Wednesday, February 19, 2014

1619 - First African slaves landed at Jamestown

Spring 1619 - While he sails up the Mauritius River (Hudson) to Fort Nassau, captain Hendrick Christiaensen is attacked by Indians aboard the Swarte Beer. He is killed as well as most of the crew. Five sailors manage however to repel the Indians with gunshots. They are rescued 3 weeks later by captain Adriaen Joris Thienpont of Vlissingen (Zeeland) whose small boat cruises in the area.
The Indians who had welcomed the newcomers with concern had become for at least two years increasingly suspicious toward the commercial war in which were engaged the Dutch. Relationship was severely degraded to the point that exchanges were not any more made on the ground but on boats. Deeply hurt by a behavior they regard as contempt, these did not any more hesitate to show hostility. It is in this context that Christiaensen suffered reprisals.
The Swarte Beer having only undergone a few damage, Thienpont took her in tow and just kept his track sailing up the river. He took advantage of it to exchange a part of the shipcargo for skins, shared a part of the supplies with his men and sold the rest to a crew coming back from East Indies. 
He returned then aboard the Swarte Beer to Vlissingen where he fell within the scope of proceedings at the request of Lambert Van Tweenhuysen and the owners of the ship, claiming to have been harmed in this case.
Born in Kleve, Hendrick Christiaensen had been during a few years the second of Adriaen Block and it is with him that he had founded Fort Nassau, intending to develop pelts trade with Indians. He had made at least 11 trips between the Holland and North America.

April 9, 1619 - Further to Samuel Argall's dismissal, Nathaniel Powell is appointed Acting Governor meanwhile George Yardley's coming. 

April 18, 1619 - , George Yardley is back in Virginia to take his new duties as governor. He is commissioned to reorganize the activities of the colony, draw up a settlement and land reform, build a middle school at Henrico and to hold a first "General assembly". These instructions are often called the "Great Charter".

He traveled aboard the George together with several young couples and their children. Few families had still made the decision to emigrate to Virginia. The first settlers had often come alone, preferring to let their wife and children in England, the time to provide for proper installation. Others were young people of good family but penniless, pushed to the adventure for lack of being at the right place in the birth order. There were finally many poor emigrants, mostly single, who had signed a multi-year contract of indentured service with the Virginia Company or a private plantation.
[July 30, 1619] [October, 1621]

April 22, 1619 - The Sampson arrives at Jamestown with 50 new settlers on board, among whom captain John Ward.

April 27, 1619 - The Marygold commanded by captain Evans arrives at Jamestown. It has aboard Christopher Lawne and his associates baronet Richard Wolsey, gentlemen Nathaniel Basse, John Hobson, Anthony Olevan, Richard Wisemen, Rober Newland, Robert Guner, William Willis and a hundred new settlers who have to move to Lawne Creek's plantation founded the previous year on the Island of Wight, on the south bank of the James River.

April 28, 1619 - After evaluating the results of a decade without any profit for his investors, Sir Edwin Sandys organizes the sling of the shareholders and takes Thomas Smythe's place at the head of the Virginia Company.

This coup was the start of several internal dissension years.
[May 17,1620]

July 30, 1619 - the House of Burgesses, met in the choir of the church of Jamestown, is the first elected assembly in America. Its first decision is to set the price of tobacco to 3 shillings at least a pound.

After getting the recall of the deputy governor Samuel Argall, accused of tyranny, the parliamentary leader Sir Edwin Sandys had acquired the control of the Virginia Company and, therefore, decided to organize the first representative assembly of the colony. This one took the name of House of Burgesses and consisted at the origin of governor George Yardley and 22 delegates representing each settlement (two representatives by settlement). The governor was now directly approved by the colonial owner, namely the Virginia Company.
It is in this time that Virginia was divided into 4 "cities": Henricus City (now Henrico County), Charles City, James City and Elizabeth City (now Newport News and Hampton counties).
The first meeting lasted only 6 days, interrupted by the sudden appearance of a malaria epidemic.

August 1, 1619 - a Dutch ship carrying African slaves arrives in Jamestown.

Dutch sailors were in this time many to attend Chesapeake Bay in order to collect tobacco but it was the first time that one of them brought slaves. These came from Angola and had been provided to the Dutch by a Spanish ship. They included 17 men and 3 women who had been raped by the crew members during the trip. The Dutch exchanged them against tobacco.
The Spaniards, settled in Florida, practiced from their part slavery since at least 1581
August 20, 1619 - the first African slaves are bought by settlers in Jamestown.
John Rolfe writes in his newspaper " at the end of August came a Dutch warship that sold us twenty Negroes ".

The slaves were immediately put to work in tobacco plantations but benefited from the status of indentured and were freed once settled their debt.

November, 1619 - captain Thomas Dermer lands at Cape Cod. He brings with him Squanto, the member of the Nauset tribe captured five years earlier by captain Thomas Hunt and sold as slave on the market of Malaga.

Fearing to be attacked again by Europeans, the Nausets reserved Dermer a particularly hostile welcome before they realize that Squanto was with him.

