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The Virginia Company Of London, 1606-1624   By: (1905-1981)

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In "The Virginia Company of London, 1606-1624," author Wesley Frank Craven delves into the captivating history of one of the most influential enterprises in early English colonization. Focusing on the Virginia Company, Craven skillfully reconstructs the company's inception, growth, challenges, and ultimate demise.

Craven's narrative style breathes life into an era often overshadowed by the more prominent Plymouth Colony and its Mayflower voyage. From the first pages, readers are transported back to 17th-century England, where they encounter the ambitious visionaries and illustrious figures who spearheaded this audacious venture.

The strength of this book lies in Craven's meticulous research, which is evident in his comprehensive exploration of the Virginia Company and its key players. By meticulously piecing together fragments of historical documents and correspondence, Craven provides readers with a well-rounded understanding of the company's formation and its role in establishing Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in North America.

Craven skillfully captures the optimistic ideals that permeated the early colonization efforts, shedding light on the aspirations and motivations that drove the Virginia Company's founders. Through intricate details and descriptive storytelling, he paints a vivid picture of the obstacles faced by the settlers, from harsh environmental conditions to tense relations with Native American tribes.

Furthermore, the author doesn't shy away from addressing the complex socioeconomic and political factors that shaped the Virginia Company's trajectory. He delves into the struggles faced by the company, such as insufficient funding, poorly equipped expeditions, and conflicts with shareholders. Craven's analysis provides readers with a nuanced understanding of the inner workings of this ambitious enterprise, highlighting the delicate balance between private interests and the company's broader objectives.

One noteworthy aspect of this book is Craven's examination of the Virginia Company's governance structure. He provides a detailed analysis of the intricate internal dynamics, including the relationships between investors, officials, and settlers. This exploration not only offers valuable insights into the difficulties faced by the company but also sheds light on the broader dynamics of early English colonial ventures.

Although the book is filled with historical facts and figures, Craven manages to maintain an engaging narrative flow. He skillfully incorporates primary source materials and anecdotes, allowing the reader to connect with the individuals behind the historical events. This balance between storytelling and scholarly analysis keeps the readers engaged while also providing them with a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter.

However, one observation worth mentioning is that at times, the sheer volume of names, dates, and details can be overwhelming. Some readers might find themselves lost amid the multitude of characters and events. Nevertheless, Craven's extensive research and well-structured organization help mitigate this potential drawback, making the book accessible to both history enthusiasts and scholars.

In "The Virginia Company of London, 1606-1624," Wesley Frank Craven presents a compelling account of a crucial period in American history. His meticulous research, engaging storytelling, and nuanced analysis render this book an invaluable resource for anyone interested in the origins of English colonization in America. Craven's contribution to the scholarship of early American history is commendable, making this book a must-read for those seeking a comprehensive understanding of the Virginia Company's impact on the shaping of the New World.

First Page:



Second Printing, 1959

Third Printing, 1964

[Transcriber's Note: Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U. S. copyright on this publication was renewed.]

Jamestown 350th Anniversary Historical Booklet Number 5


This is the story of the Virginia Company and only indirectly of the Virginia colony. Those who seek an account of the early years at Jamestown should turn to another number in this same series. Here the focus belongs to the adventurers in England whose hopes gave shape to the settlement at Jamestown, and whose determination brought the colony through the many disappointments of its first years. In terms of time, the story is short, for it begins with the granting of the first Virginia charter in 1606 and ends with the dissolution of the company in 1624. It thus covers a period of only eighteen years, but during these years England's interest in North America was so largely expressed through the agency of the Virginia Company that its story constitutes one of the more significant chapters in the history both of the United States and of the British Empire.

In the beginning there were two companies of the Virginia adventurers, the one having its headquarters in London and the other in the western outport of Plymouth... Continue reading book >>

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