The Jamestown colony was founded by the Virginia Company which was a joint stock company in 1607. This venture was financed by a large number of 'owners' and run by elected directors. This 'corporate colony' was granted a charter ( a sort of licence) by the English King for purpose of enhancing the economic policy of mercantilism. The company ultimately failed, but the colony did survive. Under the goverance of John Rolfe the colony had begun to plant and cultivate tabacco, a product that was in great demand back in Europe. By the 1620's the private corporate colony was replaced as a royal colony and was governed by royal governors (appointed by the king) which deferred to the British Privy Council's approval for any legislation proposed within the colony.