The Jamestown Colony was the first permanent North American settlement by Great Britain. About one hundred settlers traveled on the Susan Constant, Godspeed, and Discovery for the new world. They landed in present-day Virginia and settled on a piece of land near the Powhatan River. They called this river the James River and, subsequently, the settlement Jamestown, after King James I. One of the most notable of the settlers was John Smith. Smith was able to create a friendly relationship between the local Powhatan tribe that resulted in trade. He was also vital in starting the agricultural work needed to sustain a settlement.
Life in Jamestown was exceptionally rough. The settlers themselves were not prepared for the land. The Native Americans avoided the land because of the poor fertility. Skirmishes between the settlers and the Native Americans broke out frequently. One grueling winter saw several hundred settlers die from starvation and the elements. However, resupplies soon came and the colony began to expand at multiple points along the river. The growth of tobacco was essentially the backbone of the local economy, and Jamestown ultimately turned from a colony to the capital of the newly founded Virginia.