The Jamestown colony was founded by the Virginia Company in 1607. Named in honor of the virgin queen, Elizabeth I, the Virginia Company was a joint venture involving approximately 100 colonists. Leaders included Christopher Newport and John Smith.
The settlement had a number of different names in its early days, including James Forte and James Cittie, each named after the James River on which Jamestown was established.
The charter for the Virginia Company's transatlantic voyage and New World settlement was granted by King James I. The main objectives were to prospect for gold and silver, as well as to locate a waterway between the Atlantic and Pacific coasts that could serve as a trade route to East Asia.