The Jamestown Colony was established by the Virginia Company of London, which was granted a charter to establish colonies in Virginia by James I in 1606. The charter gave various reasons for establishing these colonies, several of which were religious and political. The colonists were to convert the Virginia natives to Protestant Christianity and prevent them from being converted to Catholicism by the Spanish. They were also to prevent the spread of Spanish influence in the Americas more generally.
The Virginia Company, however, was a private stock-holding company, and its primary motive was always profit. The Virginia colonists, unlike their counterparts in Massachusetts, were not particularly religious, and most were hoping to exploit the economic opportunities offered by a virgin continent. These included mining and logging, as well as the search for a Northwest passage to Asia. Later, indentured servants, slaves and convicts were sent to Virginia, but those who came of their own free will were still primarily motivated by the opportunity to make money.
The motives of the early settlers for going to Virginia were, therefore, quite straightforwardly pecuniary. Their reasons for settling in Jamestown itself, however, have often been questioned. The town is in the midst of a pestilential swamp, where the water is stagnant and brackish. The colonists may have made a mistake about the water supply, since they arrived in April, when the melting snow from the mountains provided them with streams of drinking water which soon dried up. However, the abundance of other natural resources, including mineral wealth, and the fact that the land was unoccupied and easily defended, with a natural harbor, may have influenced them in selecting the site.