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Jamestown, Virginia

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Published on Sep 1, 2014

The Jamestown settlement in the Colony of Virginia was the first permanent English settlement in the Americas. William Kelso says Jamestown "is where the British Empire began,... this was the first colony in the British Empire." Established by the Virginia Company of London as "James Fort" on May 4, 1607 (O.S., May 14, 1607 N.S.), and considered permanent after brief abandonment in 1610, it followed several earlier failed attempts, including the Lost Colony of Roanoke. Jamestown served as the capital of the colony for 83 years, from 1616 until 1699.
The settlement was located within the country of Tsenacommacah, which was administered by the Powhatan Confederacy, and specifically in that of the Paspahegh tribe. The natives initially welcomed and provided crucial provisions and support for the colonists, who were not agriculturally inclined. Relations with the newcomers soured fairly early on, leading to the total annihilation of the Paspahegh in warfare within 3 years. Mortality at Jamestown itself was very high due to disease and starvation, with over 80% of the colonists perishing in 1609-1610 in what became known as the "Starving Time".


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