeth II loaned a copy of the Magna Carta for the exhibition. It was her first visit to the United States since assuming the throne.

The 1957 Jamestown Festival was so successful that tourists still kept coming long after the official event was completed. Jamestown became a permanent attraction of the Historic Triangle, and has been visited by families, school groups, tours, and thousands of other people continuously ever since.

400th anniversary: Jamestown 2007

Early in the 21st century, new accommodations, transportation facilities and attractions were planned in preparation for the quadricentennial of the founding of Jamestown. Numerous events were promoted under the banner of America's 400th Anniversary and promoted by the Jamestown 2007 Commission. The commemoration included 18 months of statewide, national and international festivities and events, which began in April 2006 with a tour of the new replica Godspeed.

In January 2007, the Virginia General Assembly held a session at Jamestown. On May 4, 2007, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and Prince Philip attended a ceremony commemorating the 400th anniversary of the settlement's arrivals, reprising the honor they paid in 1957. [74]

In addition to the Virginia State Quarter, Jamestown was also the subject of two United States commemorative coins celebrating the 400th anniversary of its settlement. A silver dollar and a gold five dollar coin were issued in 2007.

2019 Commemoration

In 2019 Jamestown, in cooperation with Williamsburg, will hold a commemoration that marks the 400th anniversary of three landmark events in American history: the first meeting of the General Assembly, the arrival of the first Africans to English North America, and the first Thanksgiving. [75] [76]


The settlers arrived on three ships, the Susan Constant, the Godspeed, and the Discovery.

  • Jeremy Alicock, Gentleman, (d. August 14, 1607)
  • Captain Gabriell Archer, Gentleman, died Winter 1609-1610
  • John Asbie, (d. August 6, 1607)
  • Robert Behethland, Gentleman, (d. 1689)
  • Benjamin Best, Gentleman, (d. September 5, 1607)
  • Thomas Bragg, Teenaged Deckhand to Christopher Newport
  • George Bragg, Teenaged Deckhand to Christopher Newport
  • Edward Brinto, Mason, Soldier
  • James Brumfield, Boy
  • Edward Brookes, Gentleman, (d. April 7, 1607)
  • John Brookes, Gentleman
  • Edward Browne, Gentleman, (d. August 15, 1607)
  • William Bruster, Gentleman, (d. August 10, 1607)
  • John Capper, Carpenter
  • George Cassen, Labourer, (d. December 1607)
  • Thomas Cassen, Labourer
  • William Cassen, Labourer
  • Ustis Clovill, Gentleman, (alternate Eustice) (d. June 7, 1607)
  • Samuell Collier, Boy, (d. 1622)
  • Roger Cooke, Gentleman
  • Thomas Couper, Barber
  • Richard Crofts, Gentleman
  • Richard Dixon, Gentleman
  • John Dods, Labourer, Soldier
  • Ould Edward, Labourer
  • Thomas Emry, Carpenter, (d. December 1607)
  • Robert Fenton, Gentleman
  • George Flowre, Gentleman, (d. August 9, 1607)
  • Robert Ford, Gentleman
  • Richard Frith, Gentleman
  • Stephen Galthrope (or Halthrop), Gentleman, (d. August 15, 1607)
  • William Garret, Bricklayer
  • George Golding, Labourer
  • Thomas Gore, Gentleman, (d. August 16, 1607)
  • Anthony Gosnold, Gentleman, (d. January 7, 1609)
  • Captain Bartholomew Gosnold, Captain of the Godspeed, Council Member, (d. August 22, 1607)
  • Edward Harrington, Gentleman (d. August 24, 1607)
  • John Herd, Bricklayer
  • Nicholas Houlgrave, Gentleman
  • Master Robert Hunt, Preacher, (d. before 1609)
  • Thomas Jacob, Sergeant, (d. September 4, 1607)
  • William Johnson, Labourer
  • Captain George Kendall, Council Member, (d. December 1, 1607)
  • Ellis Kingston (or Kiniston), Gentleman, (d. September 18, 1607)
  • John Laydon, Carpenter
  • William Laxon, Carpenter
  • William Love, Tailor, Soldier
  • John Martin, Jr, Gentleman, (d. August 18, 1607)
  • Captain John Martin, Sr, Gentleman, Council Member (d. June 1632)
  • George Martin, Gentleman
  • Francis Midwinter, Gentleman, (d. August 14, 1607)
  • Edward Morish (Morris), Gentleman, Corporal, (d. August 14, 1607)
  • Matthew Morton, Sailor
  • Thomas Mounslie, Laborer,(d. August 17, 1607)
  • Thomas Mouton, Gentleman,(d. September 19, 1607)
  • Richard Mutton, Boy
  • Nathaniel Peacock, Boy
  • Penington, Robert - Gentleman, (d. August 18, 1607)
  • Master George Percy, Gentleman,(d. 1632)
  • Dru Pickhouse, Gentleman,(d. August 19, 1607)
  • Edward Pising, Carpenter
  • Nathaniel Powell, Gentleman (d. March 22, 1622)
  • Jonas Profit, Sailor, Fisherman
  • Captain John Ratliffe, Captain of the Discovery, Council Member, (d. November 1609)
  • James Read, Blacksmith, Soldier, (d. March 13, 1622)
  • John Robinson, Gentleman, (d. December 1607)
  • William Rods, Labourer, (d. August 27, 1607)
  • Thomas Sands, Gentleman
  • Edward Short, Labourer, (d. August 1607)
  • John Short, Gentleman
  • Richard Simons, Gentleman, (d. September 18, 1607)
  • Nicholas Scot (or Skot), Drummer
  • Robert Small, Carpenter
  • Captain John Smith, Council Member, (d. June 1631)
  • William Smethes, Gentleman
  • Francis Snarsbrough, Gentleman
  • John Stevenson, Gentleman
  • Thomas Studley, Gentleman, (d. August 28, 1607)
  • William Tanker, Gentleman
  • Henry Tavin, Labourer
  • Kellam Throgmorton, Gentleman, (d. August 26, 1607)
  • Anas Todkill, Carpenter, Soldier
  • William Unger, Labourer
  • George Walker, Gentleman
  • Thomas Walker, listed under "Virginia, Compiled Census and Census Substitutes Index, 1607-1890"
  • John Waller (or Waler), Gentleman, (d. August 24, 1607)
  • Thomas Webbe, Gentleman
  • William White, Laborer
  • William Wilkinson, Surgeon
  • Master Edward Maria Wingfield, Captain of the Susan Constant, Council President, (d. 1631) , Surgeon, (d. April 28, 1638)

Mariners and others known to have been with the expedition.

