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Jamestown: Why did so many colonists die?

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It was not an easy beginning. English settlers began arriving on the James River in Chesapeake Bay, region of Virginia, in the spring of 1607. They hoped to make the first permanent English settlement. But, there were many things that almost wiped out the whole settlement. There were three main causes of death; disease, starvation/dehydration, and attacks. Most of the available water supply was brackish and contaminated by the settlers themselves. The American land was new to the settlers, and gave them a harder time with unskilled workers.

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Obviously, there would be Indians (most likely were Jamestown is located because it is nearing water) crossing paths. I think that they thought too confidently about the conditions of Jamestown. Who would want to drink dirty, salty water? The water caused death in three ways; it was trashed and filthy, it was salty from the Atlantic, and the drought limited the clean water. The waste from the colonists festered and lied there endlessly.

It also said that they dug wells for clean water, but the drought and salt intrusion made the immaculate water scarce.

That states that lots of colonists died from disease, sickness, and dehydration. The colonists would get sick because the bacteria from the unhygienic water. Dehydration is caused by the brackish (salty) water (the sodium retains water from your body). They could also become dehydrated because they run out of drinkable water (caused by drought). The brackish water isn’t good for planting and growing crops either leaving them to starve. That shows that the water was a big disease to Jamestown itself. If you need somebody to work for you, would you want an unskilled 7 year old girl to do the job?

Unskilled workers were a second cause that left Jamestown hanging. Because it was American land, it was far too different from European circumstances. There were more gentlemen than laborers (the gentlemen weren’t used to work). Also, according to Document D, the colonists really just rely on trading with the Native Americans for corn and other native foods. Francis West even forced them to trade in 1609. The drought and the infertile soil made planting harder than in England. Without the proper skills, they starved. That shows that the food supply was limited as long as the water.

The bad relationship with the Powhatan Indians, in my opinion, left 100’s of heads rolling. Once the Powhatan’s realized that the settlers were staying longer than they presumed, they had to put a stop to it. The “Crewell dealinge” that Francis West and his men did probably triggered attacks too. The limited water supply might have caused Fights too. They probably stumbled on each other looking gathering water and fought for it. I think Document E was the most important piece of evidence. It shows the amount of attacks and colonists slain. The attacks gradually got worse killing about “halfe” each time.

That shows heads were rolling. It was not an easy “ending” for early Jamestown, though all the deaths and environmental problems pretty much barely ended Jamestown. The water that gave disease and sickness almost swallowed the entire population. The lacking of settler skills made the colonists rely on trading (if lucky with no attacks). The bad relations with the neighboring Powhatan’s were a big deal too. That concludes the original question of why so many colonists died. I say that they came to the wrong place (many Indians nearby plus the environmental conditions were poor) at the wrong time (in the middle of a drought).

Cite this Jamestown: Why did so many colonists die?

Jamestown: Why did so many colonists die?. (2016, Nov 04). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/jamestown-why-did-so-many-colonists-die/

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