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The Bride Ships Of 1620, Colonial America's First Transatlantic Party Buses

Updated 4 Oct 2019 87.4k views10 items

Jamestown, Virginia, arose as the first permanent English settlement in the New World, largely thanks to the strength and resilience of the Jamestown colony brides. The initial group of settlers, all male, arrived and built James Fort in 1607, a private, corporate adventure. Much opportunity, along with much risk, lay waiting in the New World. But within a year, the men already complained about the lack of female company. To satisfy the colonial men, the Virginia Company sent over the bride ships of 1619, enticing the women with hopes for a better life while satiating the men's demands. Ninety women were selected that year, with a smaller group chosen and sent out several years later.

Commonly referred to as the tobacco brides of Jamestown, similar to the casket girls who settled in Louisiana in the 18th century, these women gained new rights and freedoms that Europe kept out of their reach. Despite how pop culture commonly depicts them, Jamestown colony women married who they liked, and many actually owned property of their own, something unheard of in Europe. While life was definitely not easy for them, the women of Jamestown were instrumental in creating new lives and new opportunities for the future women of colonial America.

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