- In 1618, the headright system was introduced as a means to solve the labor shortage.
- Colonists already residing in Virginia were granted two headrights, meaning two tracts of 50 acres each, or a total of 100 acres of land.
- New settlers who paid their own passage to Virginia were granted one headright. Since every person who entered the colony received a headright, families were encouraged to migrate together.
Wealthy individuals could accumulate headrights by paying for the passage of poor individuals. Most of the workers who entered Virginia under this arrangement came as indentured servants — people who paid for their transportation by pledging to perform five to seven years of labor for the landowner.
The implementation of the headright system was an important ingredient in Virginia’s success. Land ownership gave many people a reason to work hard, with the assurance that they were providing for their own futures, not that of the company