Charter of 1606

Charter of 1606

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The Charter of 1606, also known as the First Charter of Virginia, is a document from King James I of England
James I of England
James VI and I was King of Scots as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and Ireland as James I from the union of the English and Scottish crowns on 24 March 1603...

 to the Virginia Company
Virginia Company
The Virginia Company refers collectively to a pair of English joint stock companies chartered by James I on 10 April1606 with the purposes of establishing settlements on the coast of North America...

 assigning land rights to colonists for the stated purpose of propagating the Christian religion. The land is described as coastal Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

 and islands near to the coast, but the surveying numbers
World Geodetic System
The World Geodetic System is a standard for use in cartography, geodesy, and navigation. It comprises a standard coordinate frame for the Earth, a standard spheroidal reference surface for raw altitude data, and a gravitational equipotential surface that defines the nominal sea level.The latest...

 correspond to modern day South Carolina
South Carolina
South Carolina is a state in the Deep South of the United States that borders Georgia to the south, North Carolina to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Originally part of the Province of Carolina, the Province of South Carolina was one of the 13 colonies that declared independence...

 to Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

. The land itself would remain the property of the King, with the London Company as the King's tenant, and the settlers as subtenants. The colony's government at first consisted of a council residing in London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

. The document designated the London Company as responsible for financing the project, which included recruiting settlers and providing for their transport and supplies.

Initial attempt at implementing charter

King James I formed the Virginia Company, which itself consisted of a pair of separately managed companies called the London Company
London Company
The London Company was an English joint stock company established by royal charter by James I of England on April 10, 1606 with the purpose of establishing colonial settlements in North America.The territory granted to the London Company included the coast of North America from the 34th parallel ...

 and the Plymouth Company
Plymouth Company
The Plymouth Company was an English joint stock company founded in 1606 by James I of England with the purpose of establishing settlements on the coast of North America.The Plymouth Company was one of two companies, along with the London Company, chartered with such...

. Both of these companies were to operate under the Charter of 1606, but in different regions within the same range, and without building colonies within 100 miles (160 km) of each other. The London company was a group of entrepreneurs from London to live and rule in North America. The Virginia Company started its settlement in Chesapeake, Virginia
Chesapeake, Virginia
As of the census of 2000, there were 199,184 people, 69,900 households, and 54,172 families residing in the city. The population density was 584.6 people per square mile . There were 72,672 housing units at an average density of 213.3 per square mile...

. King James granted the Virginia Company the power and authority to operate and run their lives and to enjoy many freedoms, as indicated in

"Also we do...DECLARE...that all and every the Persons being our Subjects, which shall dwell and inhabit within every or any of the said several Colonies and Plantations, and every of their children, which shall happen to be born within any of the Limits and Precincts of the said several Colonies and Plantations, shall HAVE and enjoy all Liberties, Franchises, and Immunities, within any of our other Dominions, to all Intents and Purposes, as if they had been abiding and born, within this our Realm of England, or any other of our said Dominions."

The King specified exactly where the colonists will reside. "between four and thirty Degrees and five and forty Degrees of the said Latitude
In geography, the latitude of a location on the Earth is the angular distance of that location south or north of the Equator. The latitude is an angle, and is usually measured in degrees . The equator has a latitude of 0°, the North pole has a latitude of 90° north , and the South pole has a...

, all alongst the said Coasts of Virginia and America, as that Coast lyeth". This is all the territory between South Carolina and Canada. He also specified the activities and rights that they may exercise, such as enjoying the "Lands, Woods, Soil, Grounds, Havens, Ports, Rivers, Mines, Minerals, Marshes, Waters, Fishings" amongst others.

Purpose of Charter

The charter contains only one statement of purpose, a religious mission: "propagating of Christian religion". King James I also intended to spread Christianity to those already living in what was to become the English colonies. "in propagating of Christian Religion to such People, as yet live in Darkness and miserable Ignorance of the true Knowledge and Worship of God, and may in time bring the Infidels and Savages, living in those parts, to human Civility, and to a settled and quiet Government.
Some of the Jamestown
Jamestown, Virginia
Jamestown was a settlement in the Colony of Virginia. Established by the Virginia Company of London as "James Fort" on May 14, 1607 , it was the first permanent English settlement in what is now the United States, following several earlier failed attempts, including the Lost Colony of Roanoke...

 historians did not believe that the settlers were qualified to govern and achieve the King’s mission of colonization and obtaining access to the orient,

The charter also granted those born in the colonies all the rights of British citizens elsewhere and that they be compensated and protected in case they were robbed or spoiled by anyone.

Management of charter

The King established a council and council member both in America and England to provide governance
Governance is the act of governing. It relates to decisions that define expectations, grant power, or verify performance. It consists of either a separate process or part of management or leadership processes...

 and management of the colonies and identified all council members. The council had the authority to enjoy the natural resources of the colonies with part of the profits given to the king. "That the said several Councils of and for the said several Colonies, shall and lawfully may, by Virtue hereof, from time to time, without any Interruption of Us, our Heirs or Successors, give and take Order, to dig, mine, and search for all Manner of Mines of Gold, Silver, and Copper, as well within any Part of their said several Colonies, as of the said main Lands on the Backside of the same Colonies; And to HAVE and enjoy the Gold, Silver, and Copper, to be gotten thereof, to the Use and Behoof of the same Colonies, and the Plantations thereof; YIELDING therefore to Us, our Heirs and Successors, the fifth Part only of all the same Gold and Silver, and the fifteenth Part of all the same Copper, so to be gotten or had, as is aforesaid, without any other Manner of Profit or Account, to be given or yielded to Us, our Heirs, or Successors, for or in Respect of the same"
The charter also gave authority to council members, to perform regular governance activities as long as they conform to the King’s approval. The king intended to give the colonists all benefits of a government including the right to have their own currency.

Although the colonists had a great deal of freedom, they were subject to the kings’ approval. The following passage states the risk associated with trading without approval. "Moreover, our gracious Will and Pleasure is, and we do, by these Presents, for Us, our Heirs, and Successors, declare and set forth, that if any Person or Persons, which shall be of any of the said Colonies and Plantations, or any other, which shall trick to the said Colonies and Plantations, or any of them, shall, at any time or times hereafter, transport any Wares, Merchandises, or Commodities, out of any of our Dominions, with a Pretence to land, sell, or otherwise dispose of the same, within any the Limits and Precincts of any of the said Colonies and Plantations, and yet nevertheless, being at Sea, or after he hath landed the same within any of the said Colonies and Plantations, shall carry the same into any other Foreign Country, with a Purpose there to sell or dispose of the same, without the Licence of Us, our Heirs, and Successors, in that Behalf first had and obtained; That then, all the Goods and Chattels of such Person or Persons, so offending and transporting together with the said Ship or Vessel, wherein such Transportation was made, shall be forfeited to Us, our Heirs, and Successors."

The charter concluded with a final agreement of the king to authorize the stated colonists to practice their duties as outlined in the paragraphs above.