Jamestown Colony

A Political, Social, and Cultural History

by Frank E. Grizzard, Jr. and D. Boyd Smith


Political intrigue, rebellion, starvation, cannibalism, conflict with Native Americans—all are part of the story of the first lasting English outpost in the New World. Now shrouded in legend, the story of Jamestown is part adventure, part gritty reality. This book provides a complete, contextual look at the true story.

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Cover image for Jamestown Colony

March 2007


Pages 448
Volumes 1
Size 8 1/2x11
Topics American History/General

Jamestown Colony is an authoritative and thorough treatment of all aspects of life in Jamestown, the first successful British colony in the New World.

Four centuries after its founding, Jamestown has become the stuff of movies, legend, and tourism. This important work treats the reality behind the legends—Pocahontas, John Rolfe, Powhatan, John Smith, and others—and puts the stories into a broader context. More than 250 A–Z entries detail the colonial strategies, military considerations, political realities, and personal privations that went into the creation of the first enduring beachhead in the British effort to colonize the New World.

Based on primary sources and ongoing archaeological work, this book is the most comprehensive look at life in Jamestown. The reader will find detailed scholarship on all the familiar names along with the stories of the lesser known, told in their own words when possible. Published in the quadricentennial of Jamestown's founding, this solid reference is an invaluable resource for the student and history buff.


  • More than 250 A–Z entries on the people, events, politics, and culture of 17th century colonial life
  • More than 50 original documents providing details on life in Jamestown, often in the words of the settlers
  • A detailed chronology that covers important events from presettlement through decline
  • More than 65 illustrations and photographs of key people and places


  • Offers the most comprehensive, detailed, and scholarly study of the first successful English settlement in the New World
  • Explores the Chesapeake watershed area and river system and the colonists' expansion into outlying areas, with equal coverage of English settlers and Native peoples and their first contact
  • Based on both modern scholarship and primary sources, incorporating the settlers' words whenever possible
  • Places events in the broader context of politics, empire, and religion
Author Info

Frank E. Grizzard, Jr. is director of the Lee Family Digital Archive, an online repository of the collected papers of the historic Lee Family of Virginia located at Washington and Lee University in Charlottesville, VA. His published works include ABC-CLIO's George Washington: A Biographical Companion.

D. Boyd Smith was born and grew up in the Jamestown, VA, area and has spent most of his career in the information technology field. He has worked as an archaeologist on both prehistoric and historic sites in Virginia.



"Based on current scholarship, this work will have value long after the anniversary observances are over, and academic and large public libraries will want to acquire it."—Booklist

"This volume should prove useful as it brings together many sources that may not be readily available in smaller collections."—School Library Journal

"Highly recommended. Lower-/upper-level undergraduates and general readers."—Choice

"This volume is well written and well researched, and belongs in all collections relating to Colonial America."—ARBA

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