Colonial History Of Jamestown Virginia

Colonial history of Jamestown Virginia. On April 30, 1607, three ships sailed to the new world. The Virginia Company funded another expedition to the New World.

Many people know of the beautiful Indian maiden who rescued the early colonists that came to the new world but do you really know the facts?

The first expedition was held by Sir Walter Raleigh. His crew and the people are best known for "The Lost Colony". Sir Walter Raleigh sailed back to England to retrieve more supplies and people. He never had the chance to return to the New World for he was imprisoned in England. His efforts seemed lost for no one heard from the colonists again. Some history depicts the early were killed by the Powhatans or neighboring Indians or they simply joined the tribes. There is no more facts to tell what exactly happened to them. The colony hence was lost to time forever.

On April 30, 1607, three ships sailed to the new world. The Virginia Company funded another expedition to the New World. After hearing rumors of finding gold, silver, and exotic people from the Spanish, King James decided it was time to send more people to find out where these treasures were. The Discovery, the Godspeed, and the Susan Constant sailed for 4 1/2 months to reach the shores of the New World. From the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, the three ships sailed. Captain Bartholomew Gosnold, Captain Christopher Newport, Captain John Ratcliffe, Captain Gabriel Archer, and Captain Edward Wingfield were in charge of the expedition. The people of the expedition consisted of 'gentlemen' and farmers. A clear representation of stations and ranks were greatly divided. It was intent that the gentlemen governed the farmers as the farmers built the forts and houses and yet they had to figure out how to farm the virgin land of the New World.

As their voyage went under way, King James had three metal boxes that contained the instructions to follow once the crew of all three ships hit the shores of the New World. In these boxes, contained who would govern the colonists and who would be on the board of directors.

It is unknown why Captain John Smith was imprisoned on the ship. Never the less, he was sentence to hang for a crime. Captain John Smith was a notorious and fierce man. Captain Smith ran away and joined previous expeditions in discovery of new lands. It is said that he was bought as a slave of a Turkish man. Here he earned a reputation as being a fierce fighter. He slew his master and ran away again. Captain Smith came back to England and was a hero for all of the travels he had done. The crew of the Virginia Company looked up to Captain Smith and trusted him. It is he who helped establish the colonists to the New World.

The main captains of the Virginia Company sought out a piece of land that would help them. Priorities were set for a sailing port in which larger ships could bring in supplies as well as ship goods back to England. Finally after searching for the perfect landing, the ships docked on a river that will be known as the James River, named after King James. The crew of all the ships were very much happy to finally hit dry land. They rushed to the new land and not heeding the warning from Captain John Smith. This warning was to be aware of their surroundings and 'naturals' as he called the local people of the New World. As we know, Indian scouts had already been aware of the 'Tassentasses', the pale people. The crew were unaware of the 'naturals' watching them from the shadows of the forests of the New World. Indian scouts reported their findings back to Powhatan, the leader and chief of the Powhatans. Thus Chief Powhatan professed his hate for the 'Tassentasses' and wanted them to leave his land. As Captain Smith was released from his cell, the boxes from King James revealed that he wanted Captain Smith to be on the council. Thus the king's words were followed. Captain Newport proclaimed the land that they had landed upon be called, 'Jamestown' in honor of King James, the ruler of England. It is known how Captain Wingfield hated Captain John Smith but Wingfield managed to make life difficult for Smith from that moment on.

The orders were to start immediate building to secure the safety of the crew and Newport was to sail back to England with news of how well the travels went. He was to bring back more supplies and people to the new land. Smith wanted to ensure the safety of the crew even more and suggested that a fenced in fort surround the new land and have more land contained within the fort for farming. Wingfield was dead set against this idea and so it was nixed. Instead, crude houses made out of mud, and materials from the land were constructed. Smith also pointed out that they did not know the 'naturals' therefore they must take all caution to protect the men from harm. He proposed that the cannons be brought to shore and mounted in three places of the newly constructed fort. Wingfield again shot the idea down but after a brief attack upon the colonists, the idea was implemented. Smith decided to keep his mouth shut for he knew that if he angered Wingfield, he knew that he could possibly be swinging on the end of a rope. Smith decided that he would explore the surrounding area of the fort, to look for land to farm. Though there were farmers among the crew, they didn't know how to farm this strange land therefore creating another problem, facing the horrible death of starvation and canabalism. Smith knew that he would have to figure out how to become friends with the Indians and befriend the one that they called Chief Powhatan. Smith knew that the seasons changed drastically and he had to act fast or this expedition would be a failure.

