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Thomas Gates (abt. 1585 - 1622)

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Sir Gov. Thomas Gates
Born about in Colyford in Colyton Parish, Devonshire, Englandmap
Son of [father unknown] and [mother unknown]
[sibling(s) unknown]
[spouse(s) unknown]
[children unknown]
Died in The Netherlandsmap
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Profile last modified | Created 25 May 2015 | Last significant change: 18 Dec 2018
15:58: Liz (Noland) Shifflett edited the Biography for Thomas Gates (abt.1585-1622). (updating category name) [Thank Liz for this | 1 thank-you received]
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Categories: Sea Venture, sailed June 18, 1609 | Jamestown, Virginia | Bermuda | Jamestown, Virginia Colony | Ancient Planters of Virginia | US Southern Colonist | Notables | Unconnected Notables.

US Southern Colonies.
Thomas Gates settled in the Southern Colonies in North America prior to incorporation into the USA.
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Sir Thomas Gates served as governor of Virginia in 1610 and then as lieutenant governor from 1611 until 1614. [1]

Born in the southwest of England, he served in the West Indies with Sir Francis Drake and fought with Robert Devereux, second earl of Essex, in Normandy and Cádiz, where Gates was knighted in 1596. [2]

Gates was an original investor in the Virginia Company of London and led an infantry company in the Netherlands until taking command of a massive resupply fleet to Virginia in 1609. Aboard the flagship Sea Venture, Gates and his crew (including William Pierce) were shipwrecked on Bermuda for nearly a year before finally making it to Virginia.[3]

Bermuda has also been known officially as The Somers Isles. Sir Thomas Gates left his own name on a part of the colony, Gate's Bay, where the survivors of the Sea Venture landed. The oldest surviving fort in Bermuda, built between 1612 and 1615, is known as Gate's Fort. [4]

Sir Thomas Gates had a cross erected before leaving Bermuda, on which was a copper tablet inscribed in Latin and English:[5]

In Memory of our deliverance both from the Storme and the Great leake wee have erected this cross to the honour of God. It is the Spoyle of an English Shippe of 300 tonnes called SEA VENTURE bound with seven others (from which the storme divided us) to Virginia or NOVA BRITANIA in America. In it were two Knights, Sir Thomas Gates, Knight Governor of the English Forces and Colonie there: and Sir George Somers, Knight Admiral of the Seas. Her Captain was Christopher Newport. Passengers and mariners she had beside (which all come to safety) one hundred and fiftie. Wee were forced to runne her ashore(by reason of her leake) under a point that bore South East from the Northerne Point of the Island which wee discovered first on the eighth and twentieth of July 1609.[6]

Many scholars believe Gates' accounts inspired William Shakespeare's comedy The Tempest.[7]

In Virginia,Governor Gates encountered a colony on the brink of extinction, saved only by the timely arrival of a new governor, Thomas West, twelfth baron De La Warr. Advocating a strict, military-style regime, Gates instituted a set of rules that were expanded and, in 1612, published as For the Colony in Virginea Britannia. Lawes Divine, Morall and Martiall, &c. [8]

He participated in sometimes brutal attacks on the Indians during the First Anglo-Powhatan War(1609–1614), and, in England, worked as a tireless advocate for the Virginia Company. Returning to Virginia in 1611, Gates stiffened Jamestown's defenses and, with Sir Thomas Dale, cleared much of the James River of Powhatan Indians. Gates died in the Netherlands in 1622. [9]


Gates had five children at his death, Thomas, Anthony, Margaret, Mary, and Elizabeth [10]


  1. Encyclopedia Virginia
  2. Encyclopedia Virginia
  3. Encyclopedia Virginia
  4. Governor Thomas Gates at Wikipedia
  5. Governor Thomas Gates at Wikipedia
  6. Governor Thomas Gates at Wikipedia
  7. Governor Thomas Gates at Wikipedia
  8. Encyclopedia Virginia
  9. Encyclopedia Virginia
  10. Governor Thomas Gates at Wikipedia

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No known carriers of Thomas's ancestors' Y-chromosome or mitochondrial DNA have taken yDNA or mtDNA tests.

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On 17 Sep 2015 at 19:30 GMT Mags Gaulden wrote:

Added ppp for this profile. Added this profile to the historically significant people of The Bermuda Project.

If you want the Bermuda Template you can add it, though I think he has a good amount of Templating as is. You can find it on the Project Page. lol


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