Why Not a Bigger Virginia?
Sir Walter Raleigh's first choice for his 1587 New World settlement was the site where Jamestown, Virginia was ultimately settled in 1607. Although he never lived in either of the two Roanoke settlements, he never forgave himself for being dissuaded from his first choice. Raleigh habitually fell "in" and "out" of favor with the enigmatic Queen Elizabeth, but at her death in 1603, Raleigh no longer had a staunch supporter in the new Crown - King James I.
King James I had been convinced by Raleigh's enemies that Raleigh was opposed to his succession. Many of Raleigh's offices and monopolies were taken away, and, on somewhat insufficient evidence, he was found guilty of intrigues with Spain against England and of participation in a plot to kill the king and enthrone Arabella Stuart. Saved from the block by a reprieve, Raleigh settled down in the Tower and devoted himself to literature and science.
Raleigh was released in 1616 to make another voyage to the Orinoco in search of gold, but he was warned not to molest Spanish possessions or ships on pain of his life. The expedition failed, but Laurence Kemys captured a Spanish town. Raleigh returned to England, where the Spanish ambassador demanded his punishment. Failing in an attempt to escape to France, he was executed in 1618 under the original sentence of treason passed many years before by King James I.
But, Sir Walter Raleigh was comfortable in his grave knowing that his nephew, Raleigh Gilbert - son of Sir Humphrey Gilbert, Raleigh's half-brother - was one of the founders of the Virginia Company, the "owner" of the Jamestown settlement in Virginia. Jamestown was no instant success, but the settlers - and the Virginia Company - managed to keep things moving forward, slowly expanding their small colony into the New World "wilderness." Captain John Smith led many excursions along the Chesapeake Bay in his small ship Discovery and mapped much of the area along the Virginia and North Carolina coastline.
By 1620, Jamestown began to have growing pains - it was still not thriving, but new settlers were arriving and many wanted more and more land. The Virginia Company was not about to sit on its laurels. With additional news that their Bermuda grants [a "sister company" was set up named the Somers Island Company, which "owned" Bermuda at the time] were less extensive than originally anticipated, the "management" decided that it was in their interest to secure more land - and of course, they first looked to the south, to the "land of Ronoque" where their predecessors had been unsuccessful in 1587.
In order to distinguish between the new colony of Virginia centered in Jamestown and Raleigh's Virginia of 1587, the name Roanoke [Ronoque sometimes] was frequently used for the older area. John Smith's map of 1624 called the region "Ould Virginia," while at a later time the terms South Virginia and the Southern Plantation were applied.
In March of 1620, at the recommendations of the Virginia Governor Sir George Yeardly, the Virginia Company employed Marmaduke Rayner to explore the surrounding region in a logical manner "which would produce good benefit to the Plantation." The company would pay all expenses, and in the summer Rayner made the voyage for which he had been employed, exploring "to the Southward to Roanoke."
Less than two years after the visit to Roanoke by his friend Marmaduke Rayner, the secretary of the Virginia government, John Pory, led an expedition to the south. He went to the Chowan River region in February 1622. Pory's report suggested that settlements there would succeed. He found the Indians to be friendly and their king "desirous to make a league" with the English colonists in Virginia. His is the first such trek from Jamestown of which more than a bare mention survives.
But, no action was taken to expand Virginia into Raleigh's Virginia. Time marched on, and the Virginia Company started having "problems" - the usual - internal management struggle to see who would control things. And, this became more and more evident even to "outsiders," especially King James.
King James became concerned that his whims were not regarded by these officials as commands. The case was taken to court under a writ of quo warranto and in a decision rendered on May 24, 1624, the company's charter was declared vacated. After eighteen years under the direction of a joint stock company, the colony of Virginia came under the control of the crown as the first royal colony in English history.
So, no one won. Within a year, King James died, and King Charles I was crowned. And, Charles wasted little time in proclaiming the territory formerly held by the Virginia Company to be a part of the royal demesne. The king was then free to dispose of the ungranted land in that region as he pleased. Except for the settlement along the James River and the infant colony at Plymouth on Cape Cod Bay, the Atlantic seaboard from somewhere north of Spain's St. Augustine might now be enjoyed by King Charles.
On October 30, 1629, in the fifth year of his reign, King Charles exercised his right by granting to his attorney general, Sir Robert Heath, the territory between 31 degrees and 36 degrees North latitude. This is the region lying from about thirty miles north of the Florida state line to the southern side of Albemarle Sound in North Carolina.
Except for Roanoke Island it did not include the territory already explored by Virginians. Heath held this vast domain from the Atlantic to the Pacific as sole proprietor.
King Charles declared the region granted to Heath to be a province and he named it Carolana for himself. At one point in the charter it is also referred to as New Carolana. Heath was directed to have ready in his province for the use of the king or his successors, in case they should enter Carolana, a 20-ounce "Circle of Gold, formed in the fashion of a crown ... with this inscription engraved upon it, deus coronet opus suum."
