Early in the 16th century, Spanish explorers were the first recorded Europeans to see the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay (which the Spanish called Bahía de Madre de Dios or Bahía de Santa Maria.) They named the land now known as Virginia, as Ajacán.
In 1561, an expedition sent by Ángel de Villafañe captured a Virginia Indian boy from the Chesapeake Bay region and took him to Mexico. The boy was instructed in the Catholic religion and baptized Don Luis, in honor of Luis de Velasco, the Viceroy of New Spain. The Spanish took the native youth to Madrid, Spain, where he had an audience with the King, and received a thorough Jesuit education. Some Dominicans heading for Florida as missionaries took Don Luis with them, stopping at Havana, where they abandoned their plans for Florida.
In 1570, Father Juan Bautista de Segura, Jesuit vice provincial of Havana, had just withdrawn the Jesuit missionaries from Guale and Santa Elena. He wanted to found a mission in Ajacán without a military garrison, which was unusual. Despite his superiors' concerns, they gave him permission to found what was to be called St. Mary's Mission.
In August 1570, Father Segura, Father Luis de Quirós, former head of the Jesuit college among the Moors in Spain, and six Jesuit brothers set forth from their base in Havana to found an Ajacán Mission. A Spanish boy Alonso de Olmos, called Aloncito, also accompanied the priests. Don Luis went with them to serve as their guide and interpreter. They stopped at Santa Elena for provisioning.
On September 10, the party of ten landed in Ajacán, on the north shore of one of the lower Chesapeake peninsulas. The Spaniards constructed a small wooden hut with an adjoining room where Mass could be celebrated.
Recent findings suggest that the St Mary's Mission they founded may have been in the village of Axacam on the New Kent side of Diascund Creek, near its confluence with the Chickahominy River.
The Jesuit crew that journeyed to the Chesapeake in the early fall of 1570 consisted of Segura; the neophyte Don Luis; Father Luis de Quire's; Brothers Gabriel Gomez, Sancho Zaballos, and Pedro Mingot de Linares; lay catechists Cristobal Redondo, Gabriel de Solis, and Juan Baptista Mendez and Alonso de Olmos, the young son of a Santa Elena colonist. They traveled to Ajacan, Don Luis's former home, with no soldiers and only two priests with previous proselytizing experience. Segura chose his crew deliberately, omitting military personnel and jaded veteran priests, both groups that he blamed for previous missionary failures.
Segura and his followers sailed into the Chesapeake Bay and up what would later be deemed the James River. Their ship anchored, and the crew came ashore on September 10, 1570. Members of the native population promptly celebrated the return of Don Luis. Segura, confident in seemingly amicable relations with the natives, dispatched the nonreligious members of the Spanish crew. Segura asked the ship's pilot to deliver his initial report to Cuban Treasurer Juan de Hinistrosa. His correspondence requested that King Philip II provide the missionaries with additional food supplies. As soon as the Spanish leader received the Jesuit letter, he sent Captain Vincente Gonzales with provisions to Ajacan. In his letter, Segura also gave explicit instructions for Spanish supply ships coming to the area. Native sentinels camped out along the James River would signal any European vessel they spotted and guide the ship to a location where further identification could be determined.
As soon as Gonzales and his crew sailed up the James in the spring of 1571, they spotted a group of natives wearing the missionaries' clothes and encouraging the Europeans to come ashore. Gonzales realized that Segura's instructions were not being followed and seized two natives for interrogation. He learned that two months earlier Don Luis and the Ajacan Algonquians had slain all of the Jesuits except for the boy Olmos. The Spanish supply ship immediately left the Chesapeake, and Gonzales informed his superiors of the Jesuit deaths. Menendez oversaw a visit to Ajacan a year and a half later in which the Spanish reacquired Olmos and killed several natives. That same year, 1572, the Society of Jesus gave up missionizing in the North American Southeast.'
Question: by the time the Jamestown settlers arrived in the same area, Don Luis would be around 50 years old. Possibly having been abducted to begin with, he has been to Mexico, the Caribbean and even Spain, where he received a Jesuit education. His people murdered the Jesuit who came to settle along the James River and also witnessed the Spanish retaliation for their murders. They have now seen Spanish ships on the Chesapeake bay and the James River. How would this later affect the reception of the English, 35 years later? Would Don Luis also still be alive 35 years later?
From Eastward Hoe, a Play by George Chapman, Ben Jonson, and John Marston
Eastward Hoe was performed by the Children of Her Majesty's Revels (one of whose shareholders would later be secretary of the Jamestown colony) at the Blackfriars theater in London sometime after Christmas 1604. The play's ridicule of Scots (not a good idea, since James I of England had been James VI of Scotland first) earned the Roman Catholic Jonson a second stay in prison, which evidently helped him see the true light of the Anglican Church.2 The plot of the comedy borrows heavily from the story of the Prodigal Son, but our concern is with the second scene of the third act, in which a blowhard "Captain" seduces two Londoners with fantastic stories of the fabulous riches of Virginia.'
