Jamestown was founded and originally funded by the Virginia Company of London, a British joint-stock company, on May 14, 1607. As a joint-stock company, the Virginia Company had various investors who owned unequal shares in the company and received dividends corresponding to their shareholdings.
King James I had chartered the Virginia Company to found colonies in North America. As part of this charter, the Virginia Company was allowed to govern its colonies, and it allowed Jamestown a great deal of self-government. However, King James eventually began to want greater control over the English colonies in America (especially after disasters such as the Jamestown Massacre). Thus, he decided to dissolve the Virginia Company in 1624. After the dissolution, James governed Virginia (which included Jamestown) as a royal colony.