Land of the Brave

Thomas Dale

Colonial America - Land of the Brave

Short Biography about Thomas Dale
This article contains a short biography and fast facts and information about Sir Thomas Dale. Who was Thomas Dale and why was he famous? The rule of Thomas Dale and Good Order followed a terrible period in the history of American colonization which is referred to as the Starving Time. The 'Starving Time' referred to the situation at Jamestown in the Colony of Virginia when the Powhatan Confederacy attempted to remove the English from Virginia by starvation. The Powhatan campaign killed all but 60 of the 500 colonists during the winter of 16091610. The early colonists were badly prepared and equipped for a self-sufficient lifestyle.

About half of the early colonists were out-of-work "gentlemen". They were not used to physical labor, had little knowledge of farming and had not expected to feed themselves. The terrible experiences of the Starving time could not be repeated. Things had to change. This grave situation led to the rule of Thomas Dale and the period of Good Order.

Facts about Thomas Dale
The following facts about Thomas Dale provide interesting facts and an overview and description of the life and times and his involvement in the colonization of America.

Thomas Dale was born to a wealthy Protestant family in Surrey, England during the Tudor reign of Queen Elizabeth I (1533 1603)

He received an excellent education and had a good knowledge of languages including, Latin, Dutch and French

Thomas Dale began a successful military career in England that included serving in the army during the war with Spain, accompanying Robert Devereux (the Queen's favorite) to Ireland and was made captain of a Dutch infantry company in 1603.

He was member of the Tudor court and used to moving in royal circles including the French court.

Queen Elizabeth I died in 1603 and was succeeded by King James I (1566 - 1625)Thomas Dale was a close friend of Prince Henry, the son of King James.

Thomas Dale was knighted by King James I on June 19, 1606 due to his prowess as an army officer for England and the Dutch and his close association with the Stuart royal family.

This was an exciting period when the early explorers of America were reporting back to England about the New World. On April 10, 1606 King James I of England issued the 1606 First Virginia Charter which created the Virginia Company. Thomas Dale invested in the Virginia Company of London and became keen to visit the new colony that had been established in Jamestown, Virginia in 1607.

News came to England of the problems being encountered at the new Virginia colony. In 1611 Prince Henry arranged for a three-year leave of absence from the Dutch army for Thomas Dale, without pay, to serve in Virginia. Sir Thomas Dale married Elizabeth Throckmorton in the same year.

Sir Thomas Dale was appointed by the Virginia Company of London as the Virginia colony's marshal to take charge of discipline and order. He was also appointed as deputy governor of Virginia, in the absence of Governor De La Warr and Thomas Gates.

Sir Thomas Dale set sail for Virginia in 1611 with 300 armed British troops.

When he arrived in the colony of Virginia he used his skills as a soldier to make changes in the colony:
A strong defensive palisade (fence) was erected (see the above picture of Jamestown)
He established Martial Law and strict military codes
He organized the workforce ensuring that crops were planted and seeds sown
He gave orders that all livestock that had been sent by the Virginia Company were properly tended
Any disobedience from the colonists were to be met with severe corporal punishment or even the death penalty
If a man refused to work, Dale made a slave of him for 3 years. If a man did not work hard enough, he had him soundly whipped. If a man who stole food he would be tied to a tree and left to starve to death as a warning to others.

Sir Thomas Dale established a settlement that he named Henricus, in honor of his patron Prince Henry.

He then turned his attentions to the hostile Native Indians. Sir Thomas Dale and his troops attacked the Appamattuck and Nansemond tribes of Native American Indians. His attacks against the Powhatan Indians eventually led to the end of the first Powhatan War.

Sir Thomas Dale established a settlement that he named Henricus, in honor of his patron Prince Henry.

As the colonists learned to work with the new regulations he granted three acres of land to each man and allowed them time to work on their own land.

Pocahontas: Samuel Argall, who would later become deputy governor of Virginia, captured Pocahontas, the daughter of Chief Powhatan, and held for ransom. In 1613 and she was taken to Jamestown where she converted to Christianity.

Pocahontas: During her time spent during captivity Pocahontas became pregnant. There were rumors that Sir Thomas Dale might have been the father. Her son was of mixed race, and was named Thomas.

Pocahontas: During her pregnancy Pocahontas was sent from Jamestown to live in Henricus. This settlement was less secure than Jamestown, so the reason for this change could have been that Sir Thomas Dale wanted to keep the pregnancy secret from the colonists.

Pocahontas: The following dates appear to 'scotch' the rumor about Pocahontas and Sir Thomas Dale. Pocahontas married John Rolfe on April 5, 1614. Her son, Thomas Rolfe, was said to have been born on January 30, 1615, although there were no written records kept to confirm this date.

Although no gold or silver was found in Virginia it was rich in iron ore. Thomas Dale sent samples of the iron to England. The Iron industry subsequently became one of the greatest sources of wealth in the New England colonies.

Thomas Dale stayed on in Virginia for longer than the intended 3 years. The town of Bermuda Hundred was settled in 1613 by Sir Thomas Dale. He returned to England aboard the Treasurer, accompanied by John Rolfe, Pocahontas and their son Thomas Rolfe in 1616.

The arrival of the Virginian colonists and their news of the crops and natural resources available in the New World boosted the belief in the English Colonization of America and attracted more investors.

Sir Thomas Dale never returned to Virginia. But in 1617 he was given full pay for the his service in the American colony.

In 1618 Thomas Dale led an English force against Dutch soldiers in the East Indies where he took control of Dutch trading posts.

August 9, 1619: Thomas Dale died of fever in Masulipatam, on the southeast coast of India where he was buried.

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