In 1611, four years after Newport’s early explorations, Sir Thomas Dale left Jamestown to establish a settlement upriver. Relations with the Indians had steadily deteriorated since 1607, and Dale’s company suffered constant attacks. The party finally came to a peninsula on the north side of the river, now Farrar’s Island, where Dale established the colony’s second settlement, “Henricus,” known also as the “city” or “town” of “Henrico.” In just four months the town grew to a fortified settlement. Frame houses lined three streets, and the men had built a wooden church, a brick foundation for a permanent church, storehouses, watchtowers, and huts.
Life in the New World was hard, but the English had high hopes that their settlements would add valuable minerals and raw materials to their economy, in addition to providing strategic military outposts. They also saw this land as a new frontier for spreading Christianity.
Virginia’s economy was sharply transformed by the introduction in 1612 of new strains of mild tobacco by colonist John Rolfe. Rolfe’s tobacco was shipped to England, and Virginia’s economy soon began to prosper.
In 1614, peace with the Indians was temporarily established, following Rolfe’s marriage to Powhatan’s daughter, Pocahontas, who had converted to Christianity and been baptized “Rebecca.”
Learn more about Pocahontas and see four artistic renderings of her.