Early Jamestown: Why Did So Many Colonists Die?
In the May of 1607, a group of Englishmen set out on three ships up the mouth of the James River, which is in the current state of Virginia, in search for land, and gold; they would soon use this land as a money making town in which they would farm and trade. The people that funded most of these travelers trip were English investors that supported the idea. The land that they found would now be called Jamestown. Upon arrival, many of the citizens of the new-found colony died. About 60% of the colonist brought in 1607 had deceased. This was all because of the environment, the diseases they were unprotected to, and the absence of rainfall.
Most, if not all, travelers that were brought to ‘Early Jamestown’ were very inexperienced. These men seemed to think that they would easily find gold, and perfect cropping land and food handed to them on a silver platter. But as they got there, the environment wasn’t all that great. The rivers that were nearby the settlement had been invaded by the saltwater of the nearby ocean because of the tide. As stated in Document A, by a historian named Carville V. Earle, “disease in the early years to Jamestown’s position at the salt-fresh water transition, where filth introduced into the river tended to fester rather than flush away.” meaning that the waste of the people of Jamestown would just sit in the river, which would also create bacteria and diseases that would kill off some of the people that would drink the river water, and of the very few animals that lived in the area of Jamestown would die because of the same reasoning; That also leads into another reason of why the colonists died in Jamestown.
Then starting upon the travelers’ arrival, there was a drought that lasted all the way through 1612 according to Document B showing that this drought lasted up for about 5 whole years. Because of the large lack of rain, these colonists couldn’t grow the crop that they needed...
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