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Why did so many colonist die in early Jamestown? Essay
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Nov 28th, 2019

Why did so many colonist die in early Jamestown? Essay

In this essay, I will be explaining how and why so many colonists died in Jamestown back in 1607 to 1609. It all started in the spring of 1607 when three English ships carrying about 110 men sailed into the Chesapeake Bay. They sailed up the James River with high hopes because this was going to be the first permanent English settlement in the New World. The settlers explored the coast and picked an island spot that could be easily defended if they were attacked by the local natives.

They named the new settlement Jamestown after King James I, They then built a triangle shaped fort for protection. There were a lot of plans for this New World like finding riches, teaching Native American people the ways of Christ, and also finding a trade route to China.

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Unfortunately, their dreams were crushed when over half of them died. Many colonists died because of the environment. The main reason the environment killed them was that of the Brackish water, tides, and droughts.

The contamination of their water happened when they decided to throw their waste in the water. They did this because they thought that the waste would wash away but it started to fester instead of flushing away, according to document A. They would then drink the water and would get sick and eventually die from the disease. The tides are also included in killing colonists because when it is a high tide, the salt water would come into their fresh water, making the water brackish and would make it bad to drink. Drinking too much brackish water is not good for you and can give you a disease and kill you. The tides also mixed the water which made the water even more contaminated. Also in Document E, the chronology article, it says that many of the colonists died from sickness.

Based on the evidence I found, I think the disease is one of the main causes of all of the deaths. In conclusion, I think that so many colonists died in early Jamestown because of disease, lack of surgeons, and medicine. Droughts killed many colonists in the Jamestown. Drought from 1607 to 1611 shown by document B that shows tree rings which is an evaluation of what happens to the tree. If the ring is thicker, that was a period of wet weather and if the ring is thinner than that was a period of dry weather. The ring was thinnest and longest under average rainfall in 1607 to 1611 which was mentioned before. A drought is a long period of dry weather, long enough to harm crops. A drought would harm crops and killing them and would leave the colonists with a limited food supply if any. This would lead to the trade with the Native Americans which would not go well going back to the earlier point of their relations with the Native Americans. Another cause of death in the colony was starvation. The Starving Time at Jamestown in the Colony of Virginia was a period of starvation during the winter of 1609–1610.

When the colonists sailed from England to Jamestown, they had very little food supplies because they believed they would quickly learn how to develop the land and grow their own food. However, the Powhatans refused to give over their food and firewood that were located outside of the fort walls. The colonists began to die from extreme starvation. Food became so scarce, that the colonists began to result in cannibalism to keep from starving. Cannibalism is the practice of eating the flesh of one’s own species. Basically, many colonists died in early Jamestown because of the relations with the Native Americans, typically the trading incident with cutting extremities, the environment, which is the contamination of water, tides and droughts, and finally the lack of skills, which are jobs that provide food, help the sick and social skills with the Native Americans. All these problems were very hard for the colonists, only 90 people got throughout of 560 colonists. These obstacles that the colonists faced really changed the development of the settlement of Jamestown and affected the coming of any future settlement.

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