The Jamestown settlement in the Colony of Virginia was the first permanent English settlement in the Americas. It was located on the east bank of the Powhatan (James) River about 2.5 mi (4 km) southwest of the centre of modern Williamsburg. William Kelso writes that Jamestown "is where the British Empire began". It was established by the Virginia Company of London as "James Fort" on May 4, 1607 (O.S.; May 14, 1607 N.S.), and was considered permanent after brief abandonment in 1610. It followed several failed attempts, including the Lost Colony of Roanoke. Jamestown served as the capital of the colony of Virginia for 83 years, from 1616 until 1699.
The settlement was located within the country of Tsenacommacah, which was ruled by the Powhatan Confederacy, and specifically in that of the Paspahegh tribe. The natives initially welcomed and provided crucial provisions and support for the colonists, who were not agriculturally inclined. Relations soured fairly early on, however, leading to the total annihilation of the Paspahegh in warfare within three years. Mortality was very high at Jamestown itself due to disease and starvation, with over 80-percent of the colonists perishing in 1609–10 in what became known as the "Starving Time"
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