In 1607, 104 Englishmen landed on the banks of the James River in Virginia and began to build the first permanent English colony in the New World. The settlers were unprepared for the blistering heat of the summers or the severe winters, and many did not survive the first year.
Jamestown struggled as a colony until 1612, when John Rolfe began growing tobacco. The success of the tobacco crop together with Rolfe’s later marriage to Pocahontas sustained England’s first colony.
Did you know:
- The first two English women arrived in Jamestown in 1608, and more would arrive in later years, but the Jamestown settlement consisted of mostly men for many decades.
- The United States’ earliest governing body was Jamestown’s seven-man council, in which one of the seven members was elected to serve as president.