In the early 1600’s, English explorer Sir Walter Raleigh wanted to make more money for the Virginia Company, so he wanted to create a settlement. English queen, Queen Elizabeth I, wanted to expand trade, so she granted Sir Walter Raleigh a charter to go to the new world and create a settlement there. With one hundred forty four colonists on board, the first settlers left England on December 20th, 1606, with one goal on their mind: to find land where they would be concealed from the Spanish, seeing as the Spanish were a competitive threat to the British. On May 13th, 1607, the Susan Constant, the Godspeed, and the Discovery ships arrived in Jamestown. The Virginian Company of London financed the settlement of Jamestown. They made sure that the settlers and colonists made it to the new world. Once they arrived, King James I granted charters to the Virginia Company that then gave them the right to establish settlements in Virginia. This colony at first did not last long because the settlers wanted to find gold and get rich, so they did not bother building houses or finding food. Also, this group of settlers did not include any women or children, so they couldn’t expand the colony. In 1609, John Smith came to Virginia and established trade with the Indians that had already been living there. Captain John Smith became the colony’s leader in September 1608. Once he became the leader of the colony, he put the settlers to work. He made them build houses and find food for themselves, so they could survive. He wasn’t leader for long, though because he was injured in a gunpowder explosion and sent back to England. Then, a man named John Rolfe took over. He also put the settlers to work, and introduced the growing of tobacco into their farms.
Before the colonists started growing tobacco, they had many economic problems. This may have been because they were lacking detailed geographic knowledge of the North American continent. Now, with tobacco, they could really start making money. Tobacco was the main economic activity in Virginia at this time. This cash crop became so popular that any farmer who wanted to grow it also had to grow 2 acres of corn, which was also an important crop for profit. In 1610, more settlers arrived with supplies and also came to find wealth. Virginia’s population grew rapidly.
As more and more men came in, the need for indentured servants grew as well. The indentured servants did all the labor in the fields. Almost a decade past when the first black slaves arrived. The first few years they were treated as indentured servants. Soon black slaves replaced indentured servants and the primary source of labor. By this point, Native Americans had become a real problem. They went on raids to kill any settlers and burn their