Hi Sandy. The expeditions to establish the first English colonies in America were paid for by the Royal Family. Later, in the 1600s and 1700s, British trading companies were formed. These companies had stock holders similar to modern day corporations. To most English people America seemed like a widerness and most did not want to settle here. There were laws enacted to help correct the labor shortage in America. One of these laws allowed the wealthy people in England to pay for the passage of people to the American colonies, and in return, they would receive 50 acres of land for each person. To get the 50 acres, the sponsor had to file what was called a 'headright' claim. The sponsor would obtain a certificate from the ship's captain for each person transported, and the sponsor could then use this certificate to claim his land. Tony
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