Bermuda & Jamestown: John Rolfe and New Beginnings

Jamestown, Virginia & Bermuda probably seem like completely different worlds, but during the life of John Rolfe their fates intertwined.
Bermuda's Coat of Arms (featuring Sea Venture)

Smoke on the Water
In its earliest stages, the Jamestown colony's future was bleak at best. John Rolfe was one of many businessmen that sensed an opportunity in the dismal colony; if only tobacco could be introduced.  It is still unknown how Rolfe secured tobacco seeds (The Spanish held a monopoly and promised death to any who threatened it), but secure them he did. Along with his pregnant wife, Rolfe joined the Third Supply to Virginia (the third set of ships sent to supply the colony). On route, their fleet was caught in a "tempest" (likely a hurricane). Sea Venture, the ship the Rolfes sailed in, began taking on water and was forced to land atop the reefs of Bermuda.  

The wreck of the Sea Venture was troublesome for its crew, as well as the citizens of Jamestown. It was the ship carrying the most supplies.  Not knowing the Sea Venture's fate, the other surviving ships were forced to continue on to Jamestown. Unfortunately, without the supplies of Sea Venture, that only meant there were more mouths to feed. Jamestown was heading towards the Time of Starving. 

While trapped in Bermuda, Sea Venture's crew hastily worked to build new boats and continue their mission. In the meantime, Rolfe's wife delivered their baby girl (who was named Bermuda), but tragically neither mother nor daughter survived much longer. When preparations were complete, Rolfe was forced to sail away from the buried bodies of his wife and infant daughter. 

A handful of Sea Venture's crew members stayed in Bermuda and created England's first settlement there. (To this day, Bermuda's flag features a picture of Sea Venture.) While the Bermuda colony entered its infancy, the Jamestown colony was finally receiving the much-needed supplies from Rolfe and others.  The tobacco Rolfe eventually produced in Jamestown sent profits soaring. It was also during this time that Rolfe married a new wife - Pocahontas.

Thank for reading. 

If you enjoyed this article, take a bite out of this one on the South Sandwich Islands and learn why there isn't a North Sandwich Island.

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Image: Bermuda's Coat of Arms (featuring Sea Venture): By First version: User:Escondites Second version: User:Cronholm144 - Image:Flag of Bermuda.svg, Public Domain,

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