September 21, 2012
Bad Beginning to a Great Country
On May 14, 1607, 110 settlers from England set out to make new lives for themselves. Men from all walks of life, most of them were poor men ages 17-35. Little did they know that 70 of the settlers would be dead in a year. These settlers died because of three main reasons: the environment that they placed their town, the social relations they had, and finally the skill set that was brought over from England.
The first cause of death were the environmental problems that the settlers had to deal with they were all just really bad timing and placement. The island was not situated at a point of great natural food abundance, especially to other locations close by. First, they settled during the start of a seven year drought, tree ring evidence shows that it was the worst drought in 100 years (Document B); this made it hard to grow crops because they need fresh water to grow food, and without water their food would not grow which lead to hunger, starvation, and in most cases death. And when there were crops to tend to the colonist were all too weak and tired to do so. Secondly, their only source of fresh water became brackish (Blanton), brackish means it became unclean with salt. The James river led into the Chesapeake Bay witch is a source of fresh water, when the tides would become high, all the salt water would make its way up the river and in to Jamestown(Blanton). The colonist tried to dig wells but with the bad drought as I stated above, water wasn’t too common, and if they did find water salt intrusions would still happen. Also, the settlers didn’t have plumbing so they would just throw their waste in to the river thinking that it would all just flush away, but the tides would bring the waste right back into their drinking water( Blanton). Historians believe that drinking the brackish water led to diseases, the water was a breeding ground for mosquitos that carried the...
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