Hampton History Museum

Posted on: January 23, 2018

Jamestown: A Spectacular Failure - Monday, March 5, 7-8 pm

SQUARE Landing Party US Navy Image

Join Dr. Thomas Hall, Associate Director of the Public History Center at Christopher Newport University, for “Jamestown: A Spectacular Failure” as he explores the 1607 Virginia Company of London, what went wrong and what went right, for the Hampton History Museum’s Port Hampton Lecture Series on Monday, March 5, 7-8 pm.

The Virginia Company of London was an English joint stock company established by royal charter in 1606 by King James I with the purpose of establishing colonial settlements in North America.  Its territory ranged from the 34th parallel at Cape Fear, NC, north to the 41st parallel in Long Island Sound.  The company was permitted by its charter to establish a 100-square-mile settlement within this area.

In this lecture, Dr. Hall will answer three intriguing questions concerning the spectacular failure of the Virginia Company of London, which brought to Jamestown in 1607 and thereafter boatloads of settlers--many of whom perished for no good reason.

The first question is why did a royally-chartered company with free reign to exploit the bulk of North America fail so miserably?  Second, how did 17th-century English merchants and gentry, united in common cause against Spain, derail any possibility for the firm’s success?  Third, how did a collapsed company form the basis for the most economically important English colony until well into the 1800s?

Dr. Hall will explore how the governance of the corporation fostered malfeasance. The Company struggled financially, especially with labor shortages in its Virginia colony. Misguided management shipped increasing numbers of colonists to Jamestown that arrived in late summer and early fall. These colonists arrived hungry with no supplies and not enough time to plant crops before winter, resulting in repeated starvations.

This lecture was originally presented at the Yale School of Management Millstein Center for Corporate Performance and Governance.  Dr. Hall serves as the Associate Director of the Public History Center at Christopher Newport University, and is also an Associate Professor of Finance and Economics.

Dr. Thomas Hall
Dr. Hall is an Associate Professor of Economics and Finance in the Luter School of Business at Christopher Newport University, where he also serves as the Associate Director of the Public History Center.

He obtained undergraduate and master’s degrees at the Johns Hopkins University, and his doctorate at the University of Southern California.  

Dr. Hall has over three decades of work experience in academia, the private sector, and government.  He has dozens of publications and has made over 70 presentations at academic and practitioner conferences and meetings.  His academic work in finance and economics involves privately-held companies, entrepreneurial finance, and economic history.  His private sector experience includes investment banking, management consulting, and data analytics, with a specialization in surveys.  Outside of the United States, he has worked in Germany, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Zimbabwe.

He has received research and implementation grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Park Service, the National Association of Realtors, Dominion Virginia Power, the OECD, and the Mariners’ Museum, supporting historical and analytical work for various nonprofit organizations.  He has contributed to fostering economic development in Hampton Roads, including consulting assignments with the Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce as well as confidential clients.

Dr. Hall currently serves on the Board of the Virginia Beach Historic Museums Foundation.

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