The Jamestown Brides
In 1621, fifty-six English women crossed the Atlantic in response to the Virginia Company of London’s call for maids ‘young and uncorrupt’ to make wives for the planters of its new colony in Virginia.While the women travelled of their own accord, the company was in effect selling them at a profit for a bride price of 150 lbs of tobacco for each woman sold. The rewards would flow to investors in the near- bankrupt company. But what did the women want from the enterprise? Why did they agree to make the perilous crossing to a wild and dangerous land, where six out of seven European settlers died within their first few years? And what happened to them in the end?
“Compelling… A real pleasure to read.” – BBC History Magazine
Photo of Jennifer Potter © Sam Churchill