Browne, Oliver - Mariner Clarke, Charles - Mariner Collson (or Cotson), John - Mariner Crookdeck, John - Mariner Deale, Jeremy - Mariner Fitch, Mathew - Mariner - died July 1609 Genoway, Richard - Mariner Godword, Thomas - Mariner Jackson, Robert - Mariner Markham, Robert - Mariner Nelson, Francys - Captain - died Winter 1612-1613 Poole, Jonas - Mariner - died 1612 Skynner, Thomas - Mariner Turnbrydge (or Turbridge), Thomas - Mariner Newport, Christopher - Captain, Councilor - died 1617 Tyndall, Robert - Mariner, Gunner White, Benjamyn - Mariner Danynell Stephen

Jamestown Settlement

The story of the people who founded Jamestown and of the Virginia Native Americans they encountered is told through film, gallery exhibits and living history at Jamestown Settlement. Outdoors, visitors can board replicas of the three ships that sailed from England to Virginia in 1607, explore life-size re-creations of the colonists&apos fort and a Powhatan village, and tour a riverfront discovery area to learn about European, Powhatan and African economic activities associated with water.


The London Company sent an expedition to establish a settlement in the Virginia Colony in December 1606. The expedition consisted of three ships, Susan Constant (the largest ship, sometimes known as Sarah Constant, Christopher Newport captain and in command of the group), Godspeed (Bartholomew Gosnold captain), and Discovery (the smallest ship, John Ratcliffe captain). The ships left Blackwall, now part of London, with 105 men and boys and 39 crew-members. [1] [2]

By April 6, 1607, Godspeed, Susan Constant, and Discovery arrived at the Spanish colony of Puerto Rico, where they stopped for provisions before continuing their journey. In April 1607, the expedition reached the southern edge of the mouth of what is now known as Chesapeake Bay. After an unusually long journey of more than four months, the 104 men and boys (one passenger of the original 105 died during the journey) arrived at their chosen settlement spot in Virginia. [3] There were no women on the first ships. [4]

Arriving at the entrance to Chesapeake Bay in late April, they named the Virginia capes after the sons of their king, the southern Cape Henry, for Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales, and the northern Cape Charles, for his younger brother, Charles, Duke of York. On April 26, 1607, upon landing at Cape Henry, they set up a cross near the site of the current Cape Henry Memorial and Chaplain Robert Hunt made the following declaration:

We do hereby dedicate this Land, and ourselves, to reach the People within these shores with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to raise up Godly generations after us, and with these generations take the Kingdom of God to all the earth. May this Covenant of Dedication remain to all generations, as long as this earth remains. May all who see this Cross, remember what we have done here, and may those who come here to inhabit join us in this Covenant and in this most noble work that the Holy Scriptures may be fulfilled.

This site came to be known as the "first landing." A party of the men explored the area and had a minor conflict with some Virginia Indians. [5]

After the expedition arrived in what is now Virginia, sealed orders from the Virginia Company of London were opened. These orders named Captain John Smith as a member of the governing Council. Smith had been arrested for mutiny during the voyage and was incarcerated aboard one of the ships. He had been scheduled to be hanged upon arrival, but was freed by Captain Newport after the opening of the orders. The same orders also directed the expedition to seek an inland site for their settlement, which would afford protection from enemy ships.

Obedient to their orders, the settlers and crewmembers re-boarded their three ships and proceeded into Chesapeake Bay. They landed again at what is now called Old Point Comfort in the City of Hampton. In the following days, seeking a suitable location for their settlement, the ships ventured upstream along the James River. Both the James River and the settlement they sought to establish, Jamestown (originally called "James His Towne") were named in honor of King James I.

The selection of Jamestown Edit

On May 14, 1607, the colonists chose Jamestown Island for their settlement largely because the Virginia Company advised them to select a location that could be easily defended from attacks by other European states that were also establishing New World colonies and were periodically at war with England, notably the Dutch Republic, France, and Spain.

The island fit the criteria as it had excellent visibility up and down the James River, and it was far enough inland to minimize the potential of contact and conflict with enemy ships. The water immediately adjacent to the land was deep enough to permit the colonists to anchor their ships, yet have an easy and quick departure if necessary. An additional benefit of the site was that the land was not occupied by the Virginia Indians, most of whom were affiliated with the Powhatan Confederacy. Largely cut off from the mainland, the shallow harbor afforded the earliest settlers docking of their ships. This was its greatest attraction, but it also created a number of challenging problems for the settlers.

Original Council Edit

King James I had outlined the members of the council to govern the settlement in the sealed orders which left London with the colonists in 1606. [6]

Those named for the initial Council were:

    , Captain of Godspeed , Captain of Susan Constant, later of Sea Venture , later executed by capital punishment in Jamestown , later founder of Martin's Brandon Plantation , twice president of the council , Captain of Discovery, second President of the Council , third President of the council, and author of many books from the period , first President of the Council at Jamestown

Construction of the fort Edit

The settlers came ashore and quickly set about constructing their initial fort. Many of the settlers who came over on the initial three ships were not well-equipped for the life they found in Jamestown. A number of the original settlers were upper-class gentlemen who were not accustomed to manual labor the group included very few farmers or skilled laborers. [7] Also notable among the first settlers was Robert Hunt, chaplain who gave the first Christian prayer at Cape Henry on April 26, 1607, and held open-air services at Jamestown until a church was built there.

Despite the immediate area of Jamestown being uninhabited, the settlers were attacked less than two weeks after their arrival on May 14, by Paspahegh Indians who succeeded in killing one of the settlers and wounding eleven more. Within a month, James Fort covered an acre on Jamestown Island. By June 15, the settlers finished building the triangular James Fort. The wooden palisaded walls formed a triangle around a storehouse, church, and a number of houses. A week later, Newport sailed back for London on Susan Constant with a load of pyrite ("fools' gold") and other supposedly precious minerals, leaving behind 104 colonists and Discovery.

It soon became apparent why the Virginia Indians did not occupy the site: Jamestown Island, then a peninsula, is a swampy area, and its isolation from the mainland meant that there was limited hunting available, as most game animals required larger foraging areas. The settlers quickly hunted and killed off all the large and smaller game animals that were found on the tiny peninsula. In addition, the low, marshy area was infested with airborne pests, including mosquitoes, which carried malaria, and the brackish water of the tidal James River was not a good source of water. Over 135 settlers died from malaria, and drinking the salinated and contaminated water caused more deaths from saltwater poisoning, fevers, and dysentery. Despite their original intentions to grow food and trade with the Virginia Indians, the barely surviving colonists became dependent upon supply missions.

