Virginia Memory, Library of Virginia


Jamestown experienced the "Starving Time."
By October 1609, about four hundred new colonists, weakened by disease and battered by bad weather en route, arrived at Jamestown. The inhabitants quickly consumed the colony's small food supply, and during the ensuing winter, known as the "Starving Time," privation and sickness reduced the population from approximately five hundred colonists to only sixty.
James I issued the second Virginia Company Charter.
On 23 May, James I issued a second charter to the Virginia Company of London, providing that the settlement at Jamestown be governed by one governor rather than by a council.
Thomas West, baron de la Warre, arrived in Virginia.
On 10 June, the Jamestown colonists set out for Newfoundland. By fate, they met the ship of Thomas West, baron de la Warr, sailing up the James River with desperately needed supplies. The settlement was saved.
Lt. Gov. Thomas Gates arrived in Virginia.
In May, Lieutenant Governor Thomas Gates and additional colonists arrived at Jamestown and greeted the few survivors. The continuing famine, persistent disease, and repeated Indian attacks convinced the colonists to abandon their outpost.
John Smith's map of Virginia was published in London.
John Smith's map Virginia. Discovered and Described by Captain John Smith, Graven by William Hole, 1608, printed in the pamphlet A Map of Virginia. With a Description of the Countrey, the Commodities, People, Government and Religion, was published in England. Based on Smith's three-month survey in 1608, it was the first detailed map of the Chesapeake Bay region. The map also showed the Native American towns and groups encountered during the voyage.
James I issued the third Virginia Company Charter.
By the provisions of its third charter, issued on 12 March, the Virginia Company was to be managed by a treasurer and a Council and by a majority vote of its stockholders at quarterly meetings in London.
Pocahontas was kidnapped by the English.
Colonists kidnapped Pocahontas to force the return of several captured colonists and weapons. Chief Powhatan eventually returned most of the colonists and some of the weapons, and instructed the English to treat his daughter well.
Pocahontas married John Rolfe.
About 5 April, Pocahontas, having been baptized and christened Lady Rebecca, married John Rolfe.
John Rolfe shipped the first market-quality tobacco crop.
After several experiments with native Virginia tobacco as well as with the West Indian plant Nicotiana tabacum, John Rolfe shipped the colony's first market-quality tobacco crop to England. By 1616 the colony's tobacco exports totaled twenty-three hundred pounds; by 1618 exports reached approximately forty-six thousand pounds.
The first Anglo-Powhatan War ended.
The Indians and colonists reached a peace agreement, concluding five years of persistent hostilities known as the First Anglo-Powhatan War.
Pocahontas went to England.
In the spring, Pocahontas sailed with John Rolfe and their son, Thomas, to England, where she was presented to James I and feted by London society. Set to return to Virginia, she died on 21 March 1617 from an undetermined illness and was buried at the Thames River port of Gravesend.
The "Great Charter" of Virginia established the headright system.
On 18 November, James I issued the so-called "Great Charter" of the Virginia Company. It authorized several important reforms, including the distribution of free land to colonists with seven years' residence. The company also offered to persons paying their own or another's passage to the colony the rights to fifty acres of land, thereby greatly increasing immigration through a system of "headrights." The charter authorized the election of a representative assembly as well.
Berkeley Hundred colonists were instructed to hold an annual thanksgiving.
On 4 December, Captain John Woodleif and thirty-five colonists arrived at Jamestown en route from England to Berkeley Hundred on the James River. They had instructions from the 3 that the anniversary of the day of their arrival at Berkeley Hundred should be observed every year as a day of thanksgiving. This is the earliest record providing for an annual thanksgiving in what became the United States. Whether the few colonists who survived until December 1620 celebrated is not known.
"20. and odd Negroes" arrived in Virginia.
Late in August, a Dutch warship carrying "20. and odd Negroes" arrived at Point Comfort. John Rolfe's January 1620 letter mentioning the event is the earliest known dated reference to persons of African origin in Virginia.
Virginia's first General Assembly meets.
From 30 July to 4 August, Virginia's General Assembly met in Jamestown; it marked the birth of the first representative legislative body in the New World.
About 250 women arrived in Virginia.
About 250 women arrived in Virginia, sent by the 3 as prospective wives for the colonists.
James I banned tobacco cultivation in England.
On 29 June, James I banned tobacco cultivation in England, thus effectively awarding the 3 a monopoly on the production of tobacco for sale in England.
Indians raid Virginia settlements, killing more than 300 colonists.
On 22 March, in a series of well-coordinated early morning attacks, Indians under the leadership of Opechancanough raided multiple Virginia settlements. More than three hundred colonists—one-sixth the English population—died. Hundreds more died the following year from famine or disease. The event marked the start of the Second Anglo-Powhatan War (1622–1632).
James I revokes the charter of the Virginia Company of London.
On 24 May, James I revoked the charter of the bankrupt and discredited Virginia Company of London.
John Smith published the first book containing the Pocahontas narrative.
John Smith published the first of his several editions of The Generall Historie of Virginia, New-England, and the Summer Isles, chronicling his remarkable exploits since 1584 amid "Adventurers, Planters, and Governours." The volume also included the first narrative of his rescue by Pocahontas.