1618 - Powhatan dies

         Succeeded by his brother Opechancanough, the new chief was much more confrontational than his pacific older brother.  In 1619, colonists were instructed to respect the new emperor.  http://www.personal.kent.edu/~dfriend/powhatan.htm

         Investors in the Jamestown Company was furious because they were being asked to recognize a savage emperor's authority to control the company's land sales.  This contravened Lord Coke's argument that prerogative powers over infidel lands were acquired by 'right of conquest.'  The savages 'laws' were moot at the moment of conquest because they were presumed to be in violation of the laws of God and nature.

Powhatan - Jamestown 

  Jamestown settlers meet with Chief Powhatan, the father of Pocahontas.      

       The problem in Virginia was that none of the Indians had been 'conquered.'  Therefore, the rights claimed by the Virginia Company had not been formally vested by the rights of conquest. 

         Robert Williams notes that the medievally derived presumptions that diminished the rights of infidels could not overcome this fact.  There was no room in this paradigm of infidel conquest for a competing sovereignty in an unconquered slave ruler.  As Lord Coke had ruled in court in England, infidel laws were contrary to the laws of God and nature.  To acknowledge a savage king's sovereignty and counter English claims of land acquisition by conquest would mean that the English had fallen under the authority and jurisdiction of a savage whose laws were contrary to those of God.  And that would not stand.  So, in English legal theory of colonization, savages could never validly exercise sovereignty.  Sovereignty, by its definition, was a power exercised by civilized peoples who recognized the greater theocratic laws of God and nature.

         The company also realized that until the Indian chief was brought to his knees, the company's monopoly over distant lands was a fiction, and the only solution was to conquer the heathen and be done with it.  But irony of ironies, as these points were being debated by company shareholders in London, the new Indian chief was coming to the same conclusion on his own.  He rallied his troops and launched an assault on the settlers in March and killed more than 300 of the settlers in a surprise attack.  Though he had won the first battle (we will see this time and again), he had given the English the justification they needed to wage war.