jamestown heading

I. Native Women

II. First Women

III. More Women

IV. Cash Crop

V. Women's Lives

VI. Indentured Servant

VII. Wives

VIII. Living Condition

IX. Family Life

X. Women's Work

XI. Fate of Jamestown


I. Native Inhabitants

Indian Woman of Secotan
Watercolor of a Native
American Woman

click on image for larger view
Credit: Virtual Jamestown, Virginia Center for Digital History, UVA

The Pamunkey tribe, headed by Chief Powhatan, had lived on the land that now is Virginia long before European exploration began. Like most other American tribes, they were matrilineal, which meant that children inherited their status from their mothers. One effect of this was that no child ever was considered a bastard, and maternal uncles were at least as important as fathers. The mother was considered the owner of any non-communal property that a family might possess. Another indication of the high status of women was that when a married couple separated, it was the man who would go home to his mother.


Learn more about European Exploration Before Jamestown

Learn about the Beginning of British North America



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