Chief Powhatan sent out several scouts to see how many of these pale people there were. Pocahontas was one of them. She was a favorite child of the mighty chief and had begged and pleaded with him until Chief Powhatan finally gave in to his beautiful daughter. Some say that she was only 11 at the time, while others will argue that she was in her mid teens. It is not exactly known how old she was. She,her two brothers, and a few scouts began their trek to the strange pale people. The small party of Powhatans finally reached the fort of the colonists. I do not know exactly how they came about to being there but clearly it was seen how the colonists needed help. Their food supply was slowly being diminished and canabalism had already set in. As soon as a man died, a few people had snuck out and feasted upon his body. These people were caught for defiling the body and they were sentenced to hang. Others were sentenced to hang for stealing food. It was a matter of life and death just to survive in the New World. The odds were stacked against them. No food, fights, the gentlemen wouldn't help, their spirits were low. Over all, many had died. The colonists befriended the visiting Powhatans. Seeing the red haired man known as Captain John Smith, mystified the Indian maiden. She was in awe of his appearance. She described him as eyes of the sky and hair that shown like the sunsets. Some say she was attracted to him. The Indian maiden was now known as a princess among the colonists. Smith taught her English words as she taught him her language. A trust was to form here that would be crucial to the survival of the colonists. Smith knew that if he had Pocahontas' trust, then he could meet this powerful chief. He wanted to trade goods such as beads and guns to get food for his men and he could do that through his lovely daughter, Pocahontas. Pocahontas gave her word that she would send food supplies to the men. She came through. She went back to her father again to convince him that they only wanted to explore the land and then they would leave. Smith told her this, therefore she believed him.

Captain Newport left for England to retrieve more supplies and people for the newly founded Jamestown. During this time, Smith collected a few men to explore the land even more. As they were out and about, the men ran into a Powhatan hunting party. The men were slain but Smith was spared. It was the intention that the Powhatans bring this red-haired 'Tassentasse' to the chief. Once upon his arrival to the village of where this mighty chief lived, the Indians were already curious to what they looked like. The Indians knew how these strange men had brought diseases to the Indians. Chief Powhatan knew these people well. Smith was sentenced to die by clubbing and mutilation. Chief Powhatan would have his people tie the intended victim to a tree and place wooden needle like sticks into the skin. Piercing them and the stretch the victim. To other Indians that were sworn enemies of the mighty Powhatans, it is best to die by their own hands rather than be captured and tortured at the hands of the Powhatans. It was considered a disgrace if a warrior was captured alive. Also, victims were clubbed to death as well. They were supposedly strapped to a very large rock and have their heads clubbed until death. Pocahontas learned of her friend's fate through the rumors that had run rampant through out the village. She took her place beside the mighty chief and as they brought out Smith for the public execution, she knew what she had to do. Pocahontas ran to the red haired man and threw herself between the club and Smith's head. Pocahontas had risked her life to save the life of the man that she befriended. Moved by his daughter's intentions, Chief Powhatan set them both free. It is said that Chief Powhatan gave Smith his freedom only because of his daughter's bravery. It is also said that Chief Powhatan adopted Smith as his son. Chief Powhatan wanted these strange and magical items that Smith and his men had. He wanted guns. He wanted to learn how to fire them but most of all, he wanted their cannons. Smith knew that Pocahontas was a true hero among his people. She had saved them several times but how long would the help last? It was up to him and her to get the two people together.

