Prosperity in Jamestown

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Virginia company seal
Virginia Company seal

The Virginia Company ordered the colony "to establish one equal and uniform government over all Virginia" and to provide "just laws for the happy guiding and governing of the people there inhabiting." The first representative assembly by Europeans in North America convened in the Jamestown church on July 30, 1619.

Africans arrived in America in 1619 when a Dutch slave trader sold his cargo of Africans in return for food. The Africans were not slaves, however. They became indentured servants on terms similar to the Englishmen who gave a term of years labor in return for passage to America. It was not until the 1680s that the race-based slavery system developed.

bartmann  jug
Bartmann jug found at James Fort
(The Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities) a German stoneware jug imported to England from Germany - bartmann means bearded

As the settlement became larger and larger, the Algonquians became more and more unhappy with the settlers. They attacked the plantations outside the James Fort in 1622, killing over 300 of the settlers. This event and the mismanagement of the Virginia Company caused the King to revoke the charter. Jamestown became a crown colony in 1624.

Gradually the town of Jamestown formed to the east of the fort, and the original fort was abandoned in about the 1620s. Jamestown remained the capital of Virginia until 1698 when the statehouse burned. The capital was then moved to Williamsburg and Jamestown slowly ceased to exist. The exact site of the original settlement became lost to history. It was 400 years before Jamestown was resurrected.






Part of The Virginia English Colony at Jamestown exhibit

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