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English Settlements: Investors and Indentured Servants. If you chose to invest…. Virginia Company: Joint Stock Company. More than 50 businesses and 600 individuals from London bought shares. Virginia Company of London Seal, 1606-1624.

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English Settlements: Investors and Indentured Servants

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virginia company joint stock company
Virginia Company: Joint Stock Company
  • More than 50 businesses and 600 individuals from London bought shares

Virginia Company of London Seal, 1606-1624

Tobacco brought in SOME

Income, but still, no profit!

By 1623, the Virginia Company

was on the verge of bankruptcy.

1623 a Royal Commission found the Virginia Company guilty of mismanagement (including corruption) and in danger of a complete collapse.
By 1624, investors had plunged

£100,000 into Jamestown and hadn’t made back even a small portion of their investment.

  • King James I revoked the Virginia Company Charter.
  • King made Virginia a Royal Colony and appointed a governor.
things you should have considered before investing

Swampy, full of mosquitoes with no fresh water supply.

Typhoid and dysentery

Passage to America left colonists weak, susceptible to scurvy and bloody flux.

Things you should have considered before investing….

Colonists did not have enough food to last the year.

Severe drought in the area.

Most focused on trying to find gold rather than planting crops.

“Nay, so great was our famine, that a Salvage we slew, and buried, the poorer sort tooke him up againe and eat him, and so did divers one another boyled and stewed with roots and herbs: And one amongst the rest did kill his wife, powdered her, and had eaten part of her before it was knowne, for which hee was executed…now whether shee was better roasted, boyled or carbonado’d, I know not”

John Smith The Starving Time


Leaders were constantly arguing.

Divisions between gentlemen and poor colonists.

Ship captain reported colony was doing poorly because its leaders were striving to rule over one another.

Jamestown Gentlemen

Poor Company Structure:

Company leaders in London could not understand how difficult it was for the colonists

Leaders in Virginia could not understand the pressure for profits in London


1608 fire destroyed all the buildings in Jamestown except three

Colonists exposed to cold winter temps. Without shelter.

Fire also destroyed all their supplies.

Native American Attacks:

Fear of attacks were constant.

Most attacks took place outside of fort area, making it difficult to tend to crops.


Leaders of colony were afraid colonists would leave to go live with Natives.

Attacks by Spanish:

Jamestown was 50 miles upriver from Spanish ships.

first decade of settlement
First decade of settlement….
  • 95% of the colonists were tenants or servants.
  • Almost died within the first year.
  • Out of 900 sent to

Jamestown, only 60 survived

By 1610.

Of the more than 5,000 settlers who migrated to Virginia in the first 17 years, only 1, 132 were alive in 1624.

¾ of all indentured servants died within one year of moving to Jamestown between 1607 and 1624.

By the 1620s, conditions improved.

As tobacco became more profitable, servants became more valuable.

Conditions in England also improved, so fewer people came as indentured servants.