Thomas Dermer (Plymouth c.1590 - Virginia 1621) had joined, for the first time, John Smith in 1614 when he went to draw a coastal map of New England. He was also a friend of the governor of Newfoundland John Mason and was involved with him in fishing and exploration of the island's resources. It is during a trip to Newfoundland that he met Squanto and asked him to become his interpreter. He convinced Sir Ferdinando Gorges of the interest to develop an effective cooperation with the Indians and making use the talents of Squanto. The proposal strongly interested Gorges who offered Dermer the responsibility for a new expedition. This one suitably carried out his prospecting work but chose to stay in America and settled down in Long Island from where he continued to send regularly to Gorges rock samples for analysis. He died in Virginia from the many wounds inflicted by Indians.

November 17, 1619 - the Virginia Company approves the project to send to Jamestown a hundred young women to marry planters, in exchange for 120 pounds of tobacco corresponding to the travel cost.

The Company officials thought that Plantations could never flourish without real families including women and children, only able to contribute to their development and rooting. The recruitment criteria required young women to be rather attractive and have some education. Each of them also received a letter of recommendation from an employer or a clergyman, proving her virtue and honesty. Such a provision was for the Company a guarantee of respectability towards the planter she would choose to marry.

All in all, not less than 1261 new settlers will have landed in Virginia this year, including a hundred apprentices.

1619 Nanapashemet, Great Sachem of the Massachusetts Federation is killed by Tarratines in his Rock Hill (today Medford) stronghold.

Who benefited this crime? This asks questions considering the geopolitical situation in a region clearly dominated in the mid-1610s by the rising power of the Massachusetts Federation over people used to intercine rivalries. History made Nanapashemet the unfortunate victim of terrible Tarratines but what could hide behind what was eventually a manhunt. We are indeed struck by the fact that he had become the target of some personal enemies nebula, envious of his power to the point of making alliances, including the most unlikely, to achieve their purposes. Based further north,  Tarratines, so dreaded although considered very civilized referring to their friendly relationship with the French, could actually seeking revenge from him after he actively supported the Penobscot  against them but such a tough resentment could seem almost outsized. They lost their best warriors, their wives were taken captive, regrettable but frequent in tribal conflicts. They were not farmers but their lands were a haven for fishermen and hunters, they benefited moreover lucrative trade agreements while pelts war had not yet begun. 
Who could blame this point Nanapashemet? One can easily imagine that it was a kind of settling of scores although nothing, under Nanapashemet’s ruling would have implied, at face value, a radical opposition. As a clear-sighted Sachem, he was at the head of a powerful federation, enemies of which were as many as scattered. Forced to leave hurriedly his coastal residence, he had to take refuge in Rock Hill where he protected himself behind a wall, feeling an impending threat despite a force about 3000 warriors. It looks strange however that he seemed to have been alone to face Tarratines whose anger knew in contrast no respite. These had however no interest in establishing their dominance over the federation and once committed their crime, disappeared as quickly as they had come, as if their mission had been accomplished. Passaconaway, posthumously his son-in-law and initially a secondary leader was undoubtedly the one who got a good part in the deal once become Sachem of the Pennacook, a first order contact after the Massachusetts federation failure. Nanapashemet’s widow Squaw Sachem didn't lack guts and tried to maintain the unity of her people but the dismantling of the federation was already underway. Local leaders like Chickataubet in Wessaguset or Obatinua in Boston would not recognize her authority, preferring for the second to swear allegiance to the Wampanoag while her three sons saw more interest to come to terms with the English than to persist in a cause they knew losing.

December 4, 1619 - according to tradition, the settlers celebrate "Thanksgiving Day" for the first time in Virginia.

Taking place on 4th Thursday of November and in Canada on second Monday of October, this holiday is the opportunity to thank God by prayers and celebrations for the blessings he had given during the year.
Several versions have been raised about the origin of this American holiday and, in particular, its first celebration. Thanksgivings were at first harvest feasts or occasions to thank God for bountiful crops. For that reason, Thanksgiving takes always place in late fall, after the harvests storing.

December 4, 1619 - Having left Bristol on September 15, the Margaret arrives in Jamestown with on board 35 newcomers recruited by a group of investors with the aim of settling them down in a new 8000-acre plantation named Berkeley Hundred.

These investors were all shareholders of the Virginia Company hailing from Gloucestershire, including Sir William Trockmorton of Clowerwell, Sir George Yardley, the new governor of Virginia, Richard Berkeley of Stoke, George Thorpe of Wanswelle Court and John Smythe of North Nibley. The Berkeleys owned vast estates in Gloucestershire and had a long family tradition in navigation. They were moreover owners of several merchant ships docked in Bristol.
The project had matured the previous year and all these gentlemen had agreed to found a plantation in Virginia on the model of a domain in Gloucestershire. They had, for it, received the blessing of the Virginia Company and hired captain John Woodleefe to complete the operation. This was better organized than the previous adventures. The members of the Berkeley Company had planned to make carry tools, livestock, seeds and all supplies needed for a good installation. Only cloud on the horizon, the planters were few. They were mostly indentured servants. But other trips were planned to increase staffing because a plantation of this kind would normally accomodate a hundred families.

The James River

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