First Supply Edit

Newport returned twice from England with additional supplies in the following 18 months, leading what were termed the First and Second Supply missions. The "First Supply" arrived on January 2, 1608. It contained insufficient provisions and more than 70 new colonists. [8] Shortly after its arrival, the fort burned down. [9] The council received additional members from

Second Supply Edit

On October 1, 1608, 70 new settlers arrived aboard the English "Mary and Margaret" with the Second Supply, following a journey of approximately three months. Included in the Second Supply were Thomas Graves, Thomas Forrest, Esq and "Mistress Forrest and Anne Burras her maide." Mistress Forrest and Anne Burras were the first two women known to have come to the Jamestown Colony. Remains unearthed at Jamestown in 1997 may be those of Mistress Forrest. [10]

Also included were the first non-English settlers. The company recruited these as skilled craftsmen and industry specialists: soap-ash, glass, lumber milling (wainscot, clapboard, and 'deal' — planks, especially soft wood planks) and naval stores (pitch, turpentine, and tar). [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] Among these additional settlers were eight "Dutch-men" (consisting of unnamed craftsmen and three who were probably the wood-mill-men — Adam, Franz and Samuel) "Dutch-men" (probably meaning German or German-speakers), [17] Polish and Slovak craftsmen, [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] who had been hired by the Virginia Company of London's leaders to help develop and manufacture profitable export products. There has been debate about the nationality of the specific craftsmen, and both the Germans and Poles claim the glassmaker for one of their own, but the evidence is insufficient. [18] Ethnicity is further complicated by the fact that the German minority in Royal Prussia lived under Polish control during this period. Originally, the colony's Polish craftsmen were barred from participating in the elections, but after the craftsmen refused to work, colonial leadership agreed to enfranchise them. [19] These workers staged the first recorded strike in Colonial America for the right to vote in the colony's 1619 election.

William Volday/Wilhelm Waldi, a Swiss German mineral prospector, was also among those who arrived in 1608. His mission was seeking a silver reservoir that was believed to be within the proximity of Jamestown. [20] Some of the settlers were artisans who built a glass furnace which became the first proto-factory in British North America. Additional craftsmen produced soap, pitch, and wood building supplies. Among all of these were the first made-in-America products to be exported to Europe. [21] However, despite all these efforts, profits from exports were not sufficient to meet the expenses and expectations of the investors back in England, and no silver or gold had been discovered, as earlier hoped.

Smith's role Edit

In the months before becoming president of the colony for a year in September 1608, Captain John Smith did considerable exploration up the Chesapeake Bay and along the various rivers. He is credited by legend with naming Stingray Point (near present-day Deltaville in Middlesex County) for an incident there. Smith was always seeking a supply of food for the colonists, and he successfully traded for food with the Nansemond Indians, who lived along the Nansemond River in the modern-day City of Suffolk, and several other groups. However, while leading one food-gathering expedition in December 1607 (before his term as colony president), this time up the Chickahominy River west of Jamestown, his men were set upon by the Powhatan. As his party was being slaughtered around him, Smith strapped his Native guide in front of him as a shield and escaped with his life but was captured by Opechancanough, the Powhatan chief's half-brother. Smith gave him a compass which pleased the warrior and made him decide to let Smith live.

Smith was taken before Wahunsunacock, who was commonly referred to as Chief Powhatan, at the Powhatan Confederacy's seat of government at Werowocomoco on the York River. However, 17 years later, in 1624, Smith first related that when the chief decided to execute him, this course of action was stopped by the pleas of Chief Powhatan's young daughter, Pocahontas, who was originally named "Matoaka" but whose nickname meant "Playful Mischief". Many historians today find this account dubious, especially as it was omitted in all his previous versions. Smith returned to Jamestown just in time for the First Supply, in January 1608.

In September 1609, Smith was wounded in an accident. He was walking with his gun in the river, and the powder was in a pouch on his belt. His powder bag exploded. In October, he was sent back to England for medical treatment. While back in England, Smith wrote A True Relation and The Proceedings of the English Colony of Virginia about his experiences in Jamestown. These books, whose accuracy has been questioned by some historians due to some extent by Smith's boastful prose, were to generate public interest and new investment for the colony.

Virginia Company of London's unrealistic expectations Edit

The investors of the Virginia Company of London expected to reap rewards from their speculative investments. With the Second Supply, they expressed their frustrations and made demands upon the leaders of Jamestown in written form. It fell to the third president of the council to deliver a reply. By this time, Wingfield and Ratcliffe had been replaced by John Smith. Ever bold, Smith delivered what must have been a wake-up call to the investors in London. In what has been termed "Smith's Rude Answer", he composed a letter, writing (in part):

When you send again I entreat you rather send but thirty Carpenters, husbandmen, gardiners, fishermen, blacksmiths, masons and diggers up of trees, roots, well provided than a thousand of such awe have: for except wee be able both to lodge them and feed them, the most will consume with want of necessaries before they can be made good for anything. [6]

Smith did begin his letter with something of an apology, saying "I humbly intreat your Pardons if I offend you with my rude Answer. ", [22] although at the time, the word 'rude' was acknowledged to mean 'unfinished' or 'rural', in the same way modern English uses 'rustic'. There are strong indications that those in London comprehended and embraced Smith's message. Their Third Supply mission was by far the largest and best equipped. They even had a new purpose-built flagship constructed, Sea Venture, placed in the most experienced of hands, Christopher Newport. With a fleet of no fewer than eight ships, the Third Supply, led by Sea Venture, left Plymouth in June, 1609.

On the subject of the Virginia Company, it is notable that, throughout its existence, Sir Edwin Sandys, was a leading force. He, of course, also hoped for profits, but also his goals included a permanent colony which would enlarge English territory, relieve the nation's overpopulation, and expand the market for English goods. He is closely identified with a faction of the company led by Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton. Although profits proved elusive for their investors, the visions for the Colony of Sir Edwin Sandys and the Earl of Southampton were eventually accomplished.

Pocahontas Edit

Fredericksburg, about 65 miles (105 km) from Werowocomoco. She was abducted by Englishmen whose leader was Samuel Argall, and transported about 90 miles (140 km) south to the English settlement at Henricus on the James River. There, Pocahontas converted to Christianity and took the name "Rebecca" under the tutelage of Reverend Alexander Whitaker who had arrived in Jamestown in 1611. She married prominent planter John Rolfe, who had lost his first wife and child in the journey from England several years earlier, which served to greatly improve relations between the Virginia Native Americans and the colonists for several years. However, when she and John Rolfe took their young son Thomas Rolfe on a public relations trip to England to help raise more investment money for the Virginia Company, she became ill and died just as they were leaving to return to Virginia. Her interment was at St George's Church in Gravesend.

