London Company

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London Company,

corporation composed of stockholders residing in and about London, which, together with the Plymouth Company (see Virginia CompanyVirginia Company,
name of two English colonizing companies, chartered by King James I in 1606. By the terms of the charter, the Virginia Company of London (see London Company) was given permission to plant a colony 100 mi (160 km) square between lat. 34°N and lat.
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), was granted (1606) a charter by King James I to found colonies in America. The London Company was granted a tract of land fronting 100 mi (160 km) on the sea and extending 100 mi inland, somewhere between lat. 34°N and lat. 41°N. Government was vested in an English council, appointed by the king, which was to appoint a local council for the colony. The company's expedition, under the command of Capt. Christopher NewportNewport, Christopher,
1565?–1617, English mariner, commander of early voyages to Virginia. He commanded a privateering expedition to the West Indies (1592) that returned to England with the Spanish vessel Madre de Dios,
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, founded (1607) JamestownJamestown.
1 City (1990 pop. 34,681), Chautauqua co., W N.Y., on Chautauqua Lake; founded c.1806, inc. as a city 1886. It is the business and financial center of a dairy, livestock, and vineyard area.
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 in Virginia, the first permanent English settlement in America. In May, 1609, the company received a new charter, extending its territory and enabling it to replace the local council with an absolute governor. Thomas West, Baron De la WarrDe la Warr, Thomas West, 12th Baron
, 1577–1618, English colonial governor of Virginia. He saw fighting in the Netherlands and was knighted when serving in Ireland. He succeeded to the peerage in 1602.
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, was the first to hold that office, with Sir Thomas GatesGates, Sir Thomas,
fl. 1585–1621, English colonial governor of Virginia. He was knighted for his services under the 2d earl of Essex in the successful expedition against Cádiz in 1596.
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 as his deputy. A third charter, granted in Mar., 1612, made the London Company a self-governing body. There was, however, dissension within the company over governing policies, and the governing council was soon divided into two parties. The court party, headed by Sir Robert Rich (later the 2d earl of Warwick) and Sir Thomas Smythe, favored prolongation of martial law in the colony. The country, or patriot, party, led by Sir Edwin SandysSandys, Sir Edwin,
1561–1629, English statesman, leading promoter of the colony in Virginia; son of Archbishop Edwin Sandys. He studied law and was first returned to Parliament in 1586.
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, Sir John Danvers, and John and Nicholas Ferrar, favored discontinuance of the system of servitude. The country party was in the majority, but a liberal form of government was not established until after the appointment of Sir George YeardleyYeardley, Sir George
, c.1587–1627, British colonial governor of Virginia (1618–21, 1626–27). He was shipwrecked (1609) in the Bermudas but managed to reach Virginia in 1610.
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 as governor of Virginia. Yeardley convened America's first legislative assembly at Jamestown in 1619. Although affairs in Virginia gradually improved, a petition was presented (1623) to the king calling for an investigation of conditions in the colony. Shortly afterward there appeared a paper, The Unmasked Face of Our Colony in Virginia. Already offended by the company, the king now took extreme measures. A report was made by an investigating commission, the case was tried before the King's Bench, and the unfavorable decision, rendered in May, 1624, resulted in the dissolution of the company. About £200,000 had been expended by the company and more than 10,000 emigrants sent to Virginia.


See S. M. Kingsbury, ed., The Records of the Virginia Company of London (4 vol., 1906–35); H. L. Osgood, The American Colonies in the Seventeenth Century, Vol. I (1904, repr. 1957); W. F. Craven, Dissolution of the Virginia Company (1932, repr. 1964); C. M. Andrews, The Colonial Period of American History, Vol. I (1934, repr. 1964); C. W. Sams, The Conquest of Virginia: The Third Attempt, 1610–1624 (1939).

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