Virginia Memory, Library of Virginia
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JAMES I

Introduction:

What connection did King James I have with Virginia?

Lesson Images

James I

James I, King of England, 1566–1625, a page in King James, His Counterblast to Tobacco, London, Printed for J. Hancock, 1672, Accession GT3020 .J35 1672a, Special Collections, Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia.

Standards Of Learning

USI.4, USI.5, VS.1, VS.3

Historical Information:

James I (1566–1625) was the King of Great Britain from 1603 until his death in 1625. The first English ruler from the House of Stuart, he succeeded Queen Elizabeth I after her death, and was the first British monarch to rule both England and Scotland. In 1606, James authorized the Virginia Company of London to found the Jamestown colony. The English successfully settled in Virginia, planting the foundation of Great Britain's American colonies and the future United States of America. This colonization enterprise was a moneymaking venture intended to boost the coffers of the Crown.

Lesson Activities

Vocabulary Words:

•  king—a man or boy who rules as a monarch over an independent state.

• prince—a man or boy in a royal family, especially the son of a reigning king or queen.

• colony—a country or area that is ruled by another country.

•  proprietorship—ownership of a commercial enterprise.

• crop—any group of plants grown by people for food or other use.

•  London—the capital of England.

•  Virginia Company of London—the stock company chartered by King James I in 1606 to establish colonies in North America.

Lesson Ideas:

• PICTURE ANALYSIS: What elements and objects are included in this image of King James?

♦ regalia—clothing and other objects worn by members of the nobility.

♦ robe—usually crimson or red. On top of this was placed a stole made of ermine (a stoat's white winter fur) and dotted with black sealskin.

♦ ruffs—a decorative or fancy collar that was fashionable in Europe during the 16th and 17th centuries.

♦ crown — “What does a crown mean?” It is a symbol of power, authority, nobility, immortality, and honor.

♦ orb (in his right hand and on his crown)—in Latin, globus cruciger, “cross-bearing orb.” This symbolizes Jesus Christ's rule of the world.

♦ scepter—staff or rod traditionally held by rulers.

• TIMELINE: Create a timeline of the life of King James I including important milestones in his life.

• MAPPING: Create a 2- or 3-dimensional map of Virginia, labeling each of the areas named for King James and his sons.

• MAPPING/ART: Design a travel brochure for Jamestown to be presented to King James as a publication to be used to encourage settlers to go to Jamestown.

• JOURNALING: Write “journal account” by King James about an imaginary week in his life.

• POETRY: Using the name JAMES I, write a poem about him with each letter in his name serving as the beginning of a descriptive adjective about the monarch.

• ART: Draw a comic book or storyboard representation depicting the life and accomplishments of King James I.

Research and Discussion Questions:

♦ Write a research paper on the life and accomplishments of King James I.

♦ Have the students research the king's view of tobacco, presented in his famous 1604 Counterblast to Tobacco. Did these views affect tobacco production in the colony?

♦ Research and report on the history of the Virginia Company and the instructions that were given by King James in the Virginia Charters.

♦ Looking at the portrait of James I, how would you describe his clothing? How is his attire different from the clothing worn by world leaders today? (Have the students compare and contrast King James's clothing to the clothing of the current president of the United States, using a contemporary photograph.)

♦ If you could describe the mood of the king in the picture, what words would you use? Does the king appear sad, happy, or pensive in the portrait? Why was the mood important to convey to the king's subjects?

Suggested Materials

Dwyer, Frank. James I: World Leaders Past & Present. (Juvenile) New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1988.

Fraser, Antonia. King James VI of Scotland, I of England. New York: Knopf, 1975.

Rose, Tessa. The Coronation Ceremony of the Kings and Queens of England and the Crown Jewels. London: HMSO, 1992.

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