The English had yet to establish a successful foothold in America. The aggressive expansionism of Elizabeth had been replaced with the cautious pacifism of James, and Virginia expeditions were becoming something of a joke. That includes the expedition now known as the Lost Colony, to which the play refers, albeit by the wrong date. Details aside, the mention shows that the mystery of the colonists' fate occupied a place in the English consciousness; they were lost, but not forgotten.
From Act 3, Scene 2
Enter Seagull, Spendall, and Scapthrift in the Tavern with a Drawer.
Seagull: Come Drawer, pierce your neatest hogshead, and let's have cheer, not fit for your Billingsgate Tavern, but for our Virginia Colonel; he will be here instantly.
Drawer: You shall have all things fit, sir; please you have any more wine?
Spendall: More wine, slave? Whether we drink it or no, spill it, and draw more.
Scapthrift: Fill all the pots in your house with all sorts of liquor, and let 'em wait on us here like soldiers in their pewter coats; and though we do not employ them now, yet we will maintain 'em, till we do.
Drawer: Said like an honorable captain; you shall have all you can command, sir.
Seagull: Come, boys, Virginia longs till we share the rest of her maidenhead.
Spendall: Why, is she inhabited already with any English?
Seagull: A whole country of English is there, man, bred of those that were left there in '79. They have married with the Indians, and make 'em bring forth as beautiful faces as any we have in England. And therefore the Indians are so in love with 'em, that all the treasure they have, they lay at their feet.
Scapthrift: But is there such treasure there, Captain, as I have heard?
Seagull: I tell thee, gold is more plentiful there than copper is with us. And for as much red copper as I can bring, I'll have thrice the weight in gold. Why, man, all their dripping pans, and their chamber pots are pure gold; and all the chains, with which they chain up their streets, are massie [massive] gold. All the prisoners they take are fettered in gold; and for rubies and diamonds, they go forth on holidays and gather 'em by the seashore, to hang on their children's coats, and stick in their caps, as commonly as our children wear saffron-gilt brooches, and groats [kernels] with holes in 'em.
Scapthrift: And is it a pleasant country withal!?
Seagull: As ever the sun shine on, temperate and full of all sorts of excellent viands. Wild boar is as common there as our tamest bacon is here; venison, as mutton. And then you shall live freely there, without sergeants, or courtiers, or lawyers, or intelligencers ... Then for your means to advancement, there, it is simple, and not preposterously mixed: you may be an alderman there, and never be scavenger; you may be a nobleman, and never be a slave; you may come to preferment enough, and never be a pander; to riches and fortune enough, and have never the more villainy, nor the less wit.
Spendall: Gods me! And how far is it thether?
Seagull: Some six weeks' sail, no more, with any indifferent good wind. And if I get to any part of the coast of Africa, I'll sail thether with any wind. Or when I come to Cape Finister, there's a fortnight wind continually wafts us till we come at Virginia.'
The Virginia Company, a pair of English joint stock companies, is chartered by King James I on 10 Apr 1606. The two companies, called the "Virginia Company of London" (or the London Company) and the "Virginia Company of Plymouth" (or Plymouth Company) operated with identical charters but with differing territories. By the terms of the charter, the London Company was permitted to establish a colony of 100 miles square between the 34th parallel and the 41st parallel (approximately between Cape Fear and Long Island Sound).
The Virginia Company of London outfitted 3 ships to establish a colony, the 120 tonne "Susan Constant" (recent evidence has come to light indicating that the ship might bave been called the Sara Constant, misrecorded by early historians), the 50 tonne "Godspeed" and the 20 tonne "Discovery".
The voyage left December 20, 1606 and did not encounter any really severe problems. There were no ships lost and no fights with the Spanish. There was a depressing delay aboard ship, of 6 weeks duration, spent rolling to and fro in the English Channel waiting for favorable winds to sail in the needed South direction. There was the event during the voyage of Captain John Smith being charged wrongfully with concealing a mutiny. The ships took a southerly route stopping at several Caribbean Islands to which they stopped to refresh themselves. Not one colonist was lost to sickness on the voyage of 4 and 1/2 months. The ship first arrived at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay April 26, 1607.
19 Dec 1606 
On the 19 of December, 1606, we set sail from Blackwall, but by unprosperous winds, were kept six weeks in the sight of England; all which time, Master Hunt our preacher, was so weak and sick, that few expected his recovery.
As soon as land was in sight, sealed orders from the Virginia Company were opened which named Captain John Smith as a member of the governing Council of the Colony. On the voyage over, Smith had been placed under shipboard arrest, charged for "concealing a mutiny" by the aristocrat Wingfield. Smith had been scheduled to be sent back to Britain with Newport to answer this charge.
Upon arrival, the group then proceeded in their ships into the Chesapeake Bay to what is now called Old Point Comfort in the City of Hampton. In the following days, the ships ventured inland upstream along the James River seeking a suitable location for their settlement as defined in their orders. The James River and the initial settlement they sought to establish, Jamestown (originally called "James Cittie") were named in honor of King James I.
