In May 1607, the Virginia Company of London founded the first permanent English settlement in North America. The colony was called Jamestown established on the banks of the James River, named after King James I. The colony was sponsored by a group of investors who hoped to profit from the venture with their goal to search for Gold and Silver as well as establishing a river route to the Pacific Ocean that would help them with trade to the Orient. Three ships, the Godspeed, the Discovery, and the Sarah Constant carried 105 settlers and entered through the Chesapeake Bay on May 6, 1607. Although the establishment of this colony had its share of difficulty and lessons to learn, it helped shape the world today through their cultural encounters, religion and beliefs, their customs and aspirations and through their early legal code and government. The historic importance of Jamestown is that it was the beginning of a continuous English presence in North America.
In 1606 King James I of England granted the Virginia Company of London a charter to establish colonies in Virginia. The Virginia Company of London was set up as a "speculative company investment", the individuals put their monies into a joint stock which funded the expedition. In return for their investment, they each received 100 acres of land for each share they owned and an addition 100 acres when the grant was seated. A head right system was set up as well that gave each shareholder an additional 50 acres of land for each man he transported and paid for. This idea in theory was good but it the challenges of having land that one did not know how to farm soon became apparent. The expedition of three ships set sail in December 1606 out of London and took over four and a half months, approximately 144 days to arrive in Virginia. .
Although the ships used an established route to catch favorable trade winds, ocean currents and allow them to stop for provisions, the sea crossing was a rough journey.