Jamestown Settlement

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Jamestown Settlement

The first permanent English colony in North America was established at Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607. In order to earn quick profits for Virginia Company investors, the settlers wasted no time and immediately began hunting for gold and searching for the Northwest Passage to Asia. According to page forty-two in the American Journey textbook, “all they would find was suffering and disappointment,” which would foreshadow the years ahead. The colony would soon prove to be an immediate disaster. First of all the settlers neglected to plant crops because they were so eager to find new riches. The colonists had never really planned to grow all of their own food. Instead, their plans depended upon trade with the local Native Americans to supply them with enough food between the arrival of periodic supply ships from England. This quickly caused their food supplies to dwindle and many starved to death. The second mistake the settlers made is that the settlement was located in a swamp. This soon led to diseases caused by parasites that were there and malaria caused by all the mosquitoes. So the settlers that didn’t starve usually died from disease. Initially Captain John Smith saved the colony through his leadership by imposing order and military discipline. However, certain settlers refused to follow his orders and believed their social status exempted them from manual labor. Just as bad was the failure of the colonists to work together for the common good, or indeed to work at all. The impending hardship was further compounded by the loss of Smith, who became injured in August of 1609 in a gunpowder accident, and was forced to return to England for medical attention in October 1609. This proved to be a major blow because he was most skillful in dealing with the Indians in trading for food.

For years there was hardship and suffering in Jamestown, but in 1619 three important developments occurred. The company began to tranport women to...
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