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The Transformation of Colonial Virginia

The colony of Virginia was drastically changed beginning in 1606 throughout the entire 17th century. Early, there were many hardships as described by George Percy (Document A). However, the colonists were able to alter their colony with the aid of the tobacco industry along with the use of indentured servants, and most notably slaves. Although the Virginians faced many challenges, their efforts changed the colony socially and economically throughout the century. During the beginning of the colonization process, settlers who rushed to Virginia faced many hardships. They faced several different illnesses and fatal diseases, which their bodies were not immune to. The living conditions were not easy during this time, and many Virginians lost their lives. In Document A, A Discourse on the Plantation of Virginia, George Percy explains the challenges Virginians suffered: “Our men were destroyed with cruel diseases as swelling, burning fevers, and by wars, and some departed suddenly, but for the most part they died of mere famine.” He goes on to state that the Englishmen were left in unprecedented misery in this new discovered Virginia. It is obvious that there were many difficulties for early settlers in Virginia during the early 1600’s. The Virginians efforts changed the social ways of the colony in many different areas. The area of Virginia began with a population of essentially zero (omitting Native Americans). Colonists focused on increasing the population to establish Virginia as a true and transformed colony. In 1671, the Governor of Virginia, William Berkeley, reported to the crown that Virginia now inhabited over 40,000 people. This number included men, women, and children. He went on to say that two thousand of them were black slaves, six thousand were Christian servants, and the rest were born in Virginia or had come to settle in order to better their condition. Governor Berkeley notes that Virginia annually brings...
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