What Is the Historical Significance of the Jamestown Settlement?

The Jamestown settlement in present-day Virginia was the first settlement under the charter granted to the Virginia Company by King James I. The Virginia Company settlers made land on Jamestown Island on May 14, 1607. The settlement grew and eventually held the first English representative assembly in North America.

Captain Bartholomew Gosnold led the settlers to build a colony on Jamestown Island because it was in a position where Spanish ships would be unable to attack easily; however, Indians attacked the settlement within days of the landing. After surviving the attack, the people began to build a rudimentary fort.

In 1609, the fort suffered a gunpowder explosion, which injured Captain John Smith, the man tasked with helping to supply the settlement with goods from England. The settlement barely made it through the following winter due to a lack of supplies, Indian raids and the harsh weather; only 60 settlers survived into the spring of 1610. In June, a ship from England finally arrived, bringing with it fresh supplies and a new governor, Lord De La Warr.

Additionally, the colony was known for being associated with the Native American Pocahontas and her father Chief Powhatan. She married the tobacco farmer John Rolfe in 1614.