Why Did So Many Jamestown Colonists Die?
In May 1607, about 110 Englishmen arrived off the coast of Virginia. It was going to be the first permanent English colony in the new world. The first years of settlement were not easy and many of the colonists kept on dying. Many of the colonists died that they almost failed as a colony. There are many reasons why they died; the main reason was from diseases, the lack of food and fresh water, and their bad relationship with the Powhatan Indians. The first reason Jamestown colonists died was because of diseases and sickness. Back then they didn’t have medicines that are as effective as today. When you got sick you had to tough it out and hope for the best. In the first year of settlement there were no apothecaries (druggists). With only one surgeon and so many men, he was stretched so far as many were becoming ill. From there only being one surgeon and the lack of medication there is no wonder that so many people died. The second reason Jamestown colonists died was because of the lack of food and fresh water. The only time of the year that they didn’t have to worry about how to get by without food was in the spring and early summer. There fresh water supply would often be intruded by salt water because of the high and low tides.
After time filth started to fester instead of flushing away. There’s no wonder from these conditions many people died. The third reason why Jamestown colonist died was because of their bad relationship with the Powhatan Indians. The English and the Powhatan Indians didn’t get along. Maybe it started with the Indians or maybe it started with the Englishmen? I know that during the first weeks of settlement the Indians killed two of the Englishmen. I also know that within the first year Francis West along with 36 men went up the Chesapeake Bay to trade with the Powhatans and they ended up cutting two off their heads taking the grains and instead of going back to Jamestown they sailed off back to England. Many of the Jamestown colonists died within the first years of settlement and for various reasons. One reason was because of diseases another was from the lack of fresh food and water. They also died from their bad relation with the Powhatans. Even though a lot of the colonist died they sent more people to keep the colony going and they didn’t give up.