Creation of Jamestown

Some European countries, including England, competed to increase their wealth and power by expanding their empires to America.

The King of England granted a charter to the Virginia Company of London, allowing them to establish a settlement.

Reasons for English Colonization of America

  • England wanted to establish an American colony to increase its wealth and power and compete with other nations

  • England hoped to find silver, gold, and raw materials in America

  • England would have increased trade opportunities


  • Jamestown was founded mainly to make profit

  • The Virginia Company of London provided the money for establishing Jamestown

  • Jamestown, founded in 1607, became the first permanent English settlement in North America

Reasons for Choosing to Establish a Settlement at Jamestown

  • The location could be easily defended from attack by sea

  • The water along the shore was deep enough for ships to dock

  • There were natural resources in the area including timber and iron

Virginia System of Government

Virginia System of Government

  • The Virginia General Assembly included two representatives, called burgesses, from each of the divisions of Virginia, along with the governor’s council and the governor

  • They met to write laws

  • At that time, only certain free adult men could participate in government

  • It was elected and gave some settlers the opportunity to take part in their own government

House of Burgesses

  • By the 1640s, the burgesses became a separate legislative body, called the House of Burgesses

  • They met separately from the governor’s council as one of the two parts of the General Assembly

The Settlers of Jamestown

Diversity in Virginia Colonies

  • Portuguese sailors captured African men and women and brought them to Virginia against their will in 1619

  • The arrival of Africans made it possible to expand the tobacco economy

  • The arrival of more women in 1620 made it possible for settlers to start more families

Hardships Faced by the Settlers

  • The site they chose to live on was swampy and didn’t have safe drinking water

  • There was a drought that reduced the amount of food available

  • The settlers didn’t have some skills necessary to provide for themselves

  • Many settlers died of starvation and disease

Changes that Resulted in Survival

  • Ships arrived bringing supplies and new settlers

  • Captain John Smith was a strong leader of the settlers

  • New settlements developed that spread away from the unhealthy environment of Jamestown

How the Natives Helped

  • The native peoples traded food, fur, and leather with the English in exchange for tools, pots, and copper for jewelry

  • Powhatan, a native chief, taught the settlers survival skills

  • Pocahontas, the daughter of Powhatan, helped communicate between the native peoples and the English

  • The native peoples showed the settlers how to plant corn and tobacco

Over time, the native peoples realized the English settlement would continue to grow and would eventually take over the native peoples’ land.