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Jamestown: