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History of the United States
American Revolution
Colonial America

Why was Jamestown Colony founded?

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January 19, 2010 3:16AM
In 1606, a group of London merchants formed a joint stock company to undertake a new venture. The London Company's charter, issued by King James I, outlined the organization of the company and defined its powers. It also gave the company permission to set up a colony within the area along the Atlantic coast known as Virginia.

Charter in hand, the company sent out three small shiploads of settlers in December 1606. All were men, for the colony was viewed as a trading post, not an agricultural community. The company would not make money sending people all the way to America to grow cabbages.

Gold was its goal, either stolen from the Native Americans or earned in some trade. The settlement might even serve as a way station in trade with China, if and when the northwest passage to the Pacific Ocean was ever found.