What became known as the "Starving Time" in the Virginia Colony occurred during the winter of 1609–10, when only 60 of 500 English colonists survived. [23] [24] [25] The colonists, the first group of whom had originally arrived at Jamestown on May 14, 1607, had never planned to grow all of their own food. Instead, their plans also depended upon trade with the local Virginia Indians to supply them with enough food between the arrival of periodic supply ships from England, upon which they also relied. This period of extreme hardship for the colonists began in 1609 with a drought which caused their already limited farming activities to produce even fewer crops than usual. Then, there were problems with both of their other sources for food.

An unexpected delay occurred during the Virginia Company of London's Third Supply mission from England due to a major hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean. A large portion of the food and supplies had been aboard the new flagship of the Virginia Company, Sea Venture, which became shipwrecked at Bermuda and separated from the other ships, seven of which arrived at the colony with even more new colonists to feed, and few supplies, most of which had been aboard the larger flagship.

The impending hardship was further compounded by the loss of their most skillful leader in dealing with the Powhatan Confederacy in trading for food: Captain John Smith. He became injured in August 1609 in a gunpowder accident, and was forced to return to England for medical attention in October 1609. After Smith left, Chief Powhatan severely curtailed trading with the colonists for food. Instead, the Powhatans used the prospect of trading for corn to betray an expedition led by John Smith's successor, John Ratcliffe. [26] Ratcliffe was lured by the prospect of food, but was kidnapped, tortured, and murdered by the Powhatans. [27] Neither the missing Sea Venture nor any other supply ship arrived as winter set upon the inhabitants of the young colony in late 1609.

Third supply Edit

Sea Venture was the new flagship of the Virginia Company. Leaving England in 1609, and leading this Third Supply to Jamestown as "Vice Admiral" and commanding Sea Venture, Christopher Newport was in charge of a nine-vessel fleet. Aboard the flagship Sea Venture was the Admiral of the company, Sir George Somers, Lieutenant-General Sir Thomas Gates, William Strachey and other notable personages in the early history of English colonization in North America.

While at sea, the fleet encountered a strong storm, perhaps a hurricane, which lasted for three days. Sea Venture and one other ship were separated from the seven other vessels of the fleet. Sea Venture was deliberately driven onto the reefs of Bermuda to prevent her sinking. The 150 passengers and crew members were all landed safely but the ship was now permanently damaged. [28] Sea Venture's longboat was later fitted with a mast and sent to find Virginia but it and its crew were never seen again. The remaining survivors spent nine months on Bermuda building two smaller ships, Deliverance and Patience, from Bermuda cedar and materials salvaged from Sea Venture.

The survivors of the shipwreck of the Third Supply mission's flagship Sea Venture finally arrived at Jamestown the following May 23 in two makeshift ships they had constructed while stranded on Bermuda for nine months. They found the Virginia Colony in ruins and practically abandoned: of 500 settlers who had preceded them to Jamestown, they found fewer than 100 survivors, many of whom were sick or dying. Worse yet, the Bermuda survivors had brought few supplies and only a small amount of food with them, expecting to find a thriving colony at Jamestown.

Thus, even with the arrival of the two small ships from Bermuda under Captain Christopher Newport, they were faced with leaving Jamestown and returning to England. On June 7, 1610, having abandoned the fort and many of their possessions, both groups of survivors (from Jamestown and Bermuda) boarded ships, and they all set sail down the James River toward the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.

Lord De La Warr Edit

During the same period that Sea Venture suffered its misfortune and its survivors were struggling in Bermuda to continue on to Virginia, back in England, the publication of Captain John Smith's books of his adventures in Virginia sparked a resurgence in interest in the colony. This helped lead to the dispatch in early 1610 of additional colonists, more supplies, and a new governor, Thomas West, Baron De La Warr. Fortuitously, on June 9, 1610, De La Warr arrived on the James River just as the settlers had abandoned Jamestown. Intercepting them about 10 miles (16 km) downstream from Jamestown near Mulberry Island (adjacent to present-day Fort Eustis in Newport News), the new governor forced the remaining 90 settlers to return. Deliverance and Patience turned back, and all the settlers were landed again at Jamestown. [29]

With the new supply mission, the new governor brought additional colonists, a doctor, food, and much-needed supplies. He also was of a strong determination that Jamestown and the colony were not to be abandoned. He turned the departing ships around and brought the entire group back to Jamestown. This was certainly not a popular decision at the time with at least some of the group, but Lord Delaware was to prove a new kind of leader for Virginia. Included in those returning to Jamestown was a colonist John Rolfe, whose wife and child had died during the shipwreck of the Sea Venture and the time at Bermuda. A businessman, he had with him some seeds for a new strain of tobacco and also some untried marketing ideas.

Then, Sir George Somers returned to Bermuda with Patience to obtain more food supplies, but he died on the island that summer. His nephew, Matthew Somers, Captain of Patience, took the ship back to Lyme Regis, England instead of Virginia (leaving a third man behind). The Third Charter of the Virginia Company was then extended far enough across the Atlantic to include Bermuda in 1612. (Although a separate company, the Somers Isles Company, would be spun off to administer Bermuda from 1615, the first two successful English colonies would retain close ties for many more generations, as was demonstrated when Virginian general George Washington called upon the people of Bermuda for aid during the American War of Independence). In 1613, Sir Thomas Dale founded the settlement of Bermuda Hundred on the James River, which, a year later, became the first incorporated town in Virginia.

By 1611, a majority of the colonists who had arrived at the Jamestown settlement had died, and its economic value was negligible with no active exports to England and very little internal economic activity. Only financial incentives to investors financing the new colony, including a promise of more land to the west from King James I, kept the project afloat.

First Anglo-Powhatan War Edit

The Anglo-Powhatan Wars were three wars fought between English settlers of the Virginia Colony, and Indians of the Powhatan Confederacy in the early seventeenth century. The First War started in 1610, and ended in a peace settlement in 1614.

Tobacco Edit

In 1610, John Rolfe, whose wife and a child had died in Bermuda during passage in the Third Supply to Virginia, was just one of the settlers who had arrived in Jamestown following the shipwreck of Sea Venture. However, his major contribution is that he was the first man to successfully raise export tobacco in the Colony (although the colonists had begun to make glass artifacts to export immediately after their arrival). The native tobacco raised in Virginia prior to that time, Nicotiana rustica, was not to the liking of the Europeans but Rolfe had brought some seed for Nicotiana tabacum with him from Bermuda.

Although most people "wouldn't touch" the crop, Rolfe was able to make his fortune farming it, successfully exporting beginning in 1612. Soon almost all other colonists followed suit, as windfall profits in tobacco briefly lent Jamestown something like a gold rush atmosphere. Among others, Rolfe quickly became both a wealthy and prominent man. He married the young Virginia Indian woman Pocahontas on April 24, 1614. They lived first across the river from Jamestown, and later at his Varina Farms plantation near Henricus. Their son, Thomas Rolfe, was born in 1615.

