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Encyclopedia > Popham Colony
The site of the 1607 Popham Colony in present-day Maine is shown by "Po" on the map. The Jamestown Settlement is shown by "J"
The site of the 1607 Popham Colony in present-day Maine is shown by "Po" on the map. The Jamestown Settlement is shown by "J"

The Popham Colony was a short-lived English colonial settlement in North America that was founded in 1607 and located in the present-day town of Phippsburg, Maine near the mouth of the Kennebec River. It was founded in the same year as its more successful rival, the Jamestown Settlement and was the first English colony in the region that would eventually become known as New England. The colony was abandoned after only one year and the exact site of the colony was lost until its rediscovery in 1994. The grants by James I of England to the London Company and Plymouth Company in 1606. ... The grants by James I of England to the London Company and Plymouth Company in 1606. ... British colonization of the Americas began in the late 16th century. ... World map showing North America A satellite composite image of North America. ... Events January 20 - Tidal wave swept along the Bristol Channel, killing 2000 people. ... Phippsburg is a town located in Sagadahoc County, Maine. ... The course of the Kennebec River The Kennebec River is a river, 150 mi (240 km) long, in the state of Maine in the northeastern United States. ... Jamestown was a village on an island in the James River in Virginia, about 45 miles southeast of where Richmond, Virginia, is now. ... First Flag of New England, 1686-c. ...

Popham was a project of the Plymouth Company. Plymouth Company was one of two competing parts of the Virginia Company that James I chartered in 1606 in order to settle "Virginia"; at the time the name applied to the entire northeast coast of North America from Spanish Florida to New France in the modern-day Canada. At the time that area was technically under the claim of Spanish crown but not occupied. The Plymouth Company was granted a royal charter and the rights to the coast between 38° to 45° N, whereas the rival London Company was granted the coast between 34° and 41°N. The overlapping area between 38° and 41° was to go to the first company that would prove "strong enough" to colonize it. The 1606 grants by James I to the London and Plymouth companies. ... The 1606 grants by James I to the London and Plymouth companies. ... James VI of Scotland and James I of England and Ireland (occasionally known as King James the Vain) (Charles James) (19 June 1566–27 March 1625) was King of England, King of Scotland, and King of Ireland. ... Events January 27 - The trial of Guy Fawkes and other conspirators begins ending in their execution on January 31 May 17 - Supporters of Vasili Shusky invade the Kremlin and kill Premier Dmitri December 26 - Shakespeares King Lear performed in court Storm buries a village of St Ismails near... Spanish Florida refers to the Spanish colony of Florida. ... New France (French: la Nouvelle-France) describes the area colonized by France in North America during a period extending from the exploration of the Saint Lawrence River by Jacques Cartier in 1534 to the cession of New France to the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1763. ... A Royal Charter is a charter given by a monarch to legitimize an incorporated body, such as a city, company, university or such. ... Virginia Company of London Seal The London Company (also called the Virginia Company of London) was an English joint stock company established by royal charter by James I on April 10, 1606 with the purpose of establishing colonial settlements in North America. ...

First Plymouth Company ship, Richard, sailed in August 1606 but the Spanish intercepted and captured it near Florida in November. The next attempt was more successful; About 120 colonists left Plymouth on May 31, 1607 in two ships. Colony leader, George Popham sailed in the Gift of God and second-in-command Ralegh Gilbert in the Mary and John. Popham was the nephew of one of the financial backers of the colony, Sir John Popham, the Lord Chief Justice of England, while Gilbert was the nephew of Sir Walter Raleigh. Other financiers included Sir Ferdinando Gorges, the military governor of Plymouth. Settlers included nine council members and 6 other gentlemen when the rest were soldiers, artisans, farmers and traders. Plymouth is a city in the South West of England, or alternatively the Westcountry, and is situated within the traditional county of Devon. ... May 31 is the 151st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (152nd in leap years), with 214 days remaining. ... Events January 20 - Tidal wave swept along the Bristol Channel, killing 2000 people. ... Sir John Popham (cir. ... The Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales is the second-highest judge of the Courts of England and Wales, after the Lord Chancellor, and the presiding judge of Criminal Division of the Court of Appeal, and of the Queens Bench Division of the High Court. ... Walter Raleigh, by Nicholas Hilliard, c. ... Ferdinando Gorges (1565-1647) was an early English colonial entrepreneur in North America and founder of the Province of Maine in 1622. ...

