Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Jamestown: the first permanent English settlement

In 1606, King James gave the Virginia Company of London a royal charter, or permission, to colonize the Chesapeake Bay area of North America.

On December 20, 1606, three ships named Susan Constant, Discovery and Godspeed, left England for the New World. They stopped off briefly at Puerto Rico, and finally arrived in Virginia on April 26, 1607. 

Together with the ships were 104 passengers. There were men and boys from different background and shared the goal of becoming the first settlers in a new colony.

The founding members of the Jamestown Settlement had arrived. On May 13, 1607, the colonists chose a spot to build their fort. They named it Jamestown, in honor of their king, James I.

Life was very hard in Jamestown. The settlers chose to settle where they felt safe from enemies. The first homes probably looked like log cabins, because they were made out of logs, rails, poles, brush and dirt. A few of them were only old tents.

More settlers arrived in Jamestown in 1609, but the colony was almost wiped out in the terrible winter of 1609-10. The colonist called it ‘The Starving Time’.

In 1619, the first large groups of women are brought to the Jamestown colony; they marry colonist and produce the colony’s first English children.

By the 1620s, colonists had fanned out up and down the James River, establishing additional settlements and plantations. Tobacco was introduced, providing a cash crop that produced a profit. It was sold abroad for great profits triggered a gold rush like boom that lasted through the 1620s.

In 1639, a representative government was established, the House Burgesses. Blacks were introduced to the colony to provide additional workers.
Jamestown: the first permanent English settlement
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