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The first successful English colony at North America was established by John Smith at Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607. Disease, hunger and battles with the Native Americans almost wiped out the settlement but it survived under the leadership of Captain Smith. In 1612, John Rolfe introduced tobacco-growing to the settlers. The crop earned them money and they prospered. By 1619 African slaves had arrived to work on the first tobacco plantations. As the demand for tobacco increased, so the tobacco growers needed more land and took it from the local people. This struggle for land led to bitter wars between the colonists and the Native North Americans around them.

Also in 1619, the first elected representatives in the colony of Virginia, together with its governor and council, met at Jamestown to make the laws.

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