Jamestown VA Settlement History, John Smith, The Real Pocahontas, John Rolfe – 1607
Captain John Smith, The Real Pocahontas, John Rolfe, Wahunsenacawh
Jamestown, VA, located on Jamestown Island of the Virginia Colony, was established on May 14, 1607. Jamestown, Virginia, is the first permanent English settlement in what is now the United States of America. The site is about 40 miles (62 km) inland from the Atlantic Ocean and the entrance to the Chesapeake Bay. Both the river and the settlement were named after King James I of England, who was on the throne at the time. The location at Jamestown Island was selected primarily because it offered a strong strategic defensive position against other European forces which might approach by water. Another reason was because it was not inhabited by the local Virginia Indians because the swampy and isolated site was plagued by mosquitoes and tidal river water unsuitable for drinking. Jamestown, VA, had limited hunting and farming.
Despite the leadership of Captain John Smith, starvation, hostile relations with the natives, and lack of profitable exports all threatened the survival of Jamestown, Virginia. However, John Rolfe introduced tobacco which was successfully exported in 1612, and the local economy soon became much more favorable. In 1614, John Rolfe & Pocahontas, daughter of Wahunsenacawh, Chief of the Powhatan Confederacy, married. A period of relative peace with the Powhatan Confederacy followed. In 1616, the John Rolfe & Pocahontas made a public relations trip to England, where Pocahontas was received as visiting royalty. In 1619, changes by the Virginia Company attracted additional investments and a local governing body called the House of Burgess was created, the first democratically elected representative legislative body in the New World.
Major Historical Figures: King James I, John Smith, John Rolfe, Pocahontas
Jamestown Settlement Center
2110 Jamestown Rd, Route 31 S
Williamsburg, VA 23185
Open daily 9am to 5pm