An Unoccupied Site


Chief Powhatan was the ruler of over 30 tribes and 160 villages in Tidewater Virginia. This illustration was inspired by a 16th-century John White watercolor of a village in present-day North Carolina.

NPS image by artist Sydney King


“Do not offend the naturals,” advised the Council of the Virginia Company of London. An estimated 15,000 Virginia Indians dwelt in Tidewater Virginia in 1607 and their goodwill was needed by the newcomers. The future site of Jamestown, although likely serving as a seasonal hunting preserve for the nearby Paspahegh, was unoccupied when the three ships landed there May 13, 1607.


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