Jamestown, Virginia


Settlers Pick Jamestown As New Settlement

In early 1607, 104 English settlers arrived in North America to start a new settlement. They used The "Susan Constant", the "Godspeed", and "Discovery" as ships, carrying 105 passengers, with one of whom died during the voyage to the New World. Captain Christopher Newport, the leader of the expedition traveled around the New World for two weeks, until they found a site that sat on the James River. In May of that year, they picked Jamestown, Virginia as that settlement. The name "Jamestown" comes from the English ruler King James I at that time. The founding of this great settlement was made possible by the Virginia Company of London, which was supported and chartered by English King James I. The purpose for such an expedition consisted for the following reasons: seeking a new passage to the Orient, convert Indians in Virginia to the English Anglican religion, and to gain as much land and wealth as other European nations such as Spain and France.

Problems in The New Settlement

Unfortunately, Jamestown was set up with 14,000 Algonquian speaking Indians nearby, which were ruled by the all mighty and powerful Chief Powhatan. In order to prevent conflicts and massacres, trade agreements were set up between the settlers and Indians. This is mostly due to the English settler's short and small supply of food, water, and skilled workers. However, once a trade agreement was established between the Englishmen and the Indians, sickness and disease soon overcame the Indians, since they were new to foreign diseases such as the European's carried. Since the Indian population was decreasing, the Virginia Colony's leader Captain John Smith issued a "no work, no food" policy, which meant if a person did not work, they did not eat. This lasted for a while, however: John Smith was involved in a gunpowder accident which called for his presence in England, which left Virginia in a "starving time" era. With no one to enforce the "no work, no food" policy, Jamestown settlers soon had nowhere left to turn for food. Eventually, supplies arrived from a second charter group from England issued by King James I. With the addition of a new charter, Virginia finally started to obtain a governing style along with military-type laws.

King James I Outlines Members of The Council

King James I outlined which individuals shall govern the new settlement in sealed orders from the England. Those individuals include: Bartholomew Gosnold, Christopher Newport, George Kendall, John Martin, George Percy, John Ratcliffe, John Smith, and Edward Maria Wingfield. These men came to the Virginia Colony on the three ships that sailed in May of 1607. Most men who came on those ships were upper-class men who were not use to manual labor or farm labor. This also contributed to the death and disease of many Indians and settlers themselves, since very few workers were accustomed to manual labor in which they could acquire food and water. Although the settlers who came to Virginia on the three ships were unfamiliar with manual labor, they eventually found jobs that benefitted the community. Once the council was outlined, the triangular fort known as "James Fort", was built around Jamestown.

Works Cited

"Google Images." Google Images. N.p., 4 Sept. 2015. Web. 04 Sept. 2015.

Wikipedia. N.p., 4 Sept. 2015. Web. 4 Sept. 2015.