200px-James I of England by Daniel Mytens

King James 1st, the name sake of the settlement at Jamestowne.

In the June of 1606 King James authorized a charter for the London Company of Virginia. This company was a group of entrepreneurs which was created to establish an English foot hold in the New World. The charter declared that the Virginia Company was to find gold, establish trade with the Natives, seek out a Northwest passage to the pacific and gather resources for England. The following December of the same year 104 settlers consisting mainly of wealthy upper-class men within the society of the English empire set sail.

The Voyage: December, 1606/1607

In December of 1606, the 104 settlers of the Virginia Company of London set sail bound for the New World. Three months into the voyage, aside from half the crew suffering from scurvy, typhoid and extreme depression the

Susan Constant before her demise

expedition was going smoothly. On March, 16 1607, in the Mid-Atlantic, a storm with gale force winds and 45 foot waves scattered the three ships bearing the settlers. The Discovery was pushed to a NNE course bound for the coast of what will be New Jersey. The Godspeed miraculously kept to roughly the original course. The Susan Constant, the larger of the three ships capsized due to the enormous waves and gusting winds. She sank with all hands including the captain, Christopher Newport and the military captain John Smith.

Arrival in the Caribbean: April, 1607

The Godspeed made land fall in the Caribbean on April 28. The ship with its crew of about 52 anchored off the coast of Hispaniola and aweighed the longboat. A group of 20 settlers went onto shore to search for food and freshwater in an effort to replenish the ships stores. The Godspeed stayed in the waters off Hispaniola for ten days giving the settlers an ability to recuperate and rest after their ordeal at sea. The 20 settlers on land continued to forage for food and water. After six days, the settlers began to develop symptoms of malaria. This disease, unknown to the settlers was able to fully infect the group and upon their return to the Godspeed the infection spread to about then more men. With three-fifths of the complement affected by malaria, the Godspeed was not able to leave the Caribbean until May, 1607.By the time the vessel left the waters of the Caribbean, 15 of the original 52 crew had died of malaria leaving only 37 able bodied men to man the ship. She continued her voyage towards the known coast of the "New World"

Map of the voyage to Jamestown. The Godspeed went to the Caribbean and the Discovery traveled to New Jersey.

Landing at Kingstowne.

The Discovery, the smallest of the two remaining ships made landfall on June,16 1607 where they believed to be Virginia. The 21 men on board were all London business men. They were captainless and inadequately prepared to begin a settlement. When the Susan Constant sank, the captain of the expedition, Christopher Newport, sank with the ship. Without leadership the 21 settlers had only the basic knowledge of the time to begin the settlement known as Kingstowne, so named for the king of England. The settlement was begun on the shores of Southeastern New Jersey. The shore of New Jersey is very baren, the sand is fine and the salinity of the groundwater and rivers is to great to be drinkable or used for agriculture. With no adequate supply of timber to build homes or shelters, the settlers were forced to live on their ship. With food and water sources on board already depleted, the crew decided to create a foraging group to go on shore, establish a rough settlement just within the sight of the Discovery, and report to the rest of the crew of any natives in the area. The group begins construction of a make shift fort out of the surrounding trees. By August, 1607, the settlement, hardly large enough to consider a fort, is finished and given the name Kingstowne. This is the first English Colony in the "New World".

September, 1607. Virginia.

The Godspeed finally arrived in Virginia on September 12, 1607. The 37 settlers on the Godspeed were more prepared than those of the Discovery however, they had hardly the will to start a colony yet alone build it. The Godspeed landed on a small swampy island up a river that empties into the bay which the Godspeed arrived in.

map of the area around Jamestowne.

The island was named James Island in honor of the king of England. The island consisted of about two sq ac of marshy, mosquito infested land surrounded by prudent Indian tribes. When the settlers landed they began to scout the area for resources. being in the south, there was an abundant supply of timber and believed an endless supply of water. The water, however, was too brackish to drink and therefore there was actually hardly any fresh drinking water. Arriving in September placed the settlers in the middle of the cool fall of coastal Virginia.

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