Unit 1 Colonial Era and American Beginnings Chapter 2: The American Colonies Emerge English Settlement of Jamestown ► England decided not to fund colonization of the new lands like Spain had done. ► King James I, in 1606, granted a charter or official permit for two joint-stock companies to colonize the Americas, which allowed several investors to pool their wealth in support of a colony that would, hopefully, yield a profit. ► The Virginia companies of London and Plymouth started organizing a colony and selling stock in order to raise funds. ► The Plymouth company disbanded, leaving the Virginia company of London as the sole company. ► The Virginia company promised gold would be found and each person who went to colonize the land would get a share. ► The king of England would get 1/5 of all the gold and silver. ► ► ► In April of 1607 three ships of the Virginia company (Susan Constant, Discovery, and Godspeed) sailed up the James River and started a settlement known as Jamestown. John Smith was the leader of the colony and he sensed trouble from the start. He noticed that everyone was consumed with finding gold and had no desire to farm or even build permanent housing. ► Many colonists became ill from drinking infected river water. And because there were no crops, the colonists began to starve. ► By the winter of 1607 only 38 of the original 150 settlers were still alive. ► Many of the settlers had never done manual labor and had refused to farm or help build shelters. ► John Smith finally set a law stating that, “he that will not work shall not eat.” Recent Discoveries at Jamestown ► Excavation since 1994 has uncovered hundreds of thousands of artifacts dating to the first half of the 17th century. Nearly half of the objects date to the first years of English settlement (1607-1610). The site of James Fort was not washed into the river as most people believed for the past 200 years. We have uncovered over 250 feet of two palisade wall lines, the east cannon projection (bulwark), three filled in cellars, and a building, all part of the triangular James Fort. Also a palisade wall line and a large building were found attached to the main fort to the east. A drawing of James Fort (c.1609) by Pedro de Zuniga, a Spanish ambassador. The sketch shows a flag-like projection which is more probably an enclosed garden. The three sides and circular bastions at the corners are common to all three descriptions of the early fort. ► ► ► ► ► The local natives, the Powhatan Indians, were persuaded to give the settlers food and support. John Smith was burned in an accident and had to return to England. The colonists now had no leader… In 1609, 600 more settlers were sent to Jamestown. They found the colony in disarray and being harassed by the Powhatan. The Powhatan killed all the settler’s livestock and kept the settlers from hunting for food. By the spring of 1610 only 60 colonists survived. ► ► ► ► Jamestown was saved when a new leader showed up. He did not hesitate to flog or even hang colonists that did not do their fair share of the work. John Rolfe began to grow a new strain of tobacco, which was soon in high demand in Europe. Jamestown began growing tobacco or “brown gold” and exported about 1.5 million pounds of it a year. The farmers at Jamestown needed laborers to work the tobacco fields and began to use the headright system. ► ► ► The headright system promised 50 acres of land to anyone who moved to Jamestown. They would also get an additional 50 acres for each family member who came along. Indentured servants also began to move to Jamestown. Indentured servants received “free” passage to the colonies in return for a set period of time that they had to work off the debt. The servant usually worked for about 4 to 7 years as a type of slave until the debt was paid. In 1619 a Dutch ship brought the first Africans to Jamestown. They were originally treated as indentured servants and were eventually given freedom and land.