The Gift of God arrived at the mouth of the Kennebec (then called the Sagadahoc River) on August 13 and Mary and John three days later. The Popham Colony was settled on headland of area named Sabino. Quickly the colonists began construction of large star-shaped Fort St. George. Fort St. George included ditches and ramparts and contained nine cannons that ranged in size from demi-culverin to falcon. A small cast-iron cannon on a carriage ????? Cannon also refers to a large, smooth-bored, muzzle-loading gun used before the advent of breech-loading, rifled guns firing explosive shells. ... A culverin is a cannon that fires an 18-pound solid round shot. ...

On October 8, 1607, colonist John Hunt drew a map of the colony showing 18 buildings including the admiral's house, a chapel, a storehouse and guardhouse. It is not known if all the buildings were completed at the time. Hunt was listed in the colony register as "draughtsman". Hunt's map was discovered in 1888 in the Spanish national archives. A spy possibly brought it to Spain. It might be a copy of now-lost map, and is the only known plan of the original layout of any early English colony. October 8 is the 281st day of the year (282nd in leap years). ... Events January 20 - Tidal wave swept along the Bristol Channel, killing 2000 people. ...

Popham and Gilbert sent survey expeditions up the river and contacted the Abenaki tribe. In a letter to the King, Popham wrote that the natives had told them that the area was full of easily-exploitable resources. However, the colony failed to establish cooperation with the tribe. Abenaki couple The Abenaki (also Wabanaki), meaning people of the dawn, are a tribe of Native Americans/First Nations belonging to the Algonquian peoples of northeasternNorth America. ...

Half of the colonists returned to Great Britain in December 1607, aboard the Gift of God.

George Popham died in February 1608, possibly the only colonist to die - a contrast to Jamestown which lost half its population that year. Raleigh Gilbert became "colony president" on February 5, 1608 at age 25. February 5 is the 36th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... Events March 18 - Sissinios formally crowned Emperor of Ethiopia May 14 - Protestant Union founded in Auhausen. ...

The colonists completed one major project; the building of a 30-ton ship, a pinnace they named Virginia. When a supply ship came in late summer 1608, it brought a message that Gilbert's elder brother John had died. Gilbert was therefore an heir to a title and estate in England, Compton Castle in Devon. He decided to return to England. The 45 remaining colonists also left, sailing home in the Virginia. (The Virginia would make at least one more Atlantic crossing, going to Jamestown the next year.) A pinnace is a light boat, propelled by sails or oars, formerly used as a tender for guiding merchant and war vessels. ... Compton Castle is a fortified manor house nestling in a valley in Marldon, Paignton, about 5 miles west of Torquay, Devon, England. ... The inner harbour, Brixham, south Devon, at low tide Devon is a large county in South West England, bordering on Cornwall to the west, Dorset and Somerset to the east. ...

The colony had lasted almost exactly one year. French colonist Jean de Biencourt visited the abandoned site in 1611. In 1624, Samuel Maverick of the Massachusetts Bay Colony also visited the site and reported that it was "over-grown". The Massachusetts Bay Colony (sometimes called the Massachusetts Bay Company, for the institution that founded it) was an English settlement on the coast of North America in the 1600s, centered around the present-day city of Boston, which is now in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, one of the 50 United...

Jeffrey Brain of the Peabody Essex Museum discovered the site of the colony in 1994, using the Hunt's map as a guide. Larger excavations began in 1997, and have uncovered the Admiral's house, the storehouse and a liquor storage building. Parts of the fort, probably including the chapel and graveyard, lie on private property not open for digging. The Peabody Essex Museum was founded in 1801 as the East India Marine Society by a group of Salem, Mass. ...

Today much of the area which made up the Popham Colony is part of Popham Beach, a popular beach and recreation area.


  • Richard L. Pflederer - Before New England: The Popham Colony (History Today January 2005)

External links

  • Popham Colony
  • Maine's First Ship, a project to build a re-creation of the Virginia

  Results from FactBites:
Virginia Colony - Academic Kids (503 words)
Subsequent charters for the Maryland Colony in 1632 and the Carolina Colony in 1665 further reduced the Virginia Colony to coastal borders it held until the American Revolution.
Until 1763, the colony was bounded on the west by the Appalachian Mountains, which roughly marked the border with New France.
The colony became the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1776.
Historical background (222 words)
The Popham Colony was the first organized attempt to establish an English colony on the shores of what we now know as New England.
Although Popham was the first claim of possession of what was then called Northern Virginia by the English, the honor of the actual founding of a "New" England belongs to the Pilgrims who established the first permanent settlement in Massachusetts Bay thirteen years later.
Our archaeological investigations have relocated the remains of Fort St. George, the principal installation of the Popham Colony, and we are now embarked on a program of exploration that will resurrect details of the colony and restore it to its significant place in history.
  More results at FactBites »



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