Jamestown was the first permanent English settlement. Its founding expedition was launched by the Virginia Company of London, purely for profit. The 144 men who set sail for America in 1607 were entrepreneurs, meaning that their main reasons for settling in Virginia were for economic gain. The expedition was chartered by James I of England, making the future site of Jamestown a royal colony, and therefore supported by England. The men who traveled to Virginia were not known for their work ethic; they would rather have other people do the hard work for them. The majority of their work upon reaching Jamestown consisted of searching for gold, lumber, tar, pitch, and iron. These items were wanted for export by England. Because the settlers spent time searching for profit instead of food, and also because of the poor settlement site, Jamestown had a very harsh beginning. The men were ill prepared to handle local diseases, so many of them died. The Company had not sent women to settle with the men, meaning that there were no significant households and no permanence in the community. After what became known as the “starving time,” ships arrived with supplies and a governor, which greatly helped the economy of the colony. The colonists discovered tobacco, a profitable crop which required large areas of farmland and more labor. The headright system was adopted, which brought in more settlers, this time including hard working craftsmen and women, which helped diversify the community. Virginia’s society was primarily based on African labor and the suppression on nearby Indians. In 1624, James I revoked the charter of the Virginia Company, bringing Jamestown under direct control of the crown until 1776.
The Massachusetts Bay colonies were founded about twenty years after Jamestown. A large number of Puritan merchants obtained a grant of land for Massachusetts and New Hampshire, and acquired a charter form the king to create the Massachusetts Bay Company. This meant that...
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