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The Plymouth Company (the Plymouth Adventurers, also called the Virginia Company of Plymouth or simply Virginia Bay Company) was an Englishmarker joint stock company founded in 1606 by James I of England with the purpose of establishing settlements on the coast of North America.

The Plymouth Company was one of two companies, along with the London Company, chartered with such a purpose as part of the Virginia Company. In form it was similar to the Company of Merchant Adventurers of London. The territory of the company was the coast of North America from the 38th parallel to the 45th parallel, but being part of the Virginia Company and Colony, The Plymouth Company owned a large portion of Atlantic and Inland Canada. The portion of company's area south of the 41st parallel overlapped that of the London Company, with the stipulation being that neither company could found a settlement within of an existing settlement of the other company.

In 1607, the company established the Popham Colonymarker at the mouth of the Kennebec River in present-day Mainemarker. The settlement was founded in the same year that the London Company had established the Jamestown Settlementmarker, but unlike Jamestown, the Popham settlement was abandoned after only one year.

The company thus fell into disuse and in 1609, the Virginia Colony charter was reorganized to grant the London Company exclusive rights to most of the previously shared territory along the coast.

In 1620, after years of disuse, the company was revived and reorganized as the Plymouth Council for New England. The Plymouth Company had 40 patentees at that point, and established the Council for New England to oversee their efforts. The leading merchant-adventurer of the new company was Sir Ferndinando Gorges. Another patentee and member of the Council was Capt. Christopher Levett, an explorer, writer and naval captain who would attempt his own settlement at present-day Portland, Maine.

References

  1. Baptisms and Admission from the Records of First Church in Falmouth, now Portland, Maine, with Appendix of Historical Notes, Marquis F. King, Maine Genealogical Society, Portland, Maine, 1898


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