A Timeline of the Jamestown Colony
Timelines of American History Series
Copyright 2004 by the Rosen Publishing Group, Inc.
Age level: Early middle school. Each chapter includes a timeline interspersed with the text.
Chapter 1: The New World
According to legend, a Norseman named Leif Eriksson was the first European to visit America. He sailed from Norway to Greenland and then to a place he named Vinland. More than 500 years later, an Italian explorer named Christopher Columbus wanted to find a sea route to India for Spain, and instead of traveling east over land, he sailed west across the Atlantic. He thought he could reach India this way. Instead, he landed in the Bahama Islands. Other explorers realized that he had found a whole new land–America.
Europe and the New World
Once countries such as France and Spain heard about the New World, they rushed to declare it for themselves. Sadly, they did not care about the rights of the people who already lived there. They killed hundreds of Native Americans in battles over land and gold. Also, the arrival of the Europeans exposed the Native Americans to diseases like smallpox, and many died. The Europeans set up settlements, planted crops, and built churches. Sometimes they lived peacefully with the Native Americans, but usually there was fighting.
The First English Colony: Roanoke
Sir Walter Raleigh was an important man in England. He decided to send settlers to start a new colony on Roanoke Island. The first group Raleigh sent returned to England after a year. Nobody knows what happened to the second group of settlers. In 1590, their village was found empty by Captain John White. All that was there was the word “Croatoan””the name of a nearby island, which was scratched on a tree. Captain White sailed to Croatoan, but no one was there.