Governor Dale, Dale's Code Edit

In 1611, the Virginia Company of London sent Sir Thomas Dale to act as deputy-governor or as high marshall for the Virginia Colony under the authority of Thomas West (Lord Delaware). He arrived at Jamestown on May 19 with three ships, additional men, cattle, and provisions. Finding the conditions unhealthy and greatly in need of improvement, he immediately called for a meeting of the Jamestown Council, and established crews to rebuild Jamestown.

He served as Governor for 3 months in 1611, and again for a two-year period between 1614 and 1616. It was during his administration that the first code of laws of Virginia, nominally in force from 1611 to 1619, was effectively tested. This code, entitled "Articles, Lawes, and Orders Divine, Politique, and Martiall" (popularly known as Dale's Code), was notable for its pitiless severity, and seems to have been prepared in large part by Dale himself.

Henricus Edit

Seeking a better site than Jamestown with the thought of possibly relocating the capital, Thomas Dale sailed up the James River (also named after King James) to the area now known as Chesterfield County. He was apparently impressed with the possibilities of the general area where the Appomattox River joins the James River, until then occupied by the Appomattoc Indians, and there are published references to the name "New Bermudas" although it apparently was never formalized. A short distance further up the James, in 1611, he began the construction of a progressive development at Henricus on and about what was later known as Farrars Island. Henricus was envisioned as possible replacement capital for Jamestown, though it was eventually destroyed during the Indian Massacre of 1622, during which a third of the colonists were killed.

An investor relations trip to England Edit

In 1616, Governor Dale joined John Rolfe and Pocahontas and their young son Thomas as they left their Varina Farms plantation for a public relations mission to England, where Pocahontas was received and treated as a form of visiting royalty by Queen Anne. This stimulated more interest in investments in the Virginia Company, the desired effect. However, as the couple prepared to return to Virginia, Pocahontas died of an illness at Gravesend on March 17, 1617, where she was buried. John Rolfe returned to Virginia alone once again, leaving their son Thomas Rolfe, then a small child, in England to obtain an education. Once back in Virginia, Rolfe married Jane Pierce and continued to improve the quality of his tobacco with the result that by the time of his death in 1622, the Colony was thriving as a producer of tobacco. Orphaned by the age of 8, young Thomas later returned to Virginia, and settled across the James River not far from his parents' farm at Varina, where he married Jane Poythress and they had one daughter, Jane Rolfe, who was born in 1650. Many of the First Families of Virginia trace their lineage through Thomas Rolfe to both Pocahontas and John Rolfe, joining English and Virginia Indian heritage.

Virginia's population grew rapidly from 1618 until 1622, rising from a few hundred to nearly 1,400 people. Wheat was also grown in Virginia starting in 1618.

1619: First representative assembly Edit

The General Assembly, the first elected representative legislature in the New World, met in the choir of the Jamestown Church from July 30 to August 4, 1619. This legislative body continues as today's Virginia General Assembly. [30]

1619: First Africans Edit

In August 1619, "20 and odd Negroes" arrived on the Dutch Man-of-War ship at Point Comfort, several miles south of the Jamestown colony. This is the earliest record of Africans in colonial America. [31] These colonists were freemen and indentured servants. [32] [33] [34] [35] At this time the slave trade between Africa and the English colonies had not yet been established.

Records from 1623 and 1624 listed the African inhabitants of the colony as servants, not slaves. In the case of William Tucker, the first Black person born in the colonies, freedom was his birthright. [36] He was son of "Antony and Isabell", a married couple from Angola who worked as indentured servants for Captain William Tucker whom he was named after. Yet, court records show that at least one African had been declared a slave by 1640 John Punch. He was an indentured servant who ran away along with two White indentured servants and he was sentenced by the governing council to lifelong servitude. This action is what officially marked the institution of slavery in Jamestown and the future United States.

1620: More craftsmen from Germany, Italy and Poland arrive Edit

By 1620, more German settlers from Hamburg, Germany, who were recruited by the Virginia Company set up and operated one of the first sawmills in the region. [37] Among the Germans were several other skilled craftsmen carpenters, and pitch/tar/soap-ash makers, who produced some of the colony's first exports of these products. The Italians included a team of glass makers. [38]

On June 30, 1619 Slovak and Polish artisans conducted the first labor strike (first "in American history" [39] [19] ) for democratic rights ("No Vote, No Work") [39] [40] in Jamestown. [40] [41] [42] [43] and granted the workers equal voting rights on July 21, 1619. [44] Afterwards, the labor strike was ended and the artisans resumed their work. [41] [42] [45] [46]

1621: Arrival of marriageable women Edit

During 1621 fifty-seven unmarried women sailed to Virginia under the auspices of the Virginia Company, who paid for their transport and provided them with a small bundle of clothing and other goods to take with them. A colonist who married one of the women would be responsible for repaying the Virginia Company for his wife's transport and provisions. The women traveled on three ships, The Marmaduke, The Warwick, and The Tyger.

Many of the women were not "maids" but widows. Some others were children, for example Priscilla, the eleven-year-old daughter of Joan and Thomas Palmer on the Tyger. Some were women who were traveling with family or relatives: Ursula Clawson, "kinswoman" of ancient planter Richard Pace, traveled with Pace and his wife on the Marmaduke. There were a total of twelve unmarried women on the Marmaduke, one of whom was Ann Jackson, daughter of William Jackson of London. She joined her brother John Jackson who was already in Virginia, living at Martin's Hundred. Ann was one of nineteen women kidnapped by the Powhatans during the Indian Massacre of 1622 and was not returned until 1628, when the Council ordered her brother John to keep Ann in safety until she returned to England on the first available ship. [47]

Some of the women sent to Virginia did marry. Most disappeared from the records—perhaps killed in the massacre, perhaps dead from other causes, perhaps returned to England. In other words, they shared the fate of most of their fellow colonists. [48]

The relations with the natives took a turn for the worse after the death of Pocahontas in England and the return of John Rolfe and other colonial leaders in May 1617. Disease, poor harvests and the growing demand for tobacco lands caused hostilities to escalate. After Wahunsunacock's death in 1618, his younger brother, Opitchapam, briefly became chief. However, he was soon succeeded by his own younger brother, Opechancanough. Opechancanough was not interested in attempting peaceful coexistence with the English settlers. Instead, he was determined to eradicate the colonists from what he considered to be Indian lands. As a result, another war between the two powers lasted from 1622 to 1632.

