Jamestown - Timeline (Expand All)
Winter of 1609-10 is the "starving time" in Jamestown -- a period of terrible devastation for the colony. Three-quarters of the colonists die or escape to the Indians. George Percy would write in his Trewe Relacyon (1612) that "Now all of us att James Towne [began] to feele that sharpe pricke of hunger which noe man can trewly descrybe butt he which hath tasted the bitterness thereof." The colonists eat their animals, leather, and there are reports of cannibalism.
Early 1610: Sir Thomas West, Lord La Warr, is appointed Lord Governor and Captain General of Virginia, making Gates Lieutenant Governor.
Early 1610: "Instructions, orders and constitucions by way of advise sett downe, declared, propounded and delivered to the Right Honourable Sir Thomas West, Knight, Lord La Warr, Lord Governor and Capten Generall of Virginea . . . for his better disposinge and proceedinge in the government thereof." (Bemiss) [Display Quote]
Early 1610: Counseil for Virginia, True and Sincere Declaration of the purpose and ends of the Plantation begun in Virginia. London, 1610. The beginning of a public relations campaign aimed at stemming the damage done by the shipwreck of Gates and the others. (Brown 1, 337-53) [Display Quote]
Early 1610: Counseil for Virginia, A publication by the counsell of Virginea, touching the plantation there. London 1610. A response to the missing ships; a broadside calling for more recruits. (Brown I, 354-56) [Display Quote]
February 21, 1610: William Crashaw, A Sermon preached in London before the right honourable the Lord Lawarre, Lord Governour and Captaine Generall of Virginia . . . and the rest of the aduenturers in that plantation At the said Lord Generall his leaue taking of England his natiue countrey, and departure for Virginea. [running title: A New-yeeres Gift to Virginea] London, 1610. See Essay 6 by Elizabeth Wiggins. [Display Quote]
April 1, 1610: West leaves for Virginia.
May 21, 1610: Officially still governor, Sir Thomas Gates, shipwrecked on July 28, 1609, arrives with the Patience and Deliverance to find that only sixty of 500 colonists survived the "starving time." Gates institutes the new strict "military" regime embodied in Laws Divine, Moral and Martiall (compiled by William Strachey and published in 1612). (Force, Tracts, III, no. 2 -- Capital and the Bay collection of the American Memory Collection of the Library of Congress) (Ed. David H. Flaherty, Charlottesville: UP of Virginia, 1969) [Hide Quote]
3 That no man blaspheme Gods holy name upon paine of death, or use unlawful oathes, taking the name of God in vaine, curse, or banne, upon paine of severe punishment for the first offence so committed, and, for the second, to have a bodkin thrust through his tongue, and if he continue the blaspheming of Gods holy name, for the third time so offending, he shall be brought to a martiall court, and there receive censure of death for his offence.
June 7, 1610: Finding the devasted condition of the colony hopeless, Gates abandons Jamestown, only, three days later, to meet his new superior Thomas West, Lord De La Warr, at sea; West orders everybody to return.
July 7, 1610: Letter from Lord De La Warr to the Virginia Council relating the deplorable condition of the colony that Gates found and that he found. (Neill 36-49) [Display Quote]
July 1610: Gates witnesses one of his men -- Humphrey Blunt -- captured and gruesomely "sacrificed" -- and retaliates in kind.
August 10, 1610: The colonists destroy a village, throw the chief's children in the water, and execute his wife -- a clear indication of the state of English/Indian relations.
Late summer 1610: William Strachey, A true reportory of the wracke, and redemption of Sir Thomas Gates. First published: Samuel Purchas, Purchas his Pilgrimes ( Part 4, Book 9, Chap 6). London, 1625. Descriptions of mutinies and the poor character of some of the colonists are the reasons the account was not published immediately. Thought to be the inspiration for Shakespeare's 1611 The Tempest. (Ed. Louis B. Wright, A Voyage to Virginia in 1609. Charlottesville, UP of Virginia, 1964) [Display Quote]
October 13, 1610: Silvester Jourdain, A Discovery of the Barmudas, otherwise called the Ile of Diuels by Sir Thomas Gates . . . Set forth for the loue of my country, and also for the good of the plantation in Virginia. London, 1610. Another work on the shipwrecks. (Ed. Louis B. Wright, A Voyage to Virginia in 1609. Charlottesville, UP of Virginia, 1964) [Display Quote]
Fall 1610: Richard Rich, News from Virginia. The lost flocke triumphant. With the happy arriuall of that famous and worthy knight Sr. Thomas Gates. London, 1610. A poem -- yet another work on the shipwreck. (Facsimile edition, Ed. Wesley F. Craven, New York: Scholars' Facsimiles & Reprints, 1937) [Display Quote]
November, 1610: Counseil for Virginia, A True Declaration of the estate of the Colonie in Virginia, With a confutation of such scandalous reports as have tended to the disgrace of so worthy an enterprise. London, 1610. (Force, Tracts, III, no. 1 -- Capital and the Bay collection of the American Memory Collection of the Library of Congress) (Mancall) (Quinn V, 248-62) (Virtual Jamestown) See Essay 1 by Edward J. Gallagher. [Display Quote]