Historical Resources for The First Landing Movie


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Robert Hunt Biography (pdf) /noindex/pdf/RobertHuntBio.pdf
Historical Biographies (pdf) /noindex/pdf/HistoricalBios.pdf
Cape Henry: Spiritual Roots of a Nation (pdf) /noindex/pdf/CapeHenry.pdf
The Jamestown Journey Project http://www.jamestownjourney.org

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Historical Bios (image, name/title, bio)


Rev. Robert Hunt was born in 1568. He was ordained by the Church of England and then selected by the Archbishop of Canterbury to be the vicar of Reculver, County of Kent, England, from 1594 to 1602. In 1602 he was appointed vicar of All Saints Church at Old Heathfield, East Sussex, England.

In 1607, burning with a passion to spread the Gospel to a new land, Hunt left his family behind and set sail as chaplain of the Virginia Company expedition that would birth Jamestown, Virginia, the first permanent English settlement in the New World.

During the first six weeks of his seagoing journey, he and the other hundred or so English explorers suffered great storms less than 12 miles from Old Heathfield, where Hunt was vicar. Many of the men on ship would have become discouraged had it not been for the devoted example of Parson Hunt, who despite serious seasickness felt led to minister aboard.

On April 29, 1607, the settlers set foot at Cape Henry, which they named after the Prince of Wales. Here the colonists planted an oak cross specifically transported for that purpose, and Rev. Hunt offered his first official prayers to the Lord on North American soil. Hunt led the group of colonists in prayer and dedicated the land to God.

Upon their arrival in Jamestown, Hunt was named rector and led regular worship services at the settlement. He was well respected by the colonists, even those who disagreed with him, for his virtuous character and peacemaking nature. Captain John Smith described Rev. Hunt as "our honest, religious and courageous divine."

Historians believe that Robert Hunt died in the spring of 1608, shortly after surviving the accidental fire at the Jamestown fort that destroyed most everything, including Hunt's library. Hunt's will, probated in July 1608, is the only documented evidence of his death.


Born in 1552, Richard Hakluyt (c. 1552 - November 23, 1616) was an English writer, famous for his Voyages, which provided William Shakespeare and others with material, and was a foundation for the travel literature genre. The Hakluyts were of Welsh extraction, and appear to have settled in Herefordshire around the 13th century.

Hakluyt was born in Hereford and educated at Westminster School, where he was a Queen's Scholar; while there he visited to his cousin and namesake, Richard Hakluyt of the Middle Temple, whose conversation, illustrated by "certain bookes of cosmographie, an universall mappe, and the Bible," made young Hakluyt resolve to "prosecute that knowledge, and kind of literature."

Entering Christ Church, Oxford, in 1570,"; his exercises of duty first performed," he set out to read all the printed or written voyages and discoveries that he could find.

He took his BA in 1573/4, and shortly after taking his MA (1575), he began giving public lectures in geography, the first to show "both the old imperfectly composed and the new lately reforme mappes, globes, spheares, and other instruments of this art."

As a result of his research, he wrote and published, in 1582, his Divers Voyages Touching the Discoverie of America and the Ilands Adjacent unto the Same, Made First of all by our Englishmen and Afterward by the Frenchmen and Britons.

He went on to produce The Principall Navigations, Voiages and Discoveries of the English Nation...in 1589, using eye-witness accounts as far as possible.

Hakluyt's first work brought him to the notice of Lord Howard of Effingham, and so to that of Sir Edward Stafford, Lord Howard's brother-in-law.

At the age of thirty, being acquainted with" the chiefest captaines at sea, the greatest merchants, and the best mariners of our nation," he was selected, as chaplain to accompany Stafford, now English ambassador at the French court, to Paris (1583).

In accordance with the instructions of Secretary Francis Walsingham, he occupied himself chiefly in collecting information of the Spanish and French movements, and" making diligent inquirie of such things as might yield any light unto our westerne discoverie in America."

Although he only visited the Continent once during his life, he was angered to hear, in Paris, the limitations of the English, in terms of travel, being discussed.

The first-fruits of Hakluyt's labours in Paris are embodied in his important work entitled A particuler discourse concerning Wesierne discoveries written in the yere 1584, by Richarde Hackluyt of Oxforde, at the requeste and direction of the righte worshipfull Mr Walter Ragfly before the comynge home of his twoo barkes.

This long-lost manuscript was at last printed in 1877. Its object was to recommend the enterprise of planting the English race in the unsettled parts of North America.

Hakluyt's other works consist mainly of translations and compilations, relieved by his dedications and prefaces, which last, with a few letters, are the only material we possess out of which a biography of him can be framed.

