Early Colonial Life
During the seventeenth century, that land that is now called the United States of America would be changed forever by the English settlements that formed on the east coast. The various groups that embarked on a journey into the New World during the seventeenth would all face similar hardships, and eventually grow into powerful and structured colonies.
The first permanent settlement was Jamestown, Virginia in 1607. The settlers that arrived that spring had no experience in colonization, and the majority had come with the intent of finding gold. Because of the preoccupation in the discovery of gold in the New World, few survived. They experienced many hardships including the harsh North American weather that was foreign to them, and the tedious work building a town from the ground up. The few that did survive relied heavily on the trade with natives, their English goods for food in return. The native tribe neighboring Jamestown was Powhatan and his tribe. Captain John Smith would organize trade with Powhatan and his tribe, and later would betray them by organizing raids on their food supply. After being captured by Powhatan’s tribe, the chief’s daughter Pocahontas saved Smith by laying her head beside his as he was about to be executed. Later, Pocahontas would be captured by the settlers during a raid on her tribe and held for ransom. Pocahontas chose to stay within Jamestown after she was released and eventually married colonist John Rolfe, creating peace between the settlers and the natives. The first few years of this settlement would go through a pattern of failure and death before finally prospering. It would be John Rolfe that would bring Jamestown into a state of economic prosperity. With tobacco seeds Rolfe had obtained from unknown resources, he grew what flourished into Jamestown’s most successful export. The first commercial shipment to England was in 1617. Since tobacco was a labor intensive crop, growers needed a cheap way...
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