Joint Stock Company: A business owned by investors through control of stocks. Examples operated in England and dealt with colonial markets in America. Such companies organized and supported the colonies through charters from the British government and while they worked with the government they made private profits.
Jamestown: The first successful settlement in the Virginia colony founded in May, 1607. Harsh conditions nearly destroyed the colony but in 1610 supplies arrived with a new wave of settlers. The settlement became part of the Virginia Company of London in 1620. The population remained low due to lack of supplies until agriculture was solidly established. Jamestown grew to be a prosperous shipping port when John Rolfe introduced tobacco as a major export and cash crop.
starving time: The period early in any settlements development when food and supplies are scarce due to lack of preparation, unfamiliarity with the surroundings, weather, and inability to successfully grow crops. The starving time usually cost a large percentage of the settlers lives and lasted for the first few years.
John Smith: Colonial leader who brought structure and stability to Jamestown during its starting years. As a member of the governing council of Virginia he was chosen to replace the previous president in 1608. Smith is credited with organizing trade with the Powhatan Confederacy and leading the colony through its roughest years.
John Rolfe: English colonist and farmer who greatly aided the colony. Rolfe is credited with introducing tobacco as a crop for export, which ensured the colony of profits as well as bringing eight years of peace between Indians and colonists through his marriage to Pocahontas.
purpose of Virginia: Virginia was founded primarily for the purpose of profit by the joint-stock owned Virginia Company of London. It was also important in giving England territorial claims in America to match Spanish and French expansion, and to also give England markets and resources in the New World.
indentured servants: People who promised their lives as servants in order to get to the colonies. The servants, who were usually white, worked for a certain amount of time so to pay off their debt. This practice led to social tensions with such eruptions as Bacon’s Rebellion and eventually was replaced by race slavery.
problems and failures of Virginia: Included trouble with Indians and a "starving time" in the winter of 1609 which the colony barely survived. Virginia also suffered from debt, a high death rate, fraudulent local officials, and more Indian trouble. The problems eventually made the Virginia Company go bankrupt.
headright system: System enacted first in Virginia then in Baltimore to attract people to the sparsely populated colonies. The system worked by granting large amount of land to anyone who brought over a certain amount of colonists. In Baltimore, anyone bringing five adults at their own expense would receive two thousand acres.
House of Burgesses: A regular assembly of elected representatives that developed in the Virginia colony in the 1630’s. The House of Burgesses was split into two chambers in 1650, creating the House of Burgesses and the Governors Council. The House was a bicameral legislature that was a model for our congress.
successes of Virginia: Virginia succeeded politically in terms of creating the House of Burgesses as a semi-democratic assembly and forcing governors to cooperate with the legislature. They did this through the power of the purse as governors did not control money, and therefore depended on the legislature for they salaries.
Cavalier: The group of supporters of Charles I in the English Civil War which lasted from 1642-1648. The term Cavalier continued to be used to mean any supporter of the British crown, especially Americans who were British sympathizers during the American Revolution.
Bacon’s Rebellion: Colonial rebellion against the governor of Virginia in 1676. Nathaniel Bacon was the leader of the uprising protesting Governor Berkeley’s neglect of calls for a stronger military presence in the frontier to end problems caused by Indian hostility. The revolt succeeded in driving away the governor and it appeared it would achieve success when Bacon died shortly after the initial success before any progress was made and the rebellion dissipated.