Jamestown

In 1605, three ships from England sailed to the New World. This was not the first time the English had come to North America. In about 1548, the town of Roanoke was founded, but twenty years later, the people at Roanoke disappeared. The people now knew from the mistakes made by Roanoke. They learned from them and decided not to settle on an island. Five hundred people came at first, but later thousands of people came over. All kinds of people came, mostly either rich or poor.  The people became known as colonists. Their settlement became to be known as Jamestown, after King James. The colonists who created Jamestown came to stay in Virginia, which had been named after the recent queen, Elizabeth, who was known as the Virgin queen. Jamestown was going to survive.

The colonists at Jamestown survived by building sturdy defences against enemies. The settlers built a wooden fort with three watch towers. The fort was small and only made of wood, but Jamestown had many other defenses. First of all, the settlement was in a marshy area. There is good and bad about being near a marsh. The good news is that the Spanish would not attack as often, but the bad news is that it is more likely that diseases will spread through the camp.

Virginia was the best known place to settle by the English. They were also near the ocean so the people could get supplies from England to Jamestown. The people also created a great economy. The colonists traded gold, crops, and tobacco. Tobacco was very addictive, and England bought lots. Even King James thought that tobacco was a bad thing (which it is), People still smoked tobacco. Jamestown had one of the best spots to settle known at the time. Jamestown survived not only because of making a profit on tobacco, but also because of the government.

The government in Jamestown started off in chaos, but became prosperous. At first, there were randomly picked leaders, and one of these leaders was named John Smith. John Smith started off not being popular with the people, but later on he became a great leader and even ran all of Jamestown for five years. John Smith created a law called the “no work, no food” policy. This law made it so if people did not work, they would not get to eat. The law also made it so the colonists dug a well for fresh water. Without John Smith, Jamestown might not have survived. Later in Jamestown, the government worked differently. The new government had the people vote for its leaders, and later on, there was a group of leaders working together, not trying to gain all power. Jamestown was not all perfect, for there were a number of challenges that the colonists faced.

There were many challenges that the colonists had to deal with: the Starving Time and the Jamestown Massacre were the largest. Four hundred forty 0f the orignal 500 colonists died during the Starving Time. The Starving Time was caused for two reasons. The first is where they were. The colonists were near a swamp, which had black rats in it (the carriers of the black plague), and other diseases that came from the swamp and from the river. The river was the colonists only way of getting water, but there were tapeworms and other nasty things in the water, as the well was dug after the Starving Time. The second reason is because of the drought. The drought made it so the crops dried out and the colonists starved. The colonists could not eat crops, so they had to eat the black rats to survive. After the Starving Time, the colonists had a period of time where there was less trouble, and more people came from England to Jamestown.

About ten years after the Starving Time, though, the Indians banded together to destroy the English invaders. When the Indians attacked the settlers, they found that Jamestown now had more colonists in it. The Indians had brought 1500-2000 men. The Indians won, but later they would be destroyed. From the colonist point of view, the attack by the Indians was a massacre, and later on came to be known as the Jamestown Massacre.

Jamestown survived. Jamestown had excellent defences against enemies and its economy prospered. The government went from chaos to organization. The challenges were devastation, but Jamestown survived.

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