Smith so proved himself worthy when accompanying Captain Newport exploring the Powhatan Flu (River) up to Richmond (the Powhatan Flu would soon be called the James River), that a few weeks after arriving at Jamestown he was allowed to assume his seat on the council.
In 1606 Smith became involved with plans to colonize Virginia for profit by the Virginia Company of London, which had been granted a charter from King James I of England. The expedition set sail in three small ships, the Discovery, the Susan Constant and the Godspeed, on December 20, 1606. His page was a 12-year-old boy named Samuel Collier.
John Smith was apparently a troublemaker on the voyage, and Cap. Christopher Newport (in charge of the three ships) had planned to execute him upon arrival in Virginia. However, upon first landing at what is now Cape Henry on April 26, 1607, sealed orders from the Virginia Company were opened. They designated Smith to be one of the leaders of the new colony, forcing Newport to spare him.
26 April 1607 
At arrival in the Chesapeake Bay, a box containing the names of who will be leaders (also called Councilors) is opened. 7 persons are named to be in charge (called Councilors) Captain John Smith was one of the persons. Others are Captain Newport (who returns to England); John Ratcliff, George Kendall, Edward Maria Wingfield, Anthony Gosnold, John Marten. This Council elects Edward Maria Wingfield as president.
26 April 1607 
The six and twentieth of Aprill, about foure a clocke in the morning, we [unclear: descried] the Land of Virginia: the same day wee entred into the Bay of Chesupioc directly, without any let or hinderance; there wee landed and discovered a little way, but wee could find nothing worth the speaking of, but faire meddowes and goodly tall Trees, with such Fresh-waters running through the woods, as I was almost ravished at the first sight thereof. [They land in Virginia.]
At night, when wee were going aboard, there came the Savages creeping on all foure, from the Hills like Beares, with their Bowes in their mouthes, charged us very desperately in the faces, hurt Captaine Gabrill Archer in both his hands, and a sayler in two places of the body very dangerous. After they had spent their Arrowes, and felt the sharpnesse of our shot, they retired into the Woods with a great noise, and so left us.
27 April 1607 
The seven and twentieth day we began to build up our Shallop: the Gentlemen and Souldiers marched eight miles up into the Land, we could not see a Savage in all that march, we came to a place where they had made a great fire, and had beene newly rosting Oysters: when they perceived our comming, they fled away to the Mountaines, and left many of the Oysters in the fire: we ate some of the Oysters, which were very large and delicate in taste.
What is a Shallop?
In the 1600s, the word "shallop" referred to an open wooden workboat such as a barge, dory, or rowboat. Shallops were small enough to row but also had one or two sails.
Captain John Smith's shallop could carry 15 men. It was probably about 30 feet long and 8 feet wide. It drew less than 2 feet of water, which was important for navigating the shallow waters of the Chesapeake Bay and many of the tributaries. Like most English boats of the period, the shallop was built of oak planks fastened together with wooden pegs. It had at least one mast and one or two sails made of hemp canvas.
Like a barge, a shallop could carry heavy cargos in shallow water. John Smith described his boat as "open barge neare three tuns burthen" which meant it could carry up to three tons of cargo. Its exact shape and style remain a mystery.
Made in England
In modern terms, this is an early example of "prefab." The colonists had the foresight to bring with them from England a small boat for coastal explorations. Captain John Smith wrote that the boat was dismantled into "portions easy to be fit together" and carried across the Atlantic in the hold of a larger ship. When the colonists arrived at Jamestown in 1607, they assembled the boat in two days and were ready to go.
28 April 1607 
The eighteenth [eight and twentieth] day we launched our Shallop, the Captaine and some Gentlemen went in her, and discovered up the Bay, we found a River on the Southside running into the Maine; we entered it and found it very shoald water, not for any Boats to swim: wee went further into the Bay, and saw a plaine plot of ground where we went on Land, and found the place five mile in compasse, without either Bush or Tree, we saw nothing there but a Cannow, which was made out of the whole tree, which was five and forty foot long by the Rule. Upon this plot of ground we got good store of Mussels and Oysters, which lay on the ground as thicke as stones: wee opened some, and found in many of them Pearles. Wee marched some three or foure miles further into the Woods, where we saw great smoakes of fire. Wee marched to those smoakes and found that the Savages had beene there burning downe the grasse, as wee thought either to make their plantation there, or else to give signes to bring their forces together, and so to give us battell. We past through excellent ground full of Flowers of divers kinds and colours, and as goodly trees as I have seene, as Cedar, Cipresse, and other kindes: going a little further we came into a little plat of ground full of fine and beautifull Strawberries, foure times bigger and better than ours in England. [Strawberries.]
