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Early Jamestown. Why so many colonist died.

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Suwera Lopez Ali

on 13 October 2017

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Transcript of Early Jamestown. Why so many colonist died.

Early James:
Why Did So Many Colonists Die?

Indian Relations.
In 1609, Francis West and thirty-six sailed up the Chesapeake Bay to try to trade for corn with the Patawomeke Indians. Through West was able to load his (small ship) with grain. This gain would help, but it was not enough to last the colonists the winter. They eventually took the grain back to England. The "Relationship" of the indians and colonists was uneasy...sometimes hostile....the two cultures were so different. The language, customs, and lifestyles, were so opposite that neither knew what to expect of the other. For the most part, English settlers saw the Natives as ignorant heathens, unsophisticated, and backward. Relations with the Powhatan Indians were tenuous, although trading opportunities were established.
Environmental Issues.
Its 1607 and 110 Settlers arrived in Jamestown, only 40 would be alive at the end of December.
Remarkably, the English kept coming- men, women, and children. Mostly young (17-35) and most poor. What for? Many reasons. Ahead would possibly riches, a native population to be taught the way of Jesus Christ, and maybe even a hidden route to China. They hoped to work off their dept, and one day, own a piece of land. A few arrived with money and would someday find success growing tobacco. But for most there was no happy endings. By the end of 1611, of the more than 500 settlers that had arrived at Jamestown, 80% were dead.

From my knowledge, The major causes of the high deaths in Jamestown are the
Environmental issues, Indian relations, and settler skills.
Settler Skills
Arriving in a new place, many of these colonists didn't know what they were doing. The site they chose to live on was marshy and lacked safe drinking water.

The settlers lacked some skills necessary to provide for themselves.
There was only 1 Surgeon, no Apothecaries, 1 barber, no Coopers, and 28 unknown occupations.
There was no females among this group.

Of the 110 settlers who arrived in May 1607, nearly 70 people were dead by December. The reason for this is obvious. No women, no doctors, and no medicine.

In the spring of 1607, about three English ships carrying more than 110 passengers sailed into the mouth of Chesapeake Bay and worked thier way up the James river.
What they were looking for was possible riches, a native population to be taught the way of Jesus Christ, and maybe a hidden trade route to China. Of the 110 original settlers, only 40 would be alive at the end of December. Environmental Issues, Indian Relations, and Settler Skills would be the reason why so many Colonist died.
The Environment played a big role on the lives of the colonists that arrived Jamestown.
Because the adjacent river and creeks became brackish as water levels rose, reliable sources of fresh water would have been scarce by the seventeenth century.
English colonists dug shallow wells to supply themselves with sources of drinking water, but these were vulnerable to drought and salt water intrusion.
Historian Carville V. Earle attributed...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 then flush away.
The island is not situated at a point of great natural food abundance, especially relative to other locations very close by...Fish are present in local streams, but only in the spring and very early summer are they there in impressive abundance...
Around the period 1607, Jamestown suffered it's longest unbroken drought
26 May- 2 out of 102 in Fort James died due to an indian attack
June-Aug- At least 3 out of 99 more died in Indian ambushes
Dec- Pamunkeys killed 2 out of 40 colonists
Aug- Oct- Out of 120 men stationed near the falls, the indians killed near half.
Nov.-May- Powhatan's kills some 110 colonists from famine and disease; another 33 slain; 37 desert
Between 1607-1609 Indian - settler relations got worse.
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