Founding of Jamestown & The First Flag Flown

On May 14, 1607, a group of English settlers from the Virginia Company of London founded what became the first permanent English settlement in America. The settlement was established on the bank of the James River and was initially given the name of James Fort until it became a town in 1919. From 1616 until 1699, Jamestown was the capital of the Colony of Virginia.

This is a very important date in the history of the foundation of what would become the United States of America, but it is not a federal holiday.

History of Jamestown Founding

In December 1606, at the orders of King James I, three ships named Susan Constant, Discovery, and Godspeed set sail from England to establish a settlement in North America, after a failed attempt in 1590, with what became known as the lost colony of Roanoke. The fleet, led by Captain Christopher Newport, anchored on the James River on May 13, 1607, and passengers came off the ship the next day to begin building the settlement.

However, the piece of land the colonizers chose to found their settlement had very harsh conditions. The soil was too poor for agriculture, the island was a swamp plagued by mosquitoes, and the water was not safe to drink. At the same time, when the settlers arrived, Virginia was going through a severe drought. The fleet also consisted of rich gentlemen and their servants who, accustomed to the city life, were not built to do the hard labor needed to build a colony. Because of this, after a few months of arriving at the James River, 80% of the settlers were dead. Those who survived, ran for help and to live with the 14,000 Native Americans that had already settled on that land.

In 1608, ships were sent to the colony carrying supplies and Polish and German craftsmen who quickly helped with manufactories to help support the settlement. The arrival of more people, however, meant that again there were too many mouths to feed, and not enough food. With the help of Captain John Smith, the colonizers had a period of peace with the Native Americans, where they exchanged goods essential for survival. However, in 1609, Smith had to return to England and a period of warfare began between the colonists and Indians, which became known as "The Starving Time" as many English died from starvation.

First Flag Flown at Jamestown

The first official flag flown at the Jamestown settlement was the Kings Colors FlagThe King's Colors flag was one of the military colors used by British colonial troops after 1743. As the British Union Flag it was the standard raised by Jamestown settlers in 1607. The design originated when King James I of England combined the St. George Cross with the Scottish Cross of St Andrew.

Kings Colors Flag at Jamestown

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