All this march we could neither see Savage nor Towne. When it grew to be towards night we stood backe to our Ships, we sounded and found it shallow water for a great way, which put us out of all hopes for getting any higher with our Ships, which road at the mouth of the River. Weerowed over to a point of Land, where wee found a channell, and sounded six, eight, ten, or twelve fathom: which put us in good comfort. Therefore wee named that point of Land, Cape Comfort. [Point Comfort]
29 April 1607 
The nine and twentieth day we set up a Crosse at Chesupioc Bay, and name that place Cape Henry. Thirtieth day, we came with our ships to Cape Comfort; where wee saw five Savages running running on the shore. Presently the Captaine caused the shallop to be manned, so rowing to the shoare, the Captaine called to them in signe of friendship, but they were at first very timersome, until they saw the Captain lay his hand on his heart: upon that they laid down their Bowes and Arrowes, and came very boldly to us, making signes to come a shoare to their Towne, which is called by the Savages Kecoughtan. [Kecoughtan]
Wee coasted to their Towne, rowing over a River running into the Maine, where these Savages swarm over with their Bowes and Arrowes in their mouthes.
When we came over to the other side, there was a many of other Savages which directed us to their Towne, where we were entertained by them very kindly. When we came first a Land they made a dolefull noise, laying their faces to the ground, scratching the earth with their nailes. We did thinke that they had beene at their Idolatry. When they had ended their Ceremonies, they went into their houses and brought out mats and laid upon the ground, the chiefest of them sate all in a rank: the meanest sort brought us such dainties as they had, & of their bread which they made of their Maiz or Gennea wheat, they would not suffer us to eat unlesse we sate down, which we did on a Mat right against them. After we were well satisfied they gave us of their Tabacco, which they tooke in a pipe made artificially of earth as ours are, but far bigger, with the bowle fashioned together with a piece of fine copper. After they had feasted us, they shewed us, in welcome, their manner of dancing, which was in this fashion: one of the Savages standing in the midst singing, beating one hand against another, all the rest dancing about him, shouting, howling, and stamping against the ground, with many Anticke tricks and faces, making noise like so many Wolves and Devils. One thing of them I observed; when they were in their dance they kept stroke with their feet just one with another, but with their hands, heads, faces, and bodies, every one of them had a severall gesture: so they continued for the space of halfe an houre. When they had ended their dance, the Captaine gave them Beades and other trifling Jewells. They hang through their eares Fowles legs: they shave the right side of their heads with a shell, the left side they weare of an ell long tied up with an artificiall knot, with a many of Foules feathers sticking in it. They goe altogether naked, but their privities are covered with Beasts skinnes beset commonly with little bones, or beasts teeth: some paint their bodies blacke, some red, with artificiall knots of sundry lively colours, very beautifull and pleasing to the eye, in a braver fashion than they in the West Indies.
29 April 1607 
[this disagrees with the timeline slightly, and metnions that the English were hurt during their encounter with the "savages"] The first land they made they called Cape Henry; where thirty of them recreating themselves on shore, were assaulted by five savages, who hurt two of the English very dangerously.
That night was the box opened, and the orders read, in which Bartholomew Gosnol, John Smith, Edward Wingfield, Christopher Newport, John Ratliff, John Martin, and George Kendall, were named to be the council, and to choose a president among them for a year, who with the council should govern. Matters of moment were to be examined by a jury, but determined by the major part of the council, in which the president had two voices.
Apr/May 1607 
Now falleth every man to work, the council contrive the fort, the rest cut down trees to make place to pitch their tents; some provide clapboard to relade the ships, some make gardens, some nets, etc. The savages often visited us kindly. The president's overweening jealousy would admit no exercise at arms, or fortification but the boughs of trees cast together in the form of a half moon by the extraordinary pains and diligence of Captain Kendall.
04 May 1607 
While exploring the James River, the English party first make contact with the Paspahegh, enjoy a feast with them, and listen to, but are unable to understand, an oration by the Paspahegh weroance, Wowinchoppunck.
04 May 1607 
The fourth day of May, we came to the King or Werowance of Paspihe: where they entertained us with much welcome;
[A long oration] an old Savage made a long Oration, making a foule noise, uttering his speech with a vehement action, but we knew little what they meant. Whilst we were in company with the Paspihes, the Werowance of Rapahanna came from the other side of the River in his Cannoa: he seemed to take displeasure of our being with the Paspihes: he would faine have had us to come to his Towne, the Captaine was unwilling; seeing that the day was so far spent he returned backe to his ships for that night.
05 May 1607 
The next day, being the fift of May, the Werowance of Rapahanna sent a Messenger to have us come to him. We entertained the said Messenger, and gave him trifles which pleased him: Wee manned our shallop with Muskets and Targatiers sufficiently: this said Messenger guided us where our determination was to goe. When wee landed, the Werowance of Rapahanna came downe to the water side with all his traine, as goodly men as any I have seene of Savages or Christians: the Werowance coming before them playing on a Flute made of a Reed, [A Flute made of a Reed.] with a Crown of Deares haire colored red, in fashion of a Rose fastened about his knot of haire, and a great Plate of Copper on the other side of his head, with two long Feathers in fashion of a paire of Hornes placed in the midst of his Crowne. His body was painted all with Crimson, with a Chaine of Beads about his necke, his face painted blew, besprinkled with silver Ore as wee thought, his eares all behung with Braslets of Pearle, and in either eare a Birds Claw through it beset with fine Copper or Gold, he entertained us in so modest a proud fashion, as though he had beene a Prince of civill government, holding his countenance without laughter or any such ill behaviour; he caused his Mat to be spred on the ground, where hee sate downe with a great Majestie, taking a pipe of Tobacco: the rest of his company standing about him. After he had rested a while he rose, and made signes to us to come to his Towne: Hee went formost, and all the rest of his people and our selves followed him up a steepe Hill where his Palace was settled. Wee passed through the Woods in fine paths, having most pleasant Springs which issued from the Mountaines: Wee also went through the goodliest Corne fieldes that ever was seene in any Countrey. When wee came to Rapahannos Towne, hee entertained us in good humanitie.
