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Explorers had been landing in America for some time before English settlers arrived in what is now Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607.

James I was king of England at that time, and he gave permission to a group of businesspeople to settle in this new land in 1606. They were part of the Virginia Company. By December of that year, the expedition was ready.

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In all, 214 people set sail for America. They reached it on May 14, 1607. Very soon after they landed, the English found themselves under attack from Algonquins, a Native American tribe who had been living in that area for some time and who didn't exactly welcome new settlers.The English, however, were there to stay.

Under the leadership of Captain John Smith, the English built a fort and other buildings designed to protect their new colony. They also found friendly Native Americans, like Powhatan, who wanted to trade with them.

The terrible winter of 1609 convinced most of the settlers to abandon their new life, however. Only 60 of the 214 settlers survived this harsh winter, which was also hard on Powhatan's tribe and other neighboring Native Americans.

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One of the main crops grown by the English settlers was tobacco, which they sold to Native Americans and to people back in England, beginning in 1612. Tobacco became a very popular crop because it was easy to grow and because it brought in so much money.

Once the money started flowing in regularly, the Jamestown colony grew, as did other settlements in Virginia and in other states along the eastern seaboard.