John Smith and a group of men, who were sponsored by the Virginia Company of London, were the founders of the state of Virginia. This colony was founded in May of 1607, and Jamestown became the first permanent British settlement in North America. The colony was named in honor of Queen Elizabeth I.
The conditions for these first settlers were harsh, and 8 months after arriving in Virginia, only 60 out of 214 men were still alive. The colony's population did increase after the arrival of new settlers in 1608, but many people continued to die from the harsh conditions.
Around 1613, tobacco became a cash crop grown as a profitable source of income for the settlers and the Virginia Company. Africans began arriving in 1619.