08 May 1607 
The eighth day of May we discovered up the River. We landed in the Countrey of Apamatica, at our landing, there came many stout and able Savages to resist us with their Bowes and Arrowes, in a most warlike manner, with the swords at their backes beset with sharpe stones, and pieces of yron able to cleave a man in sunder. Amongst the rest one of the chiefest standing before them crosselegged, with his Arrow readie in his Bow in one hand, and taking a Pipe of Tobacco in the other, with a bold uttering of his speech, demanded of us our being there, willing us to bee gone. Wee made signes of peace, which they perceived in the end, and let us land in quietnesse.
12 May 1607 
The twelfth day we went backe to our ships, and discovered a point of Land, called Archers Hope, which was sufficient with a little labour to defend our selves against any Enemy. The soile was good and fruitfull, with excellent good Timber. There are also great store of Vines in bignesse of a mans thigh, running up to the tops of the Trees in great abundance. We also did see many Squirels, Conies, Black Birds with crimson wings, and divers other Fowles and Birds of divers and sundrie collours of crimson, Watchet, Yellow, Greene, Murry, and of divers other hewes naturally without any art using.
We found store of Turkie nests and many Egges, if it had not beene disliked, because the ship could not ride neere the shoare, we had setled there to all the Collonies contentment.
13 May 1607 
The thirteenth day, we came to our seating place in Paspihas Countrey, some eight miles from the point of Land, which I made mention before: where our shippes doe lie so neere the shoare that they are moored to the Trees in six fathom water.
13 May 1607 
104 intended colonists, men and boys (no women) land at an island that they would come to call Jamestown (named after their King James) located on the Powhatan River as was initially called- this river they would later rename the James River.
14 May 1607 
One hundred and four men come ashore and build a tent camp. They would later call this first settlement "James Fort," then "James Towne" and later "James Citie." The site offers a harbor that is deep enough for the colonists' ships and secluded from the view of any Spanish ships that might be offshore. However, it is also swampy, infested with mosquitoes, and lacks sufficient fresh water sources. After eight months there will be only thirty-eight people left alive.
14 May 1607 
The English begin their occupation of Jamestown Island, an island in Paspehegh territory where Indians sometimes camped, though they did not have permanent habitations. The English begin building a defensive fort on the island. A few days later, two well-dressed and highly decorated Paspehegh messengers arrive at the fort to announce that their weroance would soon be paying them a visit, and bringing a "fat Deare" with him.
14 May 1607 
The fourteenth day we landed all our men which were set to work about the fortification, and others some to watch and ward as it was convenient. The first night of our landing, about midnight, there came some Savages sayling close to our quarter: presently there was an alarum given; upon that the Savages ran away, and we not troubled any more by them that night. Not long after there came two Savages that seemed to be Commanders, bravely drest, with Crownes of coloured haire upon their heads, which came as Messengers from the Werowance of Paspihae; telling us that their Werowance was comming and would be merry with us with a fat Deare.
18 May 1607 
Wowinchoppunck and one hundred armed men visit Jamestown fort. According to George Percy's 1608 account, Wowinchoppunck indicated that he would grant the settlers "as much land as we would desire to take," although later historians contend that it is highly dubious that he would have said any such thing. The Paspahegh leave in anger after a violent dispute over an English hatchet.
18 May 1607 
The eighteenth day, the Werowance of Paspihae came himselfe to our quarter, with one hundred Savages armed, which garded him in a very warlike manner with Bowes and Arrowes, thinking at that time to execute their villainy. Paspihae made great signes to us to lay our Armes away. But we would not trust him so far: he seeing he could not have convenient time to worke his will, at length made signes that he would give us as much land as we would desire to take.
[Land given. These Savages are naturally great theeves.] As the Savages were in a throng in the Fort, one of them stole a Hatchet from one of our company, which spied him doing the deed: whereupon he tooke it from him by force, and also strooke him over the arme: presently another Savage seeing that, came fiercely at our man with a wooden sword, thinking to beat out his brains. The Werowance of Paspiha saw us take to our Armes, went suddenly away with all his company in great anger.
19 May 1607 
Percy and three or four other settlers explore the woods on foot and discover a nearby Paspahegh village; they receive gifts of tobacco, but return to the fort quickly after they see an armed brave suddenly plunge into the woods, probably to notify Wowinchopunk.
