Tuesday, October 14, 2014

1624 - Virginia becomes a Royal Colony

Edward Winslow
January 1, 1624 - Captain Robert Cushman and Edward Winslow who were both among the Pilgrims of the Mayflower are granted by Edmund, Lord Sheffield a patent to found a colony at Cape Anne, a territory belonging to the Pawtuckets. Each newcomer will be rewarded with an acre of land near the town.

Cape Anne is a rocky peninsula located north of Massachusetts Bay. The first map was drawn up by John Smith who had then given it the name Cape Tragbigzanda. Having found it barbarous, king James called it himself Cape Anne in honor of his mother Anne of Denmark. The colony that was founded there in 1624 represented the third wave of colonization of New England after Plymouth and Nantasket. A small fishing post had been established the previous year by the John White's Dorchester Company. It would soon take the name of Gloucester. 
Two boats from England landed there 32 settlers among whom John Tilly and Thomas Gardner, both to oversee planting and fishing operations.

It is at the same time that a group of Pilgrims founded a settlement devoted to fishery at the mouth of York River, in a place called Agamenticus by local Abenaki.

March 1624 William Bradford is reelected governor of the Plymouth colony. It has then 180 people. 
The Charity arrives with on board the first livestock and Reverend John Lyford, sent by the English merchants to break the hegemony of the Separatists
John Lyford (1580-1634)
The first ordained minister to come to Plymouth, he left a controversial image due to his immoral behavior. He arrived in friend of the Separatist movement but his way of administering the sacraments could not long conceal that he was actually in the service of the Church of England. Shortly after his arrival, the leaders of the colony discovered that Lyford had written letters compromising their religious movement. William Bradford seized them before they were sent to England. Lyford was once forgiven claiming in his defence that the rules imposed by the Separatists slowed down the coming of new settlers. He wrote a new letter of the same kind which was also intercepted and was therefore banished from the colony just like the dissident John Oldham, his main support. Lyford also committed many times adultery when exercising his Ministery in Ireland and it was to escape certain proceedings that he had left for Plymouth. His past having eventually caught him up, he was expelled from the colony. 
He settled down one moment at Nantasket, the new colony founded byJohn Oldham then in Cape Anne before heading to Virginia where he died.

March 1624 - Governor Francis Wyatt and the Virginia Council orders the settlers to protect all the dwelling-houses with palisades and forbides all trade for corn after June with the Indians .

March 28, 1624 - 19-year-old George Harrison dies in Jamestown of his injuries after duelling with Richard Stephens.
Coming from Hertford, young George Harrison had arrived in Virginia in 1618. He fought against Richard Stepehens, a member of the House of Burgesses, the first duel to happen in Virginia. A post-mortem examination revealed however that his bad health was more repsonsible of his death than the wound he suffered in the leg.

April 10, 1624 - the Little James that liaises England to Plymouth sinks during a storm.

May, 1624 - the Nieuw Nederland a 260-ton Dutch vessel commanded by Cornelius Jacobs Mey reaches the mouth of the Hudson River with on board 34 Walloon families. There are 110 men, women and children led by Jesse De Forest, from Avesnes in Hainaut. Most are speaking French Walloon Protestants, natives of the Spanish Netherlands. A first group of slaves from Africa is also landed in the new colony. 

In order to occupy much territory as possible, captain Mey divided the group in several places on the coast (Governors Island (Noten Eyland), Long Island, Staten Island, the banks of rivers Connecticut (Versche Rivier) and Delaware (Zuyd Rivier) where they built Fort Wilhelmus and Fort Nassau). He sailed up the Hudson River (Noort Rivier) over more than 140 miles to the place where nearly ten earlier captain Adriaen Block had erected a small wooden fort called Fort Nassau.
This building located on a too often flooded island had been left in 1617 and had fallen in ruins when the first Dutch settlers landed. 
Mey decided to build a new one on land to which he gave the name of Fort Oranje (now Albany).
Reoccupy Fort Nassau become Fort Oranje was to prove a decisive strategic choice in trade relations between the Dutch settlers and the Iroquois. The latter saw finally for beaver trade a further exceptional opportunity as they were previously obliged to go either through Huron territories in the north or the Susquehannock lands in the South. A rivalry between the various nations would however lead to new entangling alliances mixing up the interests of the English and French colonial powers to basic needs of the Indian nations of which the war which was a part of their cultural anchoring would soon become a dangerously suicidal tool.

