Virginia, (1585-1685): adventure, war and tobacco in the first American colony

This course explores the problems of founding a new society in the Americas during the earliest years of English adventurism. The course begins, chronologically, with the earliest voyages to the North American mainland, the adventurism of Sir Walter Raleigh and the settlements on Roanoke Island, the relationship with the Powhatan Confederacy, and the Lost Colony. It then moves its attention to the Virginia Company and the settlement of Jamestown, and explores the different experiments by successive governors - John Smith and Sir Thomas Dale in particular - to build an stable and workable community. It looks at the introduction of tobacco and the state of trade and the switch towards a plantation economy and society using slave labour with the concomitant fall of the Company. Finally it explores the problems of proprietary government, and ends with the governorship of Sir William Berkeley and the rebellion by small-scale planters under Nathaniel Bacon.