19 May 1607 
The nineteenth day, my selfe and three or foure more walking into the Woods by chance wee espied a path-way like to an Irish pace: wee were desirous to knowe whither it would bring us; wee traced along some foure miles, all the way as wee went, having the pleasantest Suckles, the ground all flowing over with faire flowers of sundry colours and kindes, as though it had beene in any Garden or Orchard in England. There be many Strawberries, and other fruits unknowne: wee saw the Woods full of Cedar and Cypresse trees, with other trees, which issues out sweet Gummes like to Balsam: wee kept on our way in this Paradise, at length wee came to a Savage Towne, where wee found but few people, they told us the rest were gone a hunting with the Werowance of Paspiha: we stayed there a while, and had of them Strawberries, and other things; in the meane time one of the Savages came running out of his house with a Bowe and Arrowes and ranne mainly through the Woods: then I beganne to mistrust some villanie, that he went to call some companie, and so betray us, wee made all the haste away wee could: one of the Savages brought us on the way to the Wood side, where there was a Garden of Tobacco, and other fruits and herbes, he gathered Tobacco, and distributed to every one of us, so wee departed.
20 May 1607 
Forty Paspahegh braves arrive at the fort with a deer for feasting; they engage in target practice for the English, demonstrating that their bows were capable of piercing wood, but not steel.
20 May 1607 
The twentieth day of Werowance of Paspiha sent fortie of his men with a Deere, to our quarter: but they came more in villanie than any love they bare us: they faine would have layne in our Fort all night, but wee would not suffer them for feare of their treachery. One of our Gentlemen having a Target which hee trusted in, thinking it would beare out a slight shot, hee set it up against a tree, willing one of the Savages to shoot; who tooke from his backe an Arrow of an elle long, drew it strongly in his Bowe, shoots the Target a foote thorow, or better: which was strange, being that a Pistoll could not pierce it. Wee seeing the force of his Bowe, afterwards set him up a steele Target; he shot again, and burst his arrow all to pieces, he presently pulled out another Arrow, and bit it in his teeth, and seemed to bee in a great rage, so hee went away in great anger.
[Their arrowes.] Their Bowes are made of tough Hasell, their strings of Leather, their Arrowes of Canes or Hasell, headed with very sharpe stones, and are made artificially like a broad Arrow: other some of their Arrowes are headed with the ends of Deeres hornes, and are feathered very artificially. Paspiha was as good as his word; for hee sent Venison, but the Sawse came within few dayes after.
At Port Cotage in our Voyage up the River, we saw a Savage Boy about the age of ten yeeres, which had a head of haire of a perfect yellow and a reasonable white skinne, which is a Miracle amongst all Savages. [Yellow haired Virginian. River of Pohatan.]
This River which wee have discovered is one of the famousest Rivers that ever was found by any Christian, it ebbes and flowes a hundred and threescore miles where ships of great burthen may harbour in safetie. Where-soever we landed upon this River wee saw the goodliest Woods as Beech, Oke, Cedar, Cypresse, Wal-nuts, Sassafras and Vines in great abundance, which hang in great clusters on many Trees, and other Trees unknowne, and all the grounds bespred with many sweet and delicate flowres of divers colours and kindes. There are also many fruites as Strawberries, Mulberries, Rasberries and Fruits unknowne, there are many branches of this River, which runne flowing through the Woods with great plentie of fish of all kindes, as for Sturgeon, all the World cannot be compared to it. In this Countrey I have seene many great and large Medowes, [Low marshes] having excellent good pasture for any Cattle. There is also great store of Deere, both Red and Fallow. There are Beares, Foxes, Otters, Bevers, Muskrats, and wild beasts unknowne.
20 May 1607 
The foure and twentieth day wee set up a Crosse at the head of this River, naming it Kings River, where we proclaimed James King of England to have the most right unto it. When wee had finished and set up our Crosse, we shipt our men and made for James Fort.
[ Wee came downe the River.] By the way wee came to Pohatans Towre where the Captaine went on shore suffering none to goe with him, hee presented the Commander of this place with a Hatchet which hee tooke joyfully, and was well pleased.
But yet the Savages murmured at our planting in the Countrie, whereupon this Werowance made answere againe very wisely of a Savage, Why should you bee offended with them as long as they hurt you not, nor take any thing away by force, they take but a litle waste ground, which doth you nor any of us any good.
I saw Bread made by their women which doe all their drugerie. The men takes their pleasure in hunting and their warres, which they are in continually one Kingdome against another.
26 May 1607 
First bloodshed is due to Indian attack by nearby Paspahegh Indians (about 200 is claimed to have attacked) who colonists kill two colonists and wound ~ ten others). Few Indians are killed. They are scared off by cannon and musket fire from the Susan Constant.
26 May 1607 
While half of the English party is away with Captain Newport exploring upriver in Weyanoke, Appomattoc, Arrohattoc and Powhatan territory, a combined force of 400 Paspahegh, Quiockahannock, Weyanoke, Appomattoc and Chiskiack assault the fort. They withdraw upon receiving English gunfire; at least 3 Indians and 1 colonist are killed, with several wounded on both sides. Indian raiding and harassment continues for a week or two as the English hasten to complete their fort.
