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Early Jamestown: Why Did so Many Colonists Die

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In the matter of four years, almost every colonist died in Jamestown. In 1607, English ships sailed The Chesapeake Bay and later made their way to Jamestown in Virginia. By summer of 1609, 524 colonists would have arrived in Jamestown. But by 1611, over three hundred would be dead! There are three main reasons why this horrible incident would have happened. There was not enough food, the water was unusable, and they didn’t have enough skillful workers to help them survive.

One of the biggest problems for the colonists is that the droughts decreased their chances for growing crops, (Doc. B) and the food that they did have, wouldn’t have been enough to last the winter. (Doc. D) From about 1607 to 1612, Jamestown suffered a horrible drought. This would be problems for the colonists because no water means that they can’t grow crops. Since crops are a source of food, that means that there was no food to feed the colonists. This leads to a reason they starved. Another reason they starved is Francis West’s men took the grain, put it on their ships, and didn’t even take it to Jamestown. (Doc. D) They took the grain to England. This had to be one of the biggest reasons for the colonist’s starvation.

Another big problem for the colonists is that their water was too salty and contaminated, which made it unusable. (Doc. A) This caused many to get sick and die. The thing that caused the water’s to become too salty are the high and low tides, an event that happened twice daily. Since the human waste didn’t flush away in the rivers and just stay in the water, this caused it to be contaminated and a major cause for disease. Water was also scarce during the first four years, caused by a drought. (Doc. B) The drought probably caused a lot of competition for water and the water they did have was all contaminated.

The last major problem for the colonists, when they came in 1607, they didn’t bring many skillful workers. (Doc. C) Almost all the people who came were gentlemen. A gentleman is a person who is very wealthy. In England, they didn’t have to work. This means that when they came to Jamestown, they didn’t work either. Since there was only one doctor in 1607, who was a surgeon, and no women, when the colonists got sick there was no one who could help them get better or care for them. Of one hundred and ten colonists, who arrived in May, nearly seventy were dead by December. This reason was probably caused by there not being guns, men, and famers. Guns could help the men hunt or fight the Indians, and famers could help grow crops. So, since those two kinds of professions weren’t there, neither of those actions could be taken which leaded to the colonists dying.

In the matter of four years, almost every colonist died. They didn’t have enough food, and the water was unusable. Another reason for this was they didn’t have enough skillful workers. If they knew that all this would happen when they first settled in Jamestown, they would probably want to make sure they had enough food, water, and workers so that not all these colonists would’ve died in the beginning in of the Jamestown colony.

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