Upon arrival, Newport was named one of the seven-person government of the settlement, named Jamestown for King James I and established on May 13, 1607. Between 1606 and 1611, Newport led a total of five voyages between Virginia and England, bringing supplies and additional settlers back to the fledgling colony (Albert, 2016). Once Newport led the colonists back to England to report to King James, those left behind suffered greatly from hunger and illness, as well as the constant threat of attack by members of local Algonquian tribes, most of which were organized under Chief Powhatan. An understanding reached between Powhatan and John Smith led the settlers to establish much-needed trade with Powhatan’s tribe by early 1608 (History.com, 2012).
Accused of mutiny during the settling of Jamestown, John Smith was imprisoned on the Susan Constant. According to sources, he was able to communicate with some of the ship's passengers along the voyages to Jamestown. On June 10th, Smith was finally released from the first prison of Virginia aboard the Susan Constant. Soon after, Smith was part of the effort to overthrow colony president Edward Wingfield (biography.com, 2014). After a new group of settlers arrived in 1610, tobacco became Virginia’s first profitable export, and a period of peace followed the marriage of colonist John Rolfe to Pocahontas, the daughter of an Algonquian chief Powhatan. King James I dissolved the Virginia Company and made Virginia into an official crown colony, with Jamestown as its capital, in 1624 (History.com, 2010).
After the initial settlement, the Susan Constant and The Godspeed made several more trips between Jamestown and England in the service of the Virginia Company. Afterward, they made have returned to service as colliers, or ships for transporting coal. The Discovery was purchased by the Muscovy Company and continued to trade around Virginia, and the last mention of it was around 1611.
The Commonwealth of Virginia financed $2.14 million for the creation of a replica of the Susan Constant. The production of the replica, completed in 1991, was led by Robert G.C. Fee, the Naval Architect for the Newport News Shipbuilding Company. Valuable information on the original Susan Constant's dimensions came from court documents detailed a minor collision between the ship and another on the River Thames. The Susan Constant replica sailed around Chesapeake Bay in 2007 as part of the Jamestown settlement's 400th anniversary celebrations.
A replica of the Godspeed was built between 2004 and 2006, and a replica of the Discovery followed in 2007. The Virginia General Assembly declared the three replicas the official fleet of the Commonwealth.