©National Archives

Map of Virginia, 1608 This is one of the earliest maps of Virginia and dates from 1608. In the top right-hand corner is an image of Pocahontas, a native North American princess who is said to have saved the life of John Smith, one of the founders of Jamestown. She was later kidnapped by the English, converted to Christianity and married the colonist John Rolfe. She came to England in 1617 when she was presented at the court of James I. She is buried at Gravesend, Kent.

The state of Virginia was named after Elizabeth I, the Virgin Queen. It was here that Jamestown, the first permanent British colony, was founded in 1607. British colonisation had begun the previous century: in 1584, Sir Walter Raleigh was first granted letters patent to discover and colonise 'remote and barbarous landes' in the name of Queen Elizabeth..

See item in the collection's timeline