26 May 1607 
President Wingfield successfully repulsed a fierce, hour-long attack on Jamestown, leading from the front. Outnumbered 3:1 - with but 130 men and boys - he drove off 400 native warriors. "...And our President, Mr. Wynckfeild (who showed himself a valiant Gentleman), had one shot clean through his beard, yet 'scaped hurt" [escaped being injured], wrote Archer. Percy also called Wingfield "a true, valiant gentleman".
26 May 1607 
Newport, Smith, and twenty others, were sent to discover the head of the river: by divers small habitations they passed, in six days they arrived at a town called Powhatan, consisting of some twelve houses, pleasantly seated on a hill; before it three fertile isles, about it many of their cornfields, the place is very pleasant, and strong by nature, of this place the Prince is called Powhatan, and his people Powhatans. To this place the river is navigable: but higher within a mile, by reason of the rocks and isles, there is not passage for a small boat, this they call the falls. The people in all parts kindly entreated them, till being returned within twenty miles of Jamestown, they gave just cause of jealousy: but had God not blessed the discoverers otherwise than those at the fort, there had then been an end of that plantation; for at the fort, where they arrived the next day, they found 17 men hurt, and a boy slain by the savages, and had it not chanced a cross bar shot from the ships struck down a bough from a tree among them, that caused them to retire, our men had all been slain, being securely all at work, and their arms in dry fats.
Hereupon the president was contented the fort should be pallisaded, the ordnance mounted, his men armed and exercised: for many were the assaults, and ambuscades of the savages, and our men by their disorderly straggling were often hurt, when the savages by the nimbleness of their heels well escaped.
What toil we had, with so small a power to guard our workmen by day, watch all night, resist our enemies, and effect our business, to relade the ships, cut down trees, and prepare the ground to plant our corn, etc., I refer to the reader's consideration.
Six weeks being spent in this manner, Captain Newport (who was hired only for our transportation) was to return with the ships.
26/7 May 1607 
That night passing by Weanock some twentie miles from our Fort, they according to their former churlish condition, seemed little to affect us, but as wee departed and lodged at the point of Weanocke, the people the next morning seemed kindely to content us, yet we might perceive many signs of a more Jealousie in them then before, and also the Hinde that the King of Arseteck had given us, altered his resolution in going to our Fort, and with many kinde circumstances left us there. This gave us some occasion to doubt some mischiefe at the Fort, yet Captaine Newport intended to have visited Paspahegh and Tappahanocke, but the instant change of the winde being faire for our return we repaired to the fort withall speed, where the first we heard was that 400. Indians the day before assalted the fort, & surprised it, had not God (beyond al their expectations) by meanes of the shippes at whom they shot with their Ordinances and Muskets), caused them to retire, they had entred the fort with our own men, which were then busied in setting Corne, their armes beeing then in driefats & few ready but certain Gentlemen of their own, in which conflict, most of the Counsel was hurt, a boy slaine in the Pinnas, and thirteene or fourteene more hurt[.] With all speede we pallisadoed our Fort: (each other day) for sixe or seaven daies we had alarums by ambuscadoes, and foure or five cruelly wounded by being abroad: the Indians losse wee know not, but as they report three were slain and divers hurt.
15 June 1607 
The triangular James Fort walls are essentially completed
15 June 1607 
The paramount chief Powhatan (Wahunsunacock) announces a ceasefire, causing Paspahegh raids to cease abruptly.
22 June 1607 
Christopher Newport sets sail back for London, loaded with "treasure"--fool's gold and dirt
June 1607 
In June 1607, a week after the initial Fort at Jamestown was completed, Newport sailed back for London on the Susan Constant with a load of pyrite ("fools' gold") and other supposedly precious minerals, leaving behind 104 colonists, and the tiny Discovery for the use of the colonists. The Susan Constant, which had been a rental ship that had customarily been used as a freight transport, did not return to Virginia again.
June 1607 
Being thus left to our fortunes, it fortuned that within ten days scarce ten among us could either go, or well stand, such extreme weakness and sickness oppressed us. And thereat none need marvel, if they consider the cause and reason, which was this.
While the ships stayed, our allowance was somewhat bettered, by a daily proportion of biscuit, which the sailors would pilfer to sell, give, or exchange with us, for money, sassafras, furs, or love. But when they departed, there remained neither tavern, beer house, nor place of relief, but the common kettle. Had we been as free from all sins as gluttony, and drunkenness, we might have been canonized for Saints; but our president would never have been admitted, for ingrossing to his private, oatmeal, sack, oil, aquavitse, beef, eggs, or what not, but the kettle; that indeed he allowed equally to be distributed, and that was half a pint of wheat, and as much barley boiled with water for a man a day, and this having fried some 26 weeks in the ship's hold, contained as many worms as grains; so that we might truly call it rather so much bran than corn, our drink was water, our lodgings castles in the air.
With this lodging and diet, our extreme toil in bearing and planting pallisades, so strained and bruised us, and our continual labor in the extremity of the heat had so weakened us, as were cause sufficient to have made us as miserable in our native country, or any other place in the world.
