Social Studies - 2018-19

VS.3b - Decision to Settle at Jamestown

The student will demonstrate an understanding of the first permanent English settlement in America by

b) describing the economic and geographic influences on the decision to settle at Jamestown.

Adopted: 2015


  • The physical characteristics of a place influence a person or group's decision about where to live.
  • Geography has a major impact on how and where people live.
  • Economic factors have a major impact on how and where people live.


The location and physical characteristics of the Jamestown site influenced the decision to settle there.

The English believed the natural resources at Jamestown would benefit England.


When the settlers arrived in 1607, they founded Jamestown on a narrow peninsula bordered on three sides by the James River. Today, Jamestown is located on an island in the James River due to the erosion of the Jamestown peninsula.

Reasons for site choice

  • Instructions from England told the settlers to go inland and find a suitable place for their colony.
  • The location could be easily defended from attack by sea (by the Spanish).
  • The water along the shore was deep enough for ships to dock.
  • They believed the site had a good supply of fresh water.

Natural resources from Jamestown included timber and iron.


Updated: May 25, 2018