|The Lost Colony
Spain's American colonies made it the wealthiest country
in Europe by the late 1500s. To share the riches, England
challenged Spain. An advisor to the queen of England, Sir
Walter Raleigh, obtained a charter to start a colony in Roanoke, Virginia, on land claimed by Spain. Spain sent an armada to invade England and was defeated. The war delayed supplies from reaching Roanoke. When the shipments finally arrived, the colony was gone. Historians still don't know why Roanoke failed.
A Permanent Colony
In 1606, London merchants convinced King James I to grant a charter for a new colony in Virginia. They sold stocks to investors and Jamestown was started on an area that already was home to the Tsenacomacoh. Disease-bearing mosquitoes and lack of food and water made life there difficult. If not for Captain John Smith's leadership, all the colonists may well have died.
Jamestown Begins to Grow
Eight years of peace with the Native Americans was
established between Captain John Smith and Chief Powhatan.
England sent governors to control the colonist, and the
colonists set up a government. As tobacco became a cash crop, colonists relied more and more upon indentured servants to work the plantations. Later enslaved Africans did the labor.