Chief Opechancanough organized and led a well-coordinated series of surprise attacks on multiple English settlements along both sides of a 50-mile (80 km) long stretch of the James River which took place early on the morning of March 22, 1622. This event came to be known as the Indian Massacre of 1622, and resulted in the deaths of 347 colonists (including men, women, and children) and the abduction of many others. Some say that this massacre was revenge. [ citation needed ] The Massacre caught most of the Virginia Colony by surprise and virtually wiped out several entire communities, including Henricus and Wolstenholme Town at Martin's Hundred. A letter by Richard Frethorne, written in 1623, reports, "we live in fear of the enemy every hour." [49]

However, Jamestown was spared from destruction due to a Virginia Indian boy named Chanco who, after learning of the planned attacks from his brother, gave warning to colonist Richard Pace, with whom he lived. Pace, after securing himself and his neighbors on the south side of the James River, took a canoe across river to warn Jamestown, which narrowly escaped destruction, although there was no time to warn the other settlements. Apparently, Opechancanough subsequently was unaware of Chanco's actions, as the young man continued to serve as his courier for some time after.

Some historians have noted that, as the settlers of the Virginia Colony were allowed some representative government, and they prospered, King James I was reluctant to lose either power or future financial potential. In any case, in 1624, the Virginia Company lost its charter and Virginia became a crown colony. In 1634, the English Crown created eight shires (i.e. counties) in the colony of Virginia which had a total population of approximately 5,000 inhabitants. James City Shire was established and included Jamestown. Around 1642–43, the name of the James City Shire was changed to James City County.

New Town and palisade Edit

The original Jamestown fort seems to have existed into the middle of the 1620s, but as Jamestown grew into a "New Town" to the east, written references to the original fort disappear. By 1634, a palisade (stockade) was completed across the Virginia Peninsula, which was about 6 miles (9.7 km) wide at that point between Queen's Creek which fed into the York River and Archer's Hope Creek, (since renamed College Creek) which fed into the James River. The new palisade provided some security from attacks by the Virginia Indians for colonists farming and fishing lower on the Peninsula from that point.

Third Anglo-Powhatan War Edit

On April 18, 1644, Opechancanough again tried to force the colonists to abandon the region with another series of coordinated attacks, killing almost 500 colonists. However, this was a much less devastating portion of the growing population than had been the case in the 1622 attacks. Furthermore, the forces of Royal Governor of Virginia William Berkeley captured the old warrior in 1646, [50] variously thought to be between 90 and 100 years old. In October, while a prisoner, Opechancanough was killed by a soldier (shot in the back) assigned to guard him. Opechancanough was succeeded as Weroance (Chief) by Nectowance and then by Totopotomoi and later by his daughter Cockacoeske.

In 1646, the first treaties were signed between the Virginia Indians and the English. The treaties set up reservations, some of the oldest in America, for the surviving Powhatan. It also set up tribute payments for the Virginia Indians to be made yearly to the English. [51] That war resulted in a boundary being defined between the Indians and English lands that could only be crossed for official business with a special pass. This situation would last until 1677 and the Treaty of Middle Plantation, which established Indian reservations following Bacon's Rebellion.

Governor Berkeley, Bacon's Rebellion Edit

Bacon's Rebellion was an armed rebellion in 1676 by Virginia settlers led by Nathaniel Bacon against the rule of Governor William Berkeley. In the 1670s, the governor was serving his second term in that office. Berkeley, now in his seventies, had previously been governor in the 1640s and had experimented with new export crops at his Green Spring Plantation near Jamestown. In the mid-1670s, a young cousin through marriage, Nathaniel Bacon, Jr., arrived in Virginia sent by his father in the hope that he would "mature" under the tutelage of the governor. Although lazy, Bacon was intelligent, and Berkeley provided him with a land grant and a seat on the Virginia Colony council. However, the two became at odds over relationships with the Virginia Indians, which were most strained at the outer frontier points of the colony.

In July 1675, Doeg Indians crossed from Maryland and raided the plantation of Thomas Mathews in the northern portion of the colony along what became the Potomac River, stealing some hogs in order to gain payment for several items Mathews had obtained from the tribe. Mathews pursued them and killed several Doegs, who retaliated by killing Mathews' son and two of his servants, including Robert Hen. A Virginian militia then went to Maryland and besieged the Susquehanaugs (a different tribe) in "retaliation" which led to even more large-scale Indian raids, and a protest from the governor of Maryland colony. Governor Berkeley tried to calm the situation but many of the colonists, particularly the frontiersmen, refused to listen to him and Bacon disregarded a direct order and captured some Appomattoc Indians, who were located many miles south of the site of the initial incident, and almost certainly not involved.

Following the establishment of the Long Assembly in 1676, war was declared on "all hostile Indians" and trade with Indian tribes became regulated, often seen by the colonists to favor friends of Berkeley. Bacon opposed Berkeley and led a group in opposition to the governor. Bacon and his troops set themselves up at Henrico until Berkeley arrived which sent Bacon and his men fleeing upon which Berkeley declared them in rebellion and offered a pardon to any who returned to Jamestown peaceably.

Bacon led numerous raids on Indians friendly to the colonists in an attempt to bring down Berkeley. The governor offered him amnesty but the House of Burgesses refused insisting that Bacon must acknowledge his mistakes. At about the same time, Bacon was actually elected to the House of Burgesses and attended the June 1676 assembly where he was captured, forced to apologize and was then pardoned by Berkeley.

Bacon then demanded a military commission but Berkeley refused. Bacon and his supporters surrounded the statehouse and threatened to start shooting the Burgesses if Berkeley did not acknowledge Bacon as "General of all forces against the Indians". Berkeley eventually acceded, and then left Jamestown. He attempted a coup a month later but was unsuccessful. In September, however, Berkeley was successful and occupied Jamestown. Bacon's forces soon arrived and dug in for a siege, which resulted in Bacon's capturing and burning Jamestown to the ground on September 19, 1676. [52] Bacon died of the flux and lice on October 26, 1676 and his body is believed to have been burned.

Berkeley returned, and hanged William Drummond and the other major leaders of the rebellion (23 in total) at Middle Plantation. With Jamestown unusable due to the burning by Bacon, the Governor convened a session of the General Assembly at his Green Spring Plantation in February, 1677, and another was later held at Middle Plantation. However, upon learning of his actions, King Charles II was reportedly displeased at the degree of retaliation and number of executions, and recalled Berkeley to England. He returned to London where he died in July 1677.