Smith left back to go to Fort Jamestown. Chief Powhatan gave him an escort of several hundred scouts and warriors to make sure he arrived safely. Monicans were still in the area and the Powhatans and the Monicans were still at war. Upon his arrival, Smith was charged with the murders of the men that he left with. He was found guilty and was sentenced to hang. Again, the mighty Princess Pocahontas intervened. She rushed to Wingfield and told him that Smith was the adopted son of the mighty Powhatan and if he should die, then she would report back to her father of the murder. Pocahontas also told Wingfield that she would not intervene if the chief chose to wipe out the fort and the colonists. Smith's life was spared again. The colonists had great respect for the Princess. It was she that these souls had placed their trust in. She was their only hope and with winter upon them, they needed her more than ever.

The 'Starving Time' was upon the colonists. There was very little food and they still were unfamiliar with hunting and finding their own food. They still relied upon the Indian Princess Pocahontas for their survival. Many of the colonists lost their lives during this period. Starvation and the cold winter had taken a toll upon the small community.

Finally warm weather broke the tedious and long winter. The Powhatans showed the colonists how to farm, fish, and hunt. Pocahontas continued to teach Smith her ways as he had continued to teach his ways to her. She became fascinated with their language and this proved to Smith that his plan was working. But there was a problem, rumor of history has said that the princess and the captain became lovers. There is no evidence to back this claim just as there is no evidence to state that they didn't. I will leave it to you, the reader to decide. Pocahontas told her pale friend, that her father was getting tired of supplying the food for the colonists. The colonists must start providing it on their own. Women and men from a neighboring village taught them how to farm the land. Upon learning the techniques of farming, Pocahontas told Smith that her father has informed her that she will be going to all of the many villages that he owned and collect the taxes of the people.

Smith knew that there was a chance now that the gold and silver would be found. Smith discovered where Chief Powhatan kept his treasures. He and a few men secretly left the fort and took small explosives. He remembered how the Powhatans reacted when they shot at the Indians. With this thought in mind, they left for the treasure house. There were three houses that were filled with treasures but Smith wasn't sure what kind of treasures he would find. He and the accompanying men, lit the explosives and watched the 'naturals' scatter. The men hurriedly made entry into the houses. Totem poles of creatures carved out of the wood and rows and rows of skins lined the houses. Food filled the homes. Each one was filled with Powhatan treasures but not gold and silver. As they ran for their lives, Smith was captured again. This time, the chief wanted his head and his scalp. There would be no mercy on the captain. Pocahontas knew she had to save him again but she didn't know how. Pocahontas managed to help him escape a certain death. She got him back to the fort safely.

Upon hearing Smith's escape, Chief Powhatan decided that Pocahontas would be married to the son of another chieftain of her people. She would marry Kokum. Kokum was merely a boy in a man's body. Not much is mentioned about him accept he met his deadly demise from Pocahontas' brother in law. It was rumored that Pocahontas' sister had an affair by Kokum and was murdered by the husband of her sister. There is no proof to back this claim up. Either way, Kokum mysteriously was struck down by an arrow.

Efforts to reunite the colonists with the Powhatans continued. Captain Newport brought gifts to the Powhatan chief. A royal crown, a greyhound dog, beaded jewels, and a bed for the chief. The colonists threw a vast party in honor of the chief. The chief was reluctant to come but was persuaded by his daughter to attend. When presented with the crown of royalty, the chief snubbed his nose at the gifts, claiming that he would not stoop his head to receive a crown. This posed a concern for Newport had orders to follow and they were strict orders. Place the crown upon the chief's head or else. One must remember, the Powhatans towered over the English. The captain tricked the chief and managed to place the crown on top of his head. The chief disapproved immensely and withdrew the crown. The colonists cheered as the chief looked on. He graciously accepted the gifts and in return, presented the captain with a coat made with brilliantly colored feathers. A mantle of feathers for this King James but no crown.

There were many failures for the colonists. They tried harvesting silk worms but the harsh elements killed their dreams. The silk worms were a complete failure. Soon they discovered tobacco. A large green leaf that was smoked when dried. It was unheard of in England. This could very well be a commodity in the New World. Finally, a way to become rich! Soon, their hopes were up and running. They had glass makers who came to the New World. Soon, they were flourishing as they had hoped to over a year ago. More and more colonists were coming to the New World. Men, women, and children were coming and settling in.

