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The Virginia Colony. Section 1 Chapter 3. Focus Question. Why were people in England interested in founding Jamestown, and when was the colony established? How did the Jamestown colonists interact with local American Indians? How did the English plantation system begin?

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the virginia colony

The Virginia Colony

Section 1

Chapter 3

focus question
Focus Question
  • Why were people in England interested in founding Jamestown, and when was the colony established?
  • How did the Jamestown colonists interact with local American Indians?
  • How did the English plantation system begin?
  • What role did indentured servants and enslaved Africans have in Virginia’s economy?
settlement in jamestown
Settlement in Jamestown
  • To gain the money needed to start a colony in Virginia a London company started a joint-stock company, one in which many investor put their money in to spread the cost and gain profit
  • On April 26, 1607 the ships landed on the Virginia cost
  • They sailed up the James River 40 miles and settled their first settlement naming it Jamestown after king James I
settlement in jamestown1
Settlement in Jamestown
  • The colonists were not skilled at farming or carpentry and were not useful to the colony
  • John Smith, the leader of the settlement understood the dangers of the colony
  • The colonists also found that the river water was too salty to drink
  • By winter over two-thirds of the colonists had died
  • When Smith took over in 1608, he forced the colonists to work the land and improve housing
the powhatan confederacy
The Powhatan Confederacy
  • The Powhatan Confederacy helped the colonists a great deal
  • The Powhatan brought food to the colonists and taught them how to grow corn
  • The alliance was not always friendly as the colonists would sometimes take food by force
the powhatan confederacy1
The Powhatan Confederacy
  • In 1609, John Smith was injured and went back to England
  • Without a strong leader the colony struggled again and by the spring of 1610, they were down to 60 people
the powhatan confederacy2
The Powhatan Confederacy
  • John Rolfe solved the problem of a failing economic colony when he introduced West Indian tobacco to the Virginia environment
  • Quickly exporting tobacco landed huge profits
  • Another big change that allowed the colony to survive was when the London Company changed its policy and began to allow private ownership of land
war in virginia
War in Virginia
  • John Rolfe married Pocahontas, Wahunsonacock’s daughter in 1614
  • This improved relations between the Powhatan and the English
  • When Pocahontas died in 1617 and Wahunsonacock died a year later the relations strained
  • Things got even worse as more colonists pushed to farm tobacco on Powhatan land
war in virginia1
War in Virginia
  • In 1622 after the colonists killed the Powhatan leader, the Powhatan attacked and killed 350 colonists including John Rolfe
  • The Colonists responded by burning villages and warring with the Powhatan for 20 years
  • The war showed that the London Company could not help Virginia and in 1624 the English Crown canceled the London Company’s charter and put it under the royal authority of a governor
daily life in virginia
Daily Life in Virginia
  • Early in Virginia history people Lived on scattered small farms but once tobacco became the main crop, farmers began to raise it on large farms called plantations
  • These plantations were made possible by the use of headright—in this system if a person could pay their own way to Virginia they would get 50 acres and they would also get an addition 50 acres for every extra person they could bring (rich people brought a lot of people)
  • Life was difficult though for families
labor in virginia
Labor in Virginia
  • Because death rates were so high, labor was short in Virginia
  • The majority of the workers were indentured servants– people who signed a contract to work for four to seven years for the people who paid for their ship fare
  • Many indentured servants died before their contract was up
  • The first Africans came to America on a Dutch ship in 1619 (some were indentured servants and some were slaves)
labor in virginia1
Labor in Virginia
  • Most of the early labor was indentured servants because slaves were more expensive
  • Eventually less people wanted to travel to America and slavery became the main source of labor
  • Planters (wealthy farmers with large plantations) built this very successful plantations at the cost of human life and liberty
bacon s rebellion
Bacon’s Rebellion
  • During the mid-1600s many colonists grew upset with conditions in the colony– either by the governor’s strict control over the colony or the lack to available farmland
  • Nathaniel Bacon, a wealthy frontier planter, led a group of former indentured servants to attack and burn Jamestown
  • This became known as Bacon’s Rebellion
bacon s rebellion1
Bacon’s Rebellion
  • Bacon had control of much of the colony at one point but after he died of fever the rebellion was put down and the survivors were hanged
  • This incident made it difficult to repair relations with American Indians and made many planters look more to slavery
focus question1
Focus Question
  • Why were people in England interested in founding Jamestown, and when was the colony established?
  • How did the Jamestown colonists interact with local American Indians?
  • How did the English plantation system begin?
  • What role did indentured servants and enslaved Africans have in Virginia’s economy?