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


The Beginning of British North America

The first English attempt at settlement was in July of 1587, when a group of English men and women landed at Roanoke in present-day North Carolina. Elenor White Dare sailed while heavily pregnant. Shortly after the ship’s arrival, she gave birth to the first English child on American soil, Virginia Dare. While the disappearance of the colony has remained a mystery, the inclusion of women and children shows that Roanoke was intended as a permanent settlement where families would grow and claim the land.

The establishment at Jamestown was different, as Jamestown included no women for over a year. The original 108 men came in the hope of finding gold and silver and then return to England. However, Virginia had neither gold nor silver and the settlers struggled for survival. Many of the men died of disease or starvation, and most were convinced that the colony was doomed to fail.

queen elizabeth I
Queen Elizabeth I sponsored the voyage to Roanoke


National Women's History Museum
Administrative Offices
205 S. Whiting Street, Suite 254
Alexandria, VA 22304

Copyright © 2007 National Women's History Museum.