It is not known what happened to John Smith but he was hurt badly and was sent back to England. Word was sent to Pocahontas that Smith had gone back to England. Her heart was broken for she wasn't sure if she would ever see him again. Supposedly, she buried herself into collecting taxes for her father and becoming exactly as he had wished.

In 1613, Pocanhontas' brother sent for her. The word brought to Pocahontas was that the colonists needed her. She left immediately to the fort. Upon arriving, the Indian Princess, her brother (a chief), and a few warriors were invited to attend a feast in honor of the princess. As the feast slowly came to a close, Captain Argall, persuaded the lovely maiden to his cabin. It is not known what they discussed but as the sun began to set, Pocahontas told Argall that she needed to return back to the land. Argall told the unsuspecting princess that she had been taken prisoner and her brother betrayed her for a copper pot. Pocahontas was heart broken. Her new home would be in the tiny cabin below decks. Stench filled her room as tears plummeted to the dirty floors of her prison. She begged and pleaded that if she wasn't returned, then her father would wage war against the colonists. He didn't see it her way. A farmer was sent to tell the chief of his daughter. The chief knew that it was a ploy and he sent word back that there would be no negotiations. Pocahontas felt doomed. Argall knew that she couldn't stay on the ship forever. He and the acting governor, Sir Thomas Gates, arranged for the Indian Princess to live with Reverend Alexander Whitaker until the mighty chief came to his senses. Again, Pocahontas' world was about to change.



Pocahontas settled into her new lifestyle with the Reverend Alexander Whitaker and his wife. I am sure that if she wanted to escape, Pocahontas would've done so, after all, she knew the land better than the kind people who took her in.

The Reverend was amazed at the Indian Princess. He was excited how she took in the teachings of their God. She followed him and wanted to learn more about this God. The Reverend had hoped that through Pocahontas, he could spread the Bible and Christianity. Pocahontas was not accustomed to praying without giving some type of sacrifice to the gods that she prayed to. In her land, her people who offer up animals to appease their gods. One of these gods that the Powhatans were mostly afraid of was called 'Okeus' or the Devil God. Pocahontas often made daily sacrifices to the devil god to keep from having the Powhatan priests from sacrificing a child or an infant. The other god that the Powhatans prayed to was called 'Ahone' or also known as the Sky/Water Goddess. The colonists that lived within the fort were amazed how she adapted to her new surroundings. As her faith of the Bible grew, Pocahontas let her feelings be known. She actually enjoyed living among the colonists. She wore their clothes, helped with chores, and taught the women of the fort how to use herbs and spices of Virginia. As time grew on, runners from Chief Powhatan were allowed to give her messages. Her father knew that no harm would come to his daughter so he basically left her there. I am sure that he did miss her but I believe that he felt they would release her and with this, the mighty chief could learn more about the colonists.

During her duration of living with the Reverend, a visitor came to visit often. This man was known as John Rolfe. The Reverend had invited him often to his home and there they talked about plans of increasing the size of the colony. Pocahontas learned what happened on the way back to the New World. A terrible storm had capsized a ship and most of the people were lost in Bermuda. Among those people, was John Rolfe's wife and infant daughter. Day after day, it was evident the love that Pocahontas and Rolfe shared. Rolfe was nothing more than a commoner while he fell deeply in love with the Princess, he knew that they could never be united in marriage. Their ranks and stations did not permit such actions. They finally professed their love for each other. Pocahontas sent a messenger to her father. She wanted his blessing to be married to the man she fell in love with, John Rolfe. On the day of Pocahontas' baptism, the chief gave his blessing but swore he wouldn't attend the wedding. As Pocahontas was baptized, she was given the name 'Lady Rebeka'. Pocahontas felt she had to leave her old life behind her and begin her own life as a colonist. She would never forget her roots nor her people.

The marriage of the beautiful Indian Princess and the colonist named John Rolfe was a major turning point in both the Powhatans and the colonists. Here was the chance to finally unite both of the peoples together and hopefully they could live together as one. For Pocahontas' dowry, Chief Powhatan released 1,000 acres of land to her. He knew in his heart that he lost his daughter forever and this began to take a major toll upon the Indian King. Nothing would ever be the same again. Nothing.

