In the strictly stratified early modern society, it was important to define who the leaders of the new Virginian settlement were and their roles within that society. e case of Virginia was further complicated by the joint control exercised by the Virginia Company in London and the Council, which ran affairs from within the colony itself. e Company, whose members included Richard Hakluyt and several prominent merchants, was issued with a charter in April 1606 that gave it the right to settle in the Chesapeake Bay area. A sister company, the Plymouth Company under the direction of Sir Ferdinando Gorges, hoped to settle to the north in the area that became New England. Many merchants and gentlemen investors supported both companies, they were not rivals competing against one another for funds, at least not during the first few years of the seventeenth century. Another commercial company, the East India Company, whose remit was to promote English interests in the Near and Far East, was also developing during the first decade of the seventeenth century. Interest in Virginia was not exclusive; many of the men who invested in or visited Virginia in the early years, such as Sir omas Smith, were also involved with the East India Company. Soldiers and sailors, having gained experience crossing the Atlantic to Virginia, later went on much longer and more dangerous voyages to the East on behalf of the East India Company.