Despite the periodic need to relocate the legislature from Jamestown due to contingencies such as fires, (usually to Middle Plantation), throughout the seventeenth century, Virginians had been reluctant to permanently move the capital from its "ancient and accustomed place." After all, Jamestown had always been Virginia's capital. It had a state house (except when it periodically burned) and a church, and it offered easy access to ships that came up the James River bringing goods from England and taking on tobacco bound for market. [53] However, Jamestown's status had been in some decline. In 1662, Jamestown's status as mandatory port of entry for Virginia had been ended.

On October 20, 1698, the statehouse (capitol building) in Jamestown burned for the fourth time. Once again removing itself to a familiar alternate location, the legislature met at Middle Plantation, this time in the new College Building at the College of William and Mary, which had begun meeting there in temporary quarters in 1694. While meeting there, a group of five students from the college submitted a well-presented and logical proposal to the legislators outlining a plan and good reasons to move the capital permanently to Middle Plantation. The students argued that the change to the high ground at Middle Plantation would escape the dreaded malaria and mosquitoes that had always plagued the swampy, low-lying Jamestown site. The students pointed out that, while not located immediately upon a river, Middle Plantation offered nearby access to not one, but two rivers, via two deep water (6-7' depth) creeks, Queen's Creek leading to the York River, and College Creek (formerly known as Archer's Hope) which led to the James River.

Several prominent individuals like John Page, Thomas Ludwell, Philip Ludwell, and Otho Thorpe had built fine brick homes and created a substantial town at Middle Plantation. And, there was of course, the new College of William and Mary with its fine new brick building. Other advocates of the move included the Reverend Dr. James Blair and the Governor, Sir Francis Nicholson. The proposal to move the capital of Virginia to higher ground (about 12 miles (20 km) away) at Middle Plantation was received favorably by the House of Burgesses. In 1699, the capital of the Virginia Colony was officially relocated there. Soon, the town was renamed Williamsburg, in honor of King William III. Thus, the first phase of Jamestown's history ended.

By the 1750s the land was owned and heavily cultivated, primarily by the Travis and Ambler families. A military post was located on the island during the American Revolutionary War and American and British prisoners were exchanged there. During the American Civil War the island was occupied by Confederate soldiers who built an earth fort near the church as part of the defense system to block the Union advance up the river to Richmond. Little further attention was paid to Virginia until preservation was undertaken in the twenty first century.

History of Jamestown

In June of 1606, King James I granted a charter to a group of London entrepreneurs, the Virginia Company, to establish an English settlement in the Chesapeake region of North America. In December of that year, 104 settlers sailed from London with Company instructions to build a secure settlement, find gold, and seek a water route to the Pacific. The traditional telling of early Jamestown history portrayed those pioneers as ill-suited for the task. But 20 years of archaeological research at the site of James Fort suggests that Captain Bartholomew Gosnold and many of the artisans, craftsmen, and laborers who accompanied the gentlemen leaders made every effort to build a successful colony.

On May 14, 1607, the Virginia Company settlers landed on Jamestown Island to establish an English colony 60 miles from the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. Discovery of the exact location of the first fort indicates its site was in a secure place, where Spanish ships could not fire point blank into the fort. Within days of landing, the colonists were attacked by Powhatan Indians. The newcomers spent the next few weeks working to “beare and plant palisadoes” for a wooden fort. Three contemporary accounts and a sketch of the fort agree that its walls formed a triangle around a storehouse, church, and a number of houses. Bulwarks (raised platforms) for cannons were built at the three corners to defend against a possible Spanish attack.

The Virginia Company tried to intensify the focus on money-making industry with The First Supply to Jamestown. But disease, famine, and sporadic attacks from the neighboring Powhatan Indians took a tremendous toll on the population of the settlement. There were also times when trade with the Powhatan revived the colony with food in exchange for glass beads, copper, and iron implements. Captain John Smith was particularly good at this trade. But his strict leadership made enemies within and without the fort, and a mysterious gunpowder explosion badly injured him and sent him back to England in October 1609. What followed was Jamestown’s darkest hour, the “starving time” winter of 1609-10. About 300 settlers crowded into James Fort when the Indians set up a siege, and only 60 settlers survived to the next spring. The survivors decided to bury the fort’s ordinance and abandon the town. It was only the arrival of the new governor, Lord De La Warr, and his supply ships that brought the colonists back to the fort and set the colony back on its feet. Some years of peace and prosperity followed the 1614 wedding of Pocahontas, the favored daughter of Chief Powhatan, to tobacco grower John Rolfe.

The first representative assembly in English North America convened in the Jamestown church on July 30, 1619. The General Assembly met in response to orders from the Virginia Company “to establish one equal and uniform government over all Virginia” and provide “just laws for the happy guiding and governing of the people there inhabiting.” A few weeks later came the first arrival of Africans to Jamestown, marking the beginning of de facto slavery in the colony.

After Chief Powhatan’s death, his brother took leadership of the Indians of eastern Virginia and, in 1622, ordered a surprise attack on the English tobacco farms and settlements. More than 300 settlers were killed. A last-minute warning spared James Fort itself, but the attack on the colony and the continuing mismanagement by the Virginia Company convinced the King to revoke the Company’s charter. Virginia became a crown colony in 1624.

As Jamestown grew into a robust “New Towne” to the east, written references to the original fort disappeared. In 1676 a rebellion in the colony led by Nathaniel Bacon sacked and burned much of the capital town. Jamestown remained the capital of Virginia until its major statehouse, located on the western end of the island, burned in 1698. The capital moved to Williamsburg in 1699, and Jamestown began to slowly disappear above the ground. By the 1750s the land was heavily cultivated, primarily by the Travis and Ambler families.

A military post was located on the island during the American Revolution, and American and British prisoners were exchanged there. French soldiers also sought refuge at Jamestown after the nearby Battle of Greensprings in 1781. In 1861 the island was occupied by Confederate soldiers who built an earthen fort near the 17th-century brick church tower as part of the defense system to block any Union advance up the James River. There was no battle at “Fort Pocahontas,” but after Confederate forces abandoned it in 1862, Union troops and freed slaves occupied the island the rest of the war.

In 1893 Jamestown was owned by Mr. and Mrs. Edward Barney. The Barneys gave 22 1/2 acres of land, including the 17th-century church tower, to the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities (now Preservation Virginia). By this time James River erosion had eaten away the island’s western shore the common belief was that the site of 1607 James Fort lay completely underwater. With federal assistance, a sea wall was built in 1900 to protect the area from further erosion. The remaining acreage on the island was acquired by the National Park Service in 1934 and made part of the Colonial National Historical Park. Today, Jamestown is jointly operated by Preservation Virginia and NPS.


