The Virginia Venture: American Colonization and English Society, 1580-1660

Time Period
16,000 BCE to 1622 CE
1623 to 1763
Media Type
Business & Industry
Domestic Life
Women's History
Misha Ewen

On June 22, 2023, Misha Ewen presented a fascinating virtual discussion of her new book, The Virginia Venture: American Colonization and English Society, 1580–1660. Ordinary women, children, and men in England contributed to (and sometimes opposed) the colonization of the first permanent English colony in America: Jamestown. Across English society, from the streets of London to rural villages in Cornwall, people engaged with fundraising schemes and efforts to transport poor families, they grew and smoked tobacco, and they read literature and listened to sermons in church which promoted colonization in America. In ways that have largely gone unnoticed, they helped to support, or sometimes undermine, the efforts of colonizers. In this lecture, Misha Ewen discusses her research in archives across England which help us to understand this chapter in United States history through a new lens: as history which intertwined with everyday life in towns and villages across England, with lasting consequences for society “at home” and in the “New World.”

Misha Ewen is a Lecturer in Early Modern History at the University of Bristol. She has held fellowships at Yale University, the Huntington Library, and Folger Shakespeare Library, and has made several appearances on TV and radio, including “Inside the Tower of London.” The Virginia Venture, published by University of Pennsylvania Press in 2022, is her first book. This lecture was sponsored by The Society of Colonial Wars in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The content and opinions expressed in these presentations are solely those of the speaker and not necessarily of the Virginia Museum of History & Culture.

Want to listen to an audio-only version of this lecture? Listen now on SoundCloud.