From May, to September, those that escaped, lived upon sturgeon, and sea-crabs, fifty in this time we buried, the rest seeing the president's projects to escape these miseries in our pinnace by flight (who all this time had neither felt want nor sickness) so moved our dead spirits, as we deposed him; and established Ratcliff in his place, (Gosnol being dead) Kendall deposed. Smith newly recovered, Martin and Ratcliff was by his care preserved and relieved, and the most of the soldiers recovered with the skillful diligence of Master Thomas Wotton our surgeon general.
But now was all our provision spent, the sturgeon gone, all helps abandoned, each hour expecting the fury of the savages; when God the patron of all good endeavors, in that desperate extremity so changed the hearts of the savages, that they brought such plenty of their fruits, and provision, as no man wanted...
November, 1607 
The Paspehegh return an English boy who had run away, confirming their intentions are no longer hostile. Faced with starvation, the settlers turn to the neighboring tribes, including the Paspehegh, for help, buying small amounts of corn from them on three occasions. However, John Smith wrote of one of these occasions in ungrateful terms, calling the Paspahegh a "churlish and treacherous nation."[
December, 1607 
While exploring the Chickahominy country, Smith stumbles upon a huge communal hunting party of several Powhatan subtribes, including the Paspehegh, being led by Opechancanough, brother of the paramount chief Powhatan. Smith is captured and taken around Powhatan territory as an involuntary guest, eventually meeting the paramount chief, who orders the English to leave Paspahegh territory. He suggests they take up residence at Capahosic, a satellite village near his own capital Werowocomoco, where he would provide them food and security in exchange for metal tools. Smith promises to comply, and is released on January 1, 1608.
December, 1607 
December 12 (some say 16th) - Smith departs leading a food-gathering expedition up the Chickahominy and is ambushed by hundreds of Indians in the woods who kill two of his men. Smith ties his Indian guide to his arm and uses him as a shield as he fights back killing two Indians and wounding three others. Smith becomes stuck in an icy swamp and is captured. Taken before Powhatan's brother Opechancanough, Smith shows him his compass. He is given an Indian test to find out if he is worthy to live. Smith passes the test then is taken to a dozen villages over the next two weeks. Then Smith is taken to Powhatan's village, Werowocomoco, on the York River.
Two weeks later, Captain John Smith is brought before Powhatan, There Chief Powhatan, ruler of 34 subservient Indian tribes, receives him. Soldiers who served with Smith will publish the story of how beautiful 11-year-old princess Pocahontas (Matoaka) saved Captain John Smith from death. She did this by covering his head with her own to prevent Smith from having his brains beaten out by braves with clubs.
December, 1607 
Regarding Pocahontas (Matoaka) - James Smith wrote: "at the minute of my execution, she hazarded [i.e. risked] the beating out of her own brains to save mine; and not only that, but so prevailed with her father, that I was safely conducted to Jamestown".
2 Jan 1608 
Smith returns from Powhatan's camp accompanied by 2 Indians to take back 2 guns Smith had promised Powhatan. Smith offers the 2-ton demiculverins, immovable by the Indians, and in demonstration loads the cannon with rocks and blasts an icicle-filed tree--much to the Indians' shock.
As evidenced by the tree episode, it is bitter cold, and the situation at the fort is deperate. Only 38 of the original 105 colonists remain. Some are about to leave for home on the tiny Discovery, but Smith aims one of the fort's cannons at the ship and and threatens to blow it out of the water.
Smith is accused of causing the deaths of his men; is deposed from his position, tried, and condemned to hang
8 Jan 1608 
[Some sources record this date as 2 Jan 1608] The urgently-needed First Supply mission arrived in Jamestown on January 8, 1608. The two ships under Newport's command were the "John and Francis" and the Phoenix. However, despite replenishing the supplies, the two ships also brought an additional 120 men, so with the survivors of the initial group, there were now 158 colonists, as recorded later by John Smith. Accordingly, Newport left again for England almost immediately, to make an additional trip and bring even more supplies.
7 Jan 1608 
[most sources agree that the fire took place just after the first supply mission arrived, so I am placing it here] FIRE. Hope [reference to the supply ships] turns to desperation. Almost the whole town of thatch/wattle houses goes up in flames; everyone's clothes are burned, leaving colonists little protection during one of the century's most frigid winters.
Spring, 1608 
An uneasy alliance concluded with chief Powhatan in the winter - during which time he saved the English from starvation by sending them regular supplies of corn - begins to fall apart, when the English are seen to be conducting military drills outside their fort in the Spring. Paspahegh harassment and filching tools at the fort then resumes, causing the English to take eight of them prisoner; the Paspahegh responded by taking two Englishmen who wandered outside the fort as their own prisoners. The same night, the colonists escalated hostilities, raiding and burning the nearby Paspahegh villages. At this, Wowinchopunk released the two Englishmen, but the English only released one Paspahegh, keeping the rest until chief Powhatan sent a gift of corn along with his own young daughter, Pocahontas, to plead for their return.
20 April 1608 
The lost supply ship, the Phoenix, commanded by Francis Nelson, arrives at Jamestown with forty more settlers and supplies