Hakluyt revisited England in 1584, laid before Queen Elizabeth a copy of the Discourse " along with one in Latin upon Aristotle's Politicks," and obtained, two days before his return to Paris, the grant of the next vacant prebend at Bristol, to which he was admitted in 1586 and held with his other preferments till his death.

While in Paris Hakluyt interested himself in the publication of the manuscript journal of Laudonniere, the Histoire notable de la Florida, edited by Bassanier (Paris, 1586, 8vo.).

This was translated by Hakluyt and published in London under the title of A notable historie containing foure voyages made by certayne French captaynes into Florida (London, 1587, 4t0.)

The same year De orbe novo Petri Martyris Anglerii decades octo illustratae labore et industria Richardi Hackluyti saw the light at Paris.

This work contains the exceedingly rare copperplate map dedicated to Hakluyt and signed F.G. (supposed to be Francis Gualle); it is the first on which the name of "Virginia " appears.

In 1588 Hakluyt finally returned to England with Lady Stafford, after a residence in France of nearly five years. In 1589 he published the first edition of his chief work, The Principall Navigations, Voiages and Discoveries of the English Nation (101., London, 1 vol.)

In the preface to this we have the announcement of the intended publication of the first terrestrial globe made in England by Molyneux.

In 1598-1600 appeared the final, reconstructed and greatly enlarged edition of The Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques and Discoveries of the English Nation (fol., 3 vols.) Some few copies contain an exceedingly rare map, the first on the Mercator projection made in England according to the true principles laid down by Edward Wright.

Hakluyt's great collection, though but little read, has been truly called the "prose epic of the modern English nation."; It is an invaluable treasure of material for the history of geographical discovery and colonization, which has secured for its editor a lasting reputation.

In 1601 Hakluyt edited a translation from the Portuguese of Antonio Galvano, The Discoveries of the World (4to., London).

In the same year his name occurs as an adviser to the East India Company, supplying them with maps, and informing them as to markets. Meantime in 1590 (April 20th) he had been instituted to the rectory of Witheringsett-cum-Brockford, Suffolk.

On May 4, 1602, he was installed as prebendary of Westminster, and in the following year was elected archdeacon of Westminster. In the licence of his second marriage (March 30, 1604) he is described as one of the chaplains of the Savoy, and his will refers to chambers occupied by him there up to the time of his death; in another official document he is styled D.D.

In 1605 he secured the prospective living of James Town, the intended capital of the intended colony of Virginia.

This benefice he supplied, when the colony was at last established in 1607, by a curate, one Robert Hunt. In 1606 he appears as one of the chief promoters of the petition to the king for patents to colonize Virginia.

He was also a leading adventurer in the London or South Virginia Company. His last publication was a translation of Hernando de Soto's discoveries in Florida, entitled Virginia richly valued by the description of Florida her next neighbour (London, 1609, 4to.)

This work was intended to encourage the young colony of Virginia; to Hakluyt, it has been said, "England is more indebted for its American possession than to any man of that age."

One may notice that it was at Hakluyt's suggestion that Robert Parke translated Mendoza's History of China (London, 1588-1580) and John Pory made his version of Leo Africanus (A Geographical History of Africa, London, 1600).

Hakluyt died in 1616 and was buried in Westminster Abbey (November 26); by an error in the abbey register his burial is recorded under the year 1626. Out of his various emoluments and preferments (of which the last was Gedney rectory, Lincolnshire, in 1612) he amassed a small fortune, which was squandered by a son.

A number of his manuscripts, sufficient to form a fourth volume of his collections of 1598-1600, fell into the hands of Samuel Purchas, who inserted them in an abridged form in his Pilgrimes (1625-1626, fol.)

Others are preserved at Oxford (Bib. Bod. manuscript Seld. B. 8) which consist chiefly of notes gathered from contemporary authors.

The Hakluyt Society was founded in 1846 for printing rare and unpublished voyages and travels, and continues to publish two or three volumes per year.

Geographer, born in Hertfordshire, SE England, UK. He studied at Oxford, where he lectured in geography, and was ordained some time before 1580. He wrote widely on exploration and navigation, notably his Principal Navigations, Voyages, and Discoveries of the English Nation (1589; 3 vols, 1598-1600.)

He also introduced the use of globes into English schools. Made a prebendary of Westminster in 1602, he is buried in Westminster Abbey. The Hakluyt Society was instituted in 1846.


James Charles Stuart was born on June 19, 1566, at Edinburgh Castle in Scotland. He was the son of Lord Darnley, who was murdered in early 1567 before James was 1 year old. His mother was Mary Queen of Scots, whose reign on the Scottish throne was short-lived. She was forced to abdicate in favor of her son on July 24, 1567.