A few months after the marriage of the two people, Pocahontas became pregnant with a child. This child offered more promises to the colonists. An agreement could be reached and all live in harmony. The chief was overjoyed at the news of a grandchild. His heart lightened at the thought of his favorite daughter becoming a mother.

The child was named Thomas Rolfe and he was accepted by both people. John Rolfe and Pocahontas wanted to raise him the English way and have their son go to the finest schools of England. She also wanted him to know his other people. This would be important in the future.

A year has passed since the marriage of the famous couple. Now it was time for her to be diplomatic in a foreign land. Pocahontas, John Rolfe, and their son was to set sail for England within a few weeks. Pocahontas visited her father for the last time and he sent forth his best warriors and women to accompany his daughter and grandson to England.

Upon their arrival, Pocahontas was mortified over the stenches that filled her nose. It was a common practice to pierce oranges with cloves to help ward off the smells. England received the beautiful woman and her enterauge with open arms. Her calendar filled quickly. There would be dances, parties, and meeting of important figure heads. She had hopes of persuading the nobles that the people of the New World would be able to live in harmony with her people. She won the heart of the King and the rest of the nobles. Pocahontas was also scared that she would run into John Smith. It is not known whether or not they actually met again. Some say yes, others say no.

As Pocahontas, John Rolfe, their tiny child, and the rest of the Powhatans were getting ready to leave Gravesend, England. Pocahontas was struck down with TB. At this time, the disease ran wild in England. Pocahontas died in March of 1617. She was buried in a tiny church in Gravesend, England. She never got to see her beloved homeland again. The sweet smells of honeysuckle that grew wild would never fill her lungs again. She would never see her beloved father either.

Upon hearing the news of his beloved daughter's death, the mighty chief succumbed to a life of being a hermit. He stepped down and let his brother take over as chief of the Powhatans. The mighty Chief Powhatan died a year later. He still left Pocahontas' dowry to his grandson, Thomas.

In the year of 1622, a terrible massacre took place. Over 300 colonists were murdered at the hands of the new leader of the Powhatans but needless to say, the the slaughter of both sides proved to be fruitless. They both lost.

Thomas lost his father to this terrible massacre. He went to live with relatives in England until he was old enough to reclaim the inheritance that his grandfather and his mother had left him. In 1635, Thomas returned to Jamestown. Thomas kept close ties with his Indian relatives but chose to take an English wife.

It is said that John Smith returned to Jamestown in 1619 but was heartbroken over the death of the powerful woman who sacrificed her life so that others may live. John Smith died in 1631. A bachelor.

So as you see, a brave young girl fought to secure this great land that we now have come to know as the United States. Without her help, there is no telling what might have happened. In my eyes, it was Pocahontas who sacrificed before *Sacagawea did. Pocahontas opened up a pathway for more expeditions to the New World. It was the colonists of 1607 and not the **Mayflower Colonists who had the first Thanksgiving.

The church yard that Pocahontas was buried in, had burned to the ground. Her body was moved but no one seems to know where she is. Many people have taken up causes to find and bring her back home. One of these people is Wayne Newton, an international singer. Though she may be buried in England, our Powhatan Princess will remain forever in our hearts.

*NOTE: Sacagawea led the Lewis and Clarke expedition in 1804. She was also a famous Shoshone Indian woman. Exactly 197 years *after* Pocahontas' adventures and travels.

**NOTE: The May Flower was said to arrive in the New World between 1620 and 1630. It sailed to the New World a total of 3 times. The Susan Constant, the Discovery, and the Godspeed arrived at Point Comfort in 1607. 13 - 23 years prior to the May Flower colonists.

***Author's Note: I believe the very first Thanksgiving celebration was Pocahontas' baptism and her marriage to John Rolfe. It is said that the Powhatans brought venison, wild fowl such as duck, turkey, fresh seafood such as crabs and oysters to the marriage and baptism of Pocahontas. The death of Pocahontas was in 1617 while the supposed first Thanksgiving was in 1621. Pocahontas had already been married to a white man, given birth to a child, baptized way before the Mayflower thought about feasting with the Native Americans.

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