The Dutch who settled on Governors Island decided to base their new colony on tolerance, in accordance to the principles laid down in the constitution of the Union of Utrecht in 1579. They intended to welcome the Indians and non-believers while allowing them to fully exercise their freedom of conscience, shielded from any shape of persecution.

Wallon settlers just landed in the New Netherlands

The Dutch wanted to make the New Netherlands (Nieuw Nederland) an organized province and sent a group of families to settle down there. Holding for two years a charter that granted a trade monopoly with America, the Dutch West India Company imposed strict rules to the newcomers. They had to wear distinctive clothing and buy their supplies in the stores of the company. They had besides ban to make their own tools and could sell their products only to the company. They took the pledge to live in the colony for a period of at least 6 years and to settle only in places chosen by the company.

May 10,1624 - Secretary of the colony Edward Sharples is sentenced to be set on the pillori and have his ears cut after disclosing secrets of the governor and Council of Virginia.

May 24, 1624 - the charter granted  to the London Company of Virginia is revoked by King James 1 after 17 years of misfortune. Robert Rich, 2nd Earl of Warwick and other members of the company are bankrupt, partly because of their puritan sympathies.
It is likely that John Smith's attitude played a role in the king's decision because of his disputes. Smith opposed the tandem Sandys-Southampton who managed the Company under the pretext that they did not agree to recognize him as an expert of the colony and certainly because of the important benefits collected through the monopoly on tobacco. He had got closer to the Earl of Warwick, kin to the king, who had no sympathy for Sandys. After several months of internal struggles, the fate of the Virginia Company was definitively sealed and Smith could finalize his" General History of Virginia".

Spring, 1624 - John Oldham, known for his opposition to the governor, is banished from the Plymouth colony to have provided a noteworthy support to controversial Reverend John Lyford. He is expelled without notice and leaves with a group of disgruntled to found a settlement at Nantasket (today Hull), 30 miles North of Plymouth. He finds with him Roger Conant.

June 16, 1624 - Virginia becomes a Royal Colony. Since its foundation in 1607, 7289 people had immigrated in Virginia and 6040 died there of stravation, disease or infections contracted on the spot or during the trip.

Francis Wyatt, governor of Virginia since 1621 had allowed, by his wise and informed management, to insure little by little the development and prosperity of the colony. Envoys were sent to him to announce his dismissal but the decision was eventually canceled and he was confirmed in his duties by new king Charles 1st.

July, 1624 - the Pamunkey leader Otiotan and 800 Indian bowmen face a group of about sixty armed settlers. 

Otiotan had been chosen to rule the Powhatan Confederacy at the time when Opechancanough was seriously sick.
The English were preparing to battle but, knowing their inferiority, they operated a timely diversion by sending men to destroy the corn crops. This action sowed a real confusion among the Indians especially as they had planted large areas with the promise to supply the neighboring tribes that would join them. The expected fight was averted and the people had to resign themselves to wait for winter under the threat of a new new starvation.

September 15, 1624 - Sir Francis Wyatt, governor of Virginia is allowed to return to England further to the death of his father. Sir George Yardley takes the head of the colony in his absence.

Autumn, 1624 - the Plymouth colony produces for the first time enough food to escape the wintry starvation. They have now cows for milk and sometimes meat, but the settlers haven't yet enough resources from hunting or fishing to avoid malnutrition.

Edward Winslow publishes in London " Good News from New England, or a True Relation of Things Very Remarkable at the Plantation of Plymouth in New England ".

December 2, 1624 - the Virginia settlers win a landslide victory on the 800 Pamunkey warriors led by Chief Otiotan.

After two days of fighting, the English had only 16 killed while the Indians had lost many men. The corn collected to the Pamunkeys would allow to feed 400 people during a whole year.

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