Jamestown Chronology

Significant Events in Jamestown's History

1570-1  Spanish Jesuits set up a mission on the York River,  a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay. Within six months, the Spaniards were killed by local Indians.

1585-7  Three separate voyages sent English explorers and settlers to the coast of what is now North Carolina, then known as Virgiria. John White, who was governor of a colony on Roanoke Island and had gone back to England for supplies, returned in 1590 and found no trace of the settlers.

1607  On May 13, nearly five months after departing from England, an expedition of 104 colonists arrived at a site on the James River selected for settlement. The group was sponsored by the Virginia Company of London, whose investors hoped to make a profit from the resources of the New World. The group named their settlement for King James I.

1608  Captain Christopher Newport, commander of the 1607 Jamestown expedition who had sailed back to England, returned to Virginia in January with settlers and goods. It was the first of a series of regular arrivals in the colony. John Smith was elected president of the governing council in the fall. Smith left for England the next fall (1609) to recover from a wound caused by a gunpowder explosion and never returned to Virginia.

1611  Elizabeth City and Henrico were established, marking the beginning of expansion beyond Jamestown.

1613  Pocahontas, a daughter of Powhatan, powerful leader of 30-some Indian tribes in coastal Virginia, was kidnapped by the English.

1614  The first sample of tobacco cultivated by John Rolfe was shipped to England by this time. Tobacco was the “golden weed” that ensured the economic survival of the colony. Pocahontas married John Rolfe after being baptized in the Anglican Church, and an eight-year period of peace between the English colonists and Powhatan Indians ensued.

1617  Pocahontas died in England.

1619  The first representative legislative assembly in British America met at Jamestown on July 30. The first documented people of African origin in Virginia arrived in late summer aboard an English ship flying Dutch colors.

1620  The Plymouth colony was established in Massachusetts.

1624  King James revoked the charter of the Virginia Company, and Virginia became a royal colony.

1699  The capital of Virginia was moved from Jamestown to Williamsburg.