When Was Jamestown Founded?
In 1606, Englishmen, including Christopher Newport and John Smith, voyaged out on the Susan Constant, the Godspeed, and the Discovery toward the New World. They were part of the Virginia Company, a charter allowed by King James I to create the first permanent English settlement along the James River in hopes of finding gold or a trade route to Asia.
Hi and welcome to this video on the Jamestown settlement. The English were looking for gold, silver, and a route in the Pacific Ocean that would connect them to better trading opportunities with the Orient. Jamestown was surrounded by water on three of its sides and was set pretty far inland. Not only that, but the water surrounding the land was fairly deep, allowing for great fishing ventures and for the settlers to be able to tie up their ships closer to shore. This landscaping served as a great defense barrier against the Algonquians. While Jamestown was technically uninhabited by Native American Indians, it was their hunting grounds. This of course caused some strife between the tribes and the English. This conflict with the Native American Indians nearly caused the downfall of the Jamestown colony. The settlers faced many threats from the Algonquians and Chief Powhatan. Eventually an agreement was met between John Smith and the Chief, establishing a mutual understanding of how trade would be carried out between the settlers and the Natives.
A factor that lead to poor relations between the Englishmen and the Natives within this sort of trade agreement was the greed of the English in securing land for crops, hunting, and fishing. During seasons of drought, Chief Powhatan was gracious enough to share crops with the English, but it quickly got to a point where they were too demanding of resources in such dire times of need. This caused a rift between settlers and Natives as living became more of a competition than a peaceful agreement.
Between 1610 and 1614, John Rolfe introduced new tobacco seeds that helped to revive the settlement’s economy. Additionally at this time, new English settlers and supplies were being shipped to Jamestown to replace the settlers who had died off along with the poor quality of the crops. Lord De La Warr also came with the shipment of settlers and supplies to be instated as the colony’s new governor.
Shortly after becoming governor, De La Warr fell ill, which led to Sir Thomas Gates and Sir Thomas Dale taking over the role of governor. Under their leadership, strict guidelines were put in place regarding how the settlers were to interact with the Natives. The Englishmen raided Algonquian villages and destroyed their crops with intentions of furthering English settlements along the James River.
Matoaka, better known as Pocahontas, was captured in 1613 and converted. She married John Rolfe, the tobacco enthusiast, in 1614. Being the Chief Powhatan’s daughter, this marriage between Pocahontas and John Rolfe served as a statement for relations between the Natives and the Englishmen. Additionally, Pocahontas’ marriage to Rolfe and conversion to Christianity served as a political tool, as it signified to some that the “Anglicization” of the Native American Indians was obtainable.
In 1624, due to the increased tension between the English and the Algonquians after the deaths of Pocahontas and Chief Powhatan, King James I established Virginia as an official crown settlement and made Jamestown the official capital. The Algonquians attacked Jamestown out of frustration with their cultivation of tobacco and the deaths of the Chief and his daughter. This took place about 1622, the same year John Rolfe died.
As the colony strengthened with more settlers and more resources, the Algonquians were eventually forced to surrender their land to the English and pay tribute to the governors running the capital. In 1698, Jamestown burned down, leaving Williamsburg to become the next capital of the Virginia colony in 1699.
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Last updated: 12/14/2018