|A Year of Indiana History - 2016|
The King had issued the First Virginia Charter on April 10, 1606 to the Virginia Company. The Second Virginia Charter changed a few of the administrative details of the first Charter. The major change was the expansion of territory included that the Virginia Company controlled.
Virginia Company of London (London Company)
The purpose of the Virginia Company, as stated by the King, was to propagate the Christian religion. The Charter stated the settlers were to engage "in propagating of Christian Religion to such People, as yet live in Darkness and miserable Ignorance of the true Knowledge and Worship of God, and may in time bring the Infidels and Savages, living in those parts, to human Civility, and to a settled and quiet Government."
The First Virginia Charter
The first charter to the Virginia Company by King James granted the company all lands "which are not now actually possessed by any Christian Prince or People", a sizeable chunk of property the lay between forty-five degrees latitude and thirty degrees latitude and extending one hundred miles inland from the coast. The stated purpose of the charter was in “propagating of Christian Religion to such People, as yet live in Darkness and miserable Ignorance of the true Knowledge and Worship of God, and may in time bring the Infidels and Savages, living in those parts, to human Civility, and to a settled and quiet Government: DO, by these our Letters Patents, graciously accept of, and agree to, their humble and well-intended Desires."
The Charter extended all the rights of an Englishman to the settlers of these lands. It gave them the normal protections that a British citizen enjoyed. The king retained ownership of the land. The shareholders and the king would share the profits of any venture. The Charter provided a governing Council both in England with a member of it in the new colonies. There were two branches of the Company, a Virginia branch and a Plymouth branch. The Virginia branch received a charter to establish colonies in the Chesapeake Bay area. The Plymouth branch obtained the New England area.
Second Virginia Charter
The Second Virginia Charter expanded the area of control. The old charter had limited the inland penetration to one hundred miles from the coastline. The Second Charter extended the region from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific coast, an area that would include the latter Northwest Territory and the states of Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota. The charter also included virtually all of what would later become the Continental United States. This was instrumental later when Virginia granted George Rogers Clark the area that would become Clark County in the State of Indiana in 1781. Virginia finally gave up this claim March 1, 1784 in order to satisfy Maryland's demand before it ratified the Articles of Confederation.
A Year of Indiana History - 2016
© Paul Wonning