Jamestown Dbq

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Death was everywhere in early Jamestown. During the early seventeenth century, many English colonists came to the New World and settled in to present day Virginia through the Chesapeake Bay. Of the 110 colonists, only 40 survived by the end of the winter. Due to this rapid rate of fatalities, the question has been asked; “Early Jamestown: Why did so many colonists die?” Early referring to 1607-1611, the first few years the colonists were in Jamestown. Colonists died in Early Jamestown because of three problems. These problems were unsanitary conditions, poor relationships, and a lack of qualified workers.

The first reason colonists died was due to inadequate conditions. Clean water was hard to find in the settlements. Rain fall was below average for these many years. (Doc. B) Rivers and creeks caused the shallow dug wells to fill with salt water that was undrinkable. (Doc. A) Since there was no drinkable water, or dependable rainfall, many of the colonists grew to be very sick and dehydrated. Also, they were dying of starvation since the crop could not grow sufficiently. In addition, the waste would be thrown into the rivers and did not wash away. “...filth introduced into the river and tended to fester rather than flush away.” (Doc. A) This meant that the drinking water, the bathing water, and the water they most likely cleaned their clothes with was infected with human waste. The lack of clean water caused sickness and dehydration, causing the death of settlers.

The second reason Jamestown colonists died was because of poor relationships with the Indians. Francis West went to trade with the Indians, and forcibly got an okay amount of grain. “The success involved ‘some harshe and Crewell dealinge by cutting of towe (two) of the Salvage heads and other extremetyes.’” (Doc. D) This shows that since the English killed the Indians for such petty things like trading for corn, the relationship between the Indians and the English was obviously detrimental. Not...
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