William Strachey
A True Reportory

In 1609, nine ships sailed from Plymouth with supplies for Jamestown, Virginia. The ships were commanded by Admiral Sir George Somers, sometime privateer and three years earlier one of the founders of the London Company, the stock investors in the colony. Also aboard were George Rolfe who would be known as the husband of Pocahontas and the disciplinarian governor designate of the settlement, Sir Thomas Gates.

The fleet was off the Azores when it was hit by a fierce gale which sent one vessel to the bottom with all hands. Some of the fleet reached Jamestown. The rest, including Somers in his flag ship were wrecked off the Bermudas.

The Spanish called these the Storm Islands. Somers immediately claimed them for King James and they became known as the Somers Isles. The story reached London and it is believed that Shakespeare based The Tempest on this shipwreck even though his play (performed in 1616) was set in the Mediterranean.

William Strachey was on board the supply ship Sea Venture when it wrecked in a hurricane in 1609. He wrote True repertory of the wreck and redemption of Sir Thomas Gates, July fifteenth, sixteen hundred and ten.

Source: From: BBC Radio, The Sceptured Isle: Empire, Episode 19, Bermuda and Shipwrecks (October 10, 2005), http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/history/empire/episodes/episode_19.shtml.

Strachey's Reportory

   I.  A most dreadful tempest, the manifold deaths whereof are here to the life described ‑ Their  wrack on Bermuda, and the description of those islands.

 II.  Actions and occurrents whiles they continued in the  islands ‑ Ravens sent for Virginia ‑ Divers mutinies ‑ Paine executed ‑ Two pinnaces built.

III.  Their departure from Bermuda and arrival in Virginia ‑  Miseries there -‑ Departure and return upon the Lord La Warre's  arriving ‑- James Town described

IIII. The Lord La Warre's beginnings and proceedings in James Town ‑ Sir Thomas Gates sent into England ‑ His and the Company's testimony of Virginia and cause of the late miseries.