Land of the Brave

Charter of Virginia

Colonial America - Land of the Brave

Charter of Virginia - English Common Law

On April 10, 1606 King James I of England issued the 1606 First Virginia Charter which created the Virginia Company authorizing eight Englishmen to colonize "that part of America commonly called Virginia".

When the first colonists landed in Jamestown, Virginia in 1607 they brought the English Common Law with them. The term "common law" was the name given to the law that emerged as "common" throughout the realm of England.

First Charter of Virginia - The Words on the Jamestown Plaque

The words on the Jamestown Plaque are as follows:

Here the common law of England was established on this continent with the arrival of the first settlers on May 13, 1607. The first charter granted by James I to the Virginia Company in 1606 declared that the inhabitants of the colony “…shall have and enjoy all liberties, franchises and immunities…as if they had been abiding and borne within this our realme of Englande…” Since Magna Carta the common law has been the cornerstone of individual liberties, even as against the crown. Summarized later in the bill of rights its principles have inspired the development of our system of freedom under law, which is at once our dearest possession and proudest achievement.

First Charter of Virginia Text and Words
The original words and text of the first Charter of Virginia can be read via the

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