Why Not New France?
King Williams War (also known as the War of the Grand Alliance - 1689 to 1697) was the first in a series of colonial conflicts between France and England for supremacy in North America. The major goal, other than prestige, was the control of the fur trade. All of these struggles had European counterparts that were often of greater significance than the American events.
King William refers to William III of England, the new monarch imported from the Netherlands at the time of the Glorious Revolution in 1688-89. The new king allied himself with the League of Augsburg (certain German states, Spain and Sweden) to oppose the French expansion. The Austrians and the Dutch also joined the fray against Louis XIV in the European phase of the conflict.
In North America, hostilities began when Louis de Buade, Comte de Frontenac led attacks against English frontier outposts. The most telling blow was delivered against Schenectady in February 1690, prompting a counterattack against Port Royal in Maythe only success the English colonists experienced in the conflict.
Later French and Indian raids were made against Falmouth (later Portland, Maine) in July 1690; Durham, New Hampshire in June 1694; and Haverhill, Massachusetts in March 1697.
Peace was temporarily established in the Treaty of Ryswick in 1697. North American territorial gains were returned to the original holders, establishing a status quo back to where things were before the war..
Fighting was renewed in the New World in Queen Anne's War (also known as the War of Spanish Succession) from 1701 to 1714.
The French stuggled at first to establish a foot-hold in North America. Jacques Cartier explored the New World from 1519 to 1522, yet the first French settlement was in 1542 at Cap Rouge, but it was a debaucle and soon abandoned. It would be over sixty years before the French were back in North America - and they came back slowly. Pierre Du Guast, sieur du Monts settled Port Royal in 1605, and Samuel de Champlain settled Quebec in 1608. Montreal came next in 1642, and the "Louisiana Territory" was explored between 1673 and 1682, with French settlements following soon thereafter.
But, the French - like almost every other European nation - was plagued with near-constant wars during the 1500s, 1600s, and 1700s. All affected the French's capability to sustain North American colonialization, but the War of Religion (1563-1598), the Huguenot Rebellion (1625-1628), the Thirty Years War (1618-1648), and the Franco-Spanish War (1635-1659) seriously hampered their global aspirations.
Somehow, the English "won out" in North America. They were at war as much as any other European country, perhaps moreso. Yet, they persevered and their barrage of colonial settlements all along the East Coast quickly deterred the other "powers" from gaining the upper hand during the 1600s and early 1700s.
Why Not Northern Florida?
After Sir Francis Drake had almost destroyed St. Augustine in 1585, the Spanish decided to concentrate their forces there. With the withdrawal from Santa Elena to St. Augustine in 1587, South Carolina was again left to the Native Americans until the English established the first permanent European settlement at Albermarle Point on the Ashley River in 1670.
Although the Anglo-Spanish war (1585-1601) was never officially declared, it was a full-fledged "fight for imperial domination" for the New World, primarily regarding North America. Since finding the West Indies in 1492, the Spanish focused their efforts on searching for gold, not for establishing settlements. The Spanish were profuse explorers, and with their conquistadors they were profound conquerors of the Native Americans that they met along the way.
But, the early Spanish conquistadors had no great dreams of establishing cities, towns, or farms - and apparently neither did King Ferdinand nor King Carlos I. The leaders were smart enough to set up a somewhat localized system of government by establishing their American headquarters on Hispaniola, complete with governor and supporting staff.
As early as the 1520s, the remote staff somehow realized that there just might be something worth looking at north of Florida, and in 1514 and 1521 small expeditions were sent north to see what might be along the East Coast. Positive reports arrived and by 1526 Hispaniola sent forth a small group with the express orders to establish a fort and settlement at Winyah Bay, near what is present-day Georgetown, South Carolina. This group even explored up the Santee River, deep into Indian territory, but the settlement's leader died and the remainder of the group decided to go back to Hispaniola.
Hernando de Soto brought a very large expedition into the Carolinas in 1540 - looking for gold, of course. Finding none, the Spanish lost interest until the 1560s, when two other expeditions were sent to Carolina. One settled on Port Royal Island (Santa Elena) and even "made a go of it" for over a decade. However, when Sir Francis Drake sacked St. Augustine the Spanish on Hispaniola rethought their North American goals and objectives and decided that they had plenty of other areas - in South America, Central America, and the Southwestern part of North America that were not as formidable as the "English Virginae."
Meanwhile in Spain, the homeland was embroiled in as many European wars as France and England. And, Spain was very focused on its domination of The Netherlands in the late 1500s and early 1600s that most of the gold it gathered from the New World was spent on paying for all of its European obligations. Add to that the off-and-on alliances that seemed to switch yearly, the Spanish royalty had managed to win its way into the Holy Roman Empire, which was a source of pride - and a royal pain in the ..... From approximately 1500 until 1720, Spain was warring with some other country nonstop.
Therefore, once again the English "won out" in North America. Timing WAS everything.