The New World had been founded and during the 17th century England still had no claims to any part of it.King James I established two companies, made up of merchants and adventurers, the London Company and the Plymouth Company, combined they were known as the Virginia Company.The London Company was thefirst company to send three ships in search of three particular things, gold, the Lost Colony of Roanoke, and a route to the South Seas.
These three ships were called, the Susan Constant, the Godspeed, and the Discovery.Stormy weather and high winds delayed their voyage for 6 weeks.On May 14, 1607 the three ships arrived at an island in the James River, named for their King.They landed 60 miles from the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay.It had been a long and difficult journey but 105 out of 150 colonists survived.They sanctioned the island on which they landed, Jamestown.Many traditional scholars feel that the pioneers above the ship were very ill suited for the task since Captain John Smith identified half of the men as "gentlemen".
If they were gentlemen then what would they know about building colony? Almost immediately after landing, the colonists were attacked by the Algonquian natives.In a little over a months time the colonists had built a wooden fort to protect themselves.Jamestown was chosen because of the military advantages it supplied in case there was any warfare.It was protected on three sides by the river and marshes, it was out of sight from the Spanish, and it had a deep-water mooring for the ships.It was mostly swamp land and finding fresh water was a major problem.
Thefirst few winters in Jamestown were the hardest for the colonists.Of the 105 who landed on May 14th, only 38 survived the 1st winter.In 1608, 200 more colonists arrived followed by 400 more, a year later.During 1609-1610, the "starving time", the colonists' population was reduced to 60.