Late in the 19th century, Jamestown became the focus of renewed historical interest and efforts at preservation. In 1893, a portion of the island was donated to Preservation Virginia [5] for that purpose, including the ruined church tower. In the early 1900s, a seawall was constructed with the intention of preserving the site around the original "James Fort", even though the actual location of the original 1607 fort was thought to be underwater and lost to erosion. In 1907, the Jamestown Exposition was held to mark the 300th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown, but the celebration was held at Sewell's Point in Norfolk, Virginia on the harbor of Hampton Roads, due to transportation and other considerations. The area came back into national prominence with the creation of the Colonial National Historical Park in 1940 and the uncovering of the old fort in 1996 by archaeologists of the Jamestown Rediscovery project.

A return to Jamestown itself was considered feasible by 1957, in time for the 350th anniversary of the founding of the London Company settlement at Jamestown. Attractions were developed by the US National Park Service and the Commonwealth of Virginia which included the reconstructed Glasshouse, the Memorial Cross, and the visitors center. The National Park Service's Colonial Parkway was also completed in April, 1957 linking the Historic Triangle of Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Yorktown, including the construction of a land bridge to Jamestown Island.

The 1957 celebrations continued from April 1 to November 30 with more than one million participants, including dignitaries and politicians such as the British Ambassador and U.S. Vice President Richard Nixon. Full-sized replicas were constructed of the three ships that brought the colonists: the Susan Constant, Godspeed, and Discovery. They were built at a shipyard in Portsmouth, Virginia and relocated to nearby Glass House Point for the festival. There nearly 25,000 visitors at the Festival Park on October 16, 1957, and the highlight for many was the visit and speech of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. Queen Elizabeth lent a copy of Magna Carta for the exhibition. Other events in 1957 included army and navy reviews, air force fly-overs, ship and aircraft christenings, and an outdoor drama at Cape Henry, site of the first landing of the settlers in April 1607.

Jamestown Settlement facilities and programs were greatly expanded early in the 21st century as part of the Jamestown 2007 quadricentennial celebration. [6] A special exhibition named "The World of 1607" [7] was created to showcase 17th century Virginia and featured rare artificats that were on loan from international collections and major museums. Additionally, new permanent exhibits were added while existing materials were refreshed and a new introductory film was added. [8] Her majesty, Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh were invited and attended the Jamestown Settlement on May 4, 2007 as part of a two day royal visit to Virginia. [9] Their itinerary included visits to the state capital in Richmond, Virginia, Colonial Williamsburg, and Historic Jamestown. Approximately 1,200 invited guests, educational groups, and members of the community were in attendance. The celebration of Jamestown was held in Jamestown, Virginia.

Galleries Edit

The Jamestown Settlement galleries provide the setting for a varied collection of objects relating to the nation’s beginnings in 17th-century Virginia. The Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation collection has been developed to support the museum’s storyline and includes objects representative of the Powhatan Indian, European, and African cultures that converged in 1600s Virginia. More than 500 artifacts are exhibited at any one time in the galleries. [10]

Living History Edit

In Living History, visitors can "journey to the past" in re-creations of a Powhatan Indian town and the 1610-14 colonial fort. [11] The park also allows visitors to board replicas of the three ships that sailed from England to Virginia in 1607. In the outdoor areas, costumed historical interpreters describe and demonstrate daily life in early 17th century Jamestown.

Events Edit

Regular events are held to link with the colonial-related themes of the area - such as military re-enactments, historic trades fairs, lectures, or anniversaries. The next major event is the 410th Anniversary of the founding of the settlement, scheduled for mid-May 2017, entitled Jamestown Day. [12] Similarly, Pocahontas Imagined will commemorate the 400th Anniversary of the death of Pocahontas in July 2017. Further, the American Indian Intertribal Powwow will be held there in October 2017.

Jamestown settlers arrive

Some 100 English colonists arrive along the east bank of the James River in Virginia to found Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in North America. Dispatched from England by the London Company, the colonists had sailed across the Atlantic aboard the Susan Constant, Godspeedਊnd Discovery.

Upon landing at Jamestown, the first colonial council was held by seven settlers whose names had been chosen and placed in a sealed box by King James I. The council, which included Captain John Smith, an English adventurer, chose Edward Wingfield as its first president. After only two weeks, Jamestown came under attack from warriors from the local Algonquian confederacy, but the Native Americans were repulsed by the armed settlers. In December of the same year, John Smith and two other colonists were captured by Algonquians while searching for provisions in the Virginia wilderness. His companions were killed, but he was spared, according to a later account by Smith, because of the intercession of Pocahontas, Chief Powhatan’s daughter.

During the next two years, disease, starvation, and more Native American attacks wiped out most of the colony, but the London Company continually sent more settlers and supplies. The severe winter of 1609 to 1610, which the colonists referred to as the “starving time,” killed most of the Jamestown colonists, leading the survivors to plan a return to England in the spring. However, on June 10, Thomas West De La Warr, the newly appointed governor of Virginia, arrived with supplies and convinced the settlers to remain at Jamestown. In 1612, John Rolfe cultivated the first tobacco at Jamestown, introducing a successful source of livelihood. On April 5, 1614, Rolfe married Pocahontas, thus assuring a temporary peace with Chief Powhatan.

The death of Powhatan in 1618 brought about a resumption of conflict with the Algonquians, including an attack led by Chief Opechancanough in 1622 that nearly wiped out the settlement. The English engaged in violent reprisals against the Algonquians, but there was no further large-scale fighting until 1644, when Opechancanough led his last uprising and was captured and executed at Jamestown. In 1646, the Algonquian Confederacy agreed to give up much of its territory to the rapidly expanding colony, and, beginning in 1665, its chiefs were appointed by the governor of Virginia.

What Is the Historical Significance of the Jamestown Settlement?

The Jamestown settlement in present-day Virginia was the first settlement under the charter granted to the Virginia Company by King James I. The Virginia Company settlers made land on Jamestown Island on May 14, 1607. The settlement grew and eventually held the first English representative assembly in North America.

Captain Bartholomew Gosnold led the settlers to build a colony on Jamestown Island because it was in a position where Spanish ships would be unable to attack easily however, Indians attacked the settlement within days of the landing. After surviving the attack, the people began to build a rudimentary fort.

In 1609, the fort suffered a gunpowder explosion, which injured Captain John Smith, the man tasked with helping to supply the settlement with goods from England. The settlement barely made it through the following winter due to a lack of supplies, Indian raids and the harsh weather only 60 settlers survived into the spring of 1610. In June, a ship from England finally arrived, bringing with it fresh supplies and a new governor, Lord De La Warr.

Additionally, the colony was known for being associated with the Native American Pocahontas and her father Chief Powhatan. She married the tobacco farmer John Rolfe in 1614.

Watch the video: Jamestown Settlement. Jamestown Colony. Educational Story for Kids. Kids Academy