Serving Time in Virginia

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In 1606 King James granted a charter to the Virginia Company of London. The Virginia Company had merchants and gentleman invest in a joint stock arrangement, which provided the financial need for the adventure to Virginia. The plan was for the earnings of the expedition to pay the bills of the Virginia Company and also to reward the investors. The other idea was that the people that came to live in Virginia would gain profits, and England would gain more control of the Americas. The Virginia Company’s formula for this success was to build a colony and gather the riches of this new territory, such as gold and iron. They also planned to zone in on the crops that would be the most abundant and profitable. Some examples of this would be grapes for the production of wine, and mulberry trees for the precious silk. This was what the Virginia Company hoped to achieve by settling in Virginia, but unfortunately everything did not work out as planned.

When the next round of settlers arrived only 38 men, of the original 144, were still alive from the first settlers to reach Chesapeake Bay. Time went on and records showed that some 3,570 settlers were sent to join the colony. Unfortunately three years after that recording, the population of the colony still totaled only about 700. This was more than a 75 percent death rate. Some of the problems were things such as contaminated wells that contributed to outbreaks of typhoid fever, and malaria that caused many deaths. This was not the largest issue facing the colonists. In the eagerness to increase the population of the colony, many people were sent over very unprepared. There was not enough housing and little to no food for the people to survive on until they were settled. Many were affected by malnutrition, and this pushed Governor Argall to create a law that required every man, except for tradesmen, to plant at least two acres of corn. Records showed that settlers were starving and letting the colony fall to pieces, but...
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