In May 1607, 105 Englishmen arrived at what would become the first viable English colony in North America: Jamestown. Historians traditionally focus on the harsh conditions—famine, drought, conflict—prevalent during the settlement’s early years; however, Jamestown persisted, evolving from a fledgling fort into an established settlement and eventual county seat during the course of the 17th century. As an extension of England in the New World, Jamestown held a unique position on a continent characterized by significant native populations and a minimal European presence. A cycle of hostile and peaceful interactions between the English and the native Powhatan peoples proved fundamental in shaping the settlement’s development. In addition, shifting political and economic dynamics in Europe and England resulted in almost continuous changes to Jamestown’s political organization and economic standing. Through the tenets of Immanuel Wallerstein’s world-systems theory, Jamestown’s growth can be examined as a natural effect of the colony’s relationship with the core of its economy: England. Using a combination of historical documents and archaeological evidence, this study examines Jamestown’s evolving position within an increasingly global economy.


Kardulias, P. Nicholas




Archaeological Anthropology


jamestown, english expansion, world-systems theory

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2012 Catherine Gullett