James was crowned King James VI of Scotland at the age of only 13 months. James' mother, Mary, was imprisoned in England by her cousin Queen Elizabeth. Nineteen years later, in February of 1587, Mary was executed for her part in the conspiracy to assassinate Queen Elizabeth. King James never knew his mother.

King James was subsequently raised as a protestant by tutors, the most influential of which was George Buchanan, a staunch Calvinist historian and poet. Under Buchanan's direction, King James became one of the most erudite men to ever sit on any throne.

He was fluent enough in Greek, Latin, French, English, and Scots that he typically did not need a translator when conducting business with other heads of state.

A lover of literature, King James was also a patron of the theater, specifically supporting William Shakespeare. At 19, King James began to rule Scotland. A few years later, he married Anne of Denmark and together they had nine children.

King James believed in the Divine Right of Kings and the monarch's duty to reign according to God's law and the public good, so he wrote a short treatise called Basilicon Doron, which means "The Kingly Gift," for his eldest son, Prince Henry, in order to teach him godly principles.

Because King James was often sickly and had survived several assassination attempts, he feared that he might not survive to train his son. Thus, he wrote this book.

Basilicon Doron was not meant for public consumption. In fact, King James swore his printer, Robert Waldegrave, to secrecy, ordering only seven copies of the volume. However, word got abroad, so the King eventually published the work, making it available to the general public. It became a bestseller.

Still King of Scotland, King James assumed his duel role as King of England after the death of Queen Elizabeth in 1603. He was now known as King James VI of Scotland and King James I of England. That same year, the King designed the British flag by combining England's red cross of St. George with Scotland's white cross of St. Andrew.

On October 20, 1604, King James proclaimed himself the first monarch to unite Scotland, England, and Ireland into what he termed Great Britain, though the United Kingdom of Great Britain would not exist until the Acts of Union in 1707.

As a Scotsman ruling over the English, the King endured much racism and slander, most notably from one of his detractors, Sir Anthony Weldon, who wrote accusingly about King James in his treatise called A Perfect Description of the People and Country of Scotland.

King James was the founding monarch of the United States. Under his reign, the first successful colonies were established in Virginia, Massachusetts, and Nova Scotia.

The King himself ordered, wrote, and authorized the Evangelistic Grant Charter to settle the Colony of Virginia: "To make habitation...and to deduce a colony of sundry of our people into that part of America, commonly called Virginia...in propagating of Christian religion to such people as yet live in darkness...to bring a settled and quiet government."

In the Virginia Colony in the New World, the Jamestown Settlement, established in 1607, and the James River were named in honor of James I.

His crowning achievement as king was the commissioning of the Authorized King James Version of the Bible so that his subjects could understand the Holy Bible for themselves and be saved.

In January of 1604, the King called the Hampton Court Conference in order to hear of grievances in the church. At this conference, Puritan Dr. John Reynolds requested of the King a new translation of the Bible. Apparently, Reynolds believed that translations commissioned during the reigns of Henry the VIII and Edward the VI were corrupt.

In July 1604, the King appointed 54 men who were highly acclaimed linguists, scholars, and dedicated Christians to the translation committee. Though the Roman Catholic Church was strictly opposed to a Bible written for the commoner, the King James Bible was completed and published in 1611.

It is still the best selling book of all time, and for many Christians, remains the preferred version of the Word of God.

King James lost his eldest son, Prince Henry, in 1612, and his wife, Anne, in 1619. King James, who had suffered from crippling arthritis, abdominal colic, gout, weak limbs, nausea, and other ailments, died in his bed at the age of 59 on March 27, 1625, and was buried at Westminster Abbey.


Edward Maria Wingfield, grandson of Richard Wingfield and son of Thomas Maria Wingfield, was born in 1560 at Stoneley, Huntingdonshire, in England, and served as a soldier in both Ireland and the Low Countries.

In 1606 he became one of the patentees of Virginia, and in 1607 he accompanied the first colonists to Jamestown. May 15, 1607, Wingfield was elected president of the governing council there. However, due to his lack of leadership, his Roman Catholic leanings, and the suspicion that he had friendly ties with Spain, Wingfield was deposed in September.

He returned to England in April 1608. He died in 1613. Wingfield's amplified diary, "A Discourse of Virginia" was published in Archaeologia Americana, Vol. IV (Worcester, 1860.) Charles Deane wrote the introduction and notes.


Percy, an English explorer, was the eighth son of Henry Percy, eighth Earl of Northumberland. He entered the army early in life, serving in the Netherlands, before traveling to Virginia.

