The first joint-stock company to launch a lasting venture to the New World was the VIRGINIA COMPANY OF LONDON. The investors had one goal in mind: gold. They hoped to repeat the success of Spaniards who found gold in South America.
In 1607, 144 English men and boys established the JAMESTOWN colony, named after King James I.
The colonists were told that if they did not generate any wealth, financial support for their efforts would end. Many of the men spent their days vainly searching for gold.
As a consequence, the colonists spent little time farming. Food supplies dwindled. MALARIA and the harsh winter besieged the colonists, as well. After the first year, only 38 of the original 144 had survived.