Jamestown: Business venture or new beginnings?

Jamestown: Business venture or new beginnings? Jamestown was a huge undertaking. Creating a settlement to begin with takes lots of planning and money. The English, being a strong, unified and proud people had considerable unrealistic expectations of how to build a new colony in a relatively unexplored land. The expectation that this land would benefit them like the Spanish provided quite a shock when they found very few of these things. The antagonizing of the Powhatan Indians did little to further their interests in the area. Optimistically, they gave themselves a 7 year goal to get the colony established.

What they established was a business organization.

1. Sold shares

2. Received contributions

3. Organized lotteries to raise necessary funds (powerball 🙂

4 …and engaged in a full-scale advertising campaign to sell the potential glories of the land.

5. It took months for supplies from England to reach Jamestown.


Who were these people that arrived in Jamestown, colonists? Webster defines “colonists”: an inhabitant of or settler in a colony; a member of a colonizing expedition. They were “indentured servants” what voice did they have when they arrived? These Englishmen who first arrived in Virginia agreed to work for the Virginia Company for between 5 – 7 years.

If they found any gold or silver it would have belonged to the company. There was an incentive, those who signed on as indentured servants also received 1 (one) share in the company with the potential of receiving a dividend. These people (employees) put their trust in the Virginia Company. The indentured servants did not have a say so in running Jamestown (what political system, dictatorship?)

Jamestown: Business venture

In conclusion "success" can be described the following way. European merchants funneled into the America’s and the Native population an inventory of manufactured goods that included steel axes and knives, iron and copper kettles, spoons, fishhooks, needles and thread. Indian peoples accepted European goods because they made life easier, more comfortable, warmer, and more pleasurable.

Scissors and metal knives aloowed Indian women to fashion traditional clothing from hides and skins with greater ease and precision. Steel hatches surpassed stone axes, this exchange produced a success for the world. Here I am looking at "success" in economic terms

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