Percy joined the legendary John Smith on the 1606 expedition to colonize the New World and served as deputy governor in Jamestown, Virginia, from 1609-1610.

Percy returned to England in 1612 and later wrote two accounts about his experiences, A True Virginianand Observations Gathered out of a Discourse of the Plantation of the Southerne Colonie in Virginia by the English (also called Discourse of the Plantation of Virginia).

Percy's narrative about the voyage to Jamestown is recorded in Samuel Purchas' Pilgrimes, 1685-90, published in 1725.

There has been some discrepancy on Percy's dates of birth and death. Some say he was born in 1580, others say it was 1586, and still others note 1588. Records also suggest differences on his date of death - 1631 or 1632.


John Andrew Smith was born in 1580 in Willoughby, England. After his father died, Smith left home at age 16 and ran off to sea. He served as a mercenary in the army of King Henry IV of France against the Spaniards. In 1600, he joined Austrian forces to fight the Turks in what was called the "Long War."

It was while fighting in Hungary that Smith's valiant soldiering would earn him the title of captain. In the winter of 1604-05, Smith returned to England and joined the Virginia Company voyage to colonize the first permanent English settlement in North America for profit.

On board ship, Smith was apparently an incendiary, and Captain Christopher Newport, the leader of the expedition, had planned to execute him upon arrival in Virginia. However, upon first landing at what is now Cape Henry on April 26, 1607, sealed orders from the Virginia Company named Smith one of the seven listed council members set to govern the new colony. Newport was forced to spare Smith's life.

On May 13, 1607, the settlers landed at Jamestown. Smith was instrumental in fighting off attacks from the native Algonquian Indians, who continually raided the camp and stole necessary supplies.

In December 1607, Smith was taken hostage by the Indians and brought to Chief Powhatan, where he was held for four weeks in captivity at Werowocomoco, the chief village of the Powhatan Confederacy about 15 miles north of Jamestown on the north shore of the York River. Smith feared for his life but was eventually released unharmed back to Jamestown.

He attributed his safety to the chief's 11-year-old daughter, Pocahontas. Smith is said to have been rescued by Pocahontas a second time in 1608. Historians have seriously questioned the veracity of Smith's Pocahontas tales. Smith's version of events is the only source, and knowing Smith's tendency toward boastfulness, the facts could easily have been exaggerated.

Smith eventually left Jamestown to explore and map the Chesapeake Bay region and find much-needed supplies. His journey took him across an estimated 3,000 miles.

In September 1608, he was elected president of the local council of Jamestown. Smith's strong leadership and farming expertise enabled the settlement to survive and thrive during the next year. His key admonition was "he who does not work will not eat."

In 1609, Smith sustained a serious gunpowder burn during a skirmish between the Virginia colonists and the Powhatan Indians, forcing Smith to return to England. He never sailed back to Virginia. He did, however, sail to Maine and the Massachusetts Bay areas in 1614, a region which he named New England with the blessing of Prince Charles.

Smith spent the rest of his life writing books until his death in 1631.


Christopher Newport was the captain of the Susan Constant, one of the ships in the Virginia Company that sailed from London, England, to carry English settlers to North America in 1606.

The capable English mariner was born in 1560 and rose to a distinguished position of being one of six masters of the royal navy. He entered sea service at an early age and became a privateer, sailing the waters of the West Indies. He is known for capturing the Spanish ship the Madre de Dios in 1592, taking the greatest English plunder of the century.

Newport's experience and reputation as a gifted seaman led to his hiring by the Virginia Company of London as commander of an expedition to the New World. On December 19, 1606, he sailed out with three ships: the Susan Constant, Godspeed, and Discovery.

Success or failure of the English expedition to Jamestown, Virginia, rested solely on Newport's shoulders. Newport was also in charge of the sealed orders that held the names of the seven council members that would govern the new colony. Newport's name was among those listed.

On May 13, 1607, the settlers landed at Jamestown. The next month, Newport left behind 104 colonists and returned to England for supplies and more settlers. When he sailed back to Jamestown in 1608, most of the settlers had died from starvation, Indian attacks, or disease. It is said that Newport prevented John Smith from being executed for failing to protect his men from Indian attack.

Newport served the Virginia Company for about five years, making numerous supply trips between England and the Jamestown settlement. His fourth adventure to America in 1609 ended in shipwreck off the Bermuda Islands.

Years later, Newport was employed by the East India Company to command ships heading toward the East Indies. He made three voyages from 1613 to 1617. His final trip was as commander of the ship Hope. He died on the island of Java, which is now part of Indonesia, while on his final seagoing venture.

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