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The first surviving English settlement in the New World, Jamestown became the capital of the Virginia Company of London’s colony of Virginia. The capital was later moved to Williamsburg, several miles up the James River. Virginia was named for Queen Elizabeth I, “The Virgin Queen”. A prior English settlement, “The Lost Colony”, was attempted by Sir Walter Raleigh in the late 16th century off the outer-banks coastline of North Carolina on Roanoke Island but it’s inhabitants mysteriously dispersed, dismantling their lodgings in their wake and leaving only the word “croatan” inscribed on a tree trunk as a message. Croatan was a local native tribe with which the colonists had had prior peaceful relationships.

Trivial Factoids

  • During the United State Civil War, the site of the original Jamestown colony was used as a Confederate fort. While excavating the ruins of the original colony, archaeologists had to discern between the various levels of hubris to document their findings.
  • Being that the island in located upon a major coastal waterway, portions of the original site have submerged into the clay below the modern waterline.
  • As the colony expanded, other developments grew around the original town, one of which was the “Martin’s Hundred” plantation which thrived on tobacco and other crops. The plantation was acquired by Robert “King” Carter in 1622 after it’s abandonment by the “Virginia Company of London” following the Indian Massacre of 1622. The Carter family, having ties to English royalty, is one of the original prominent Virginia families with ties to Revolutionary War leader and eventual Virginia Governor Henry “Light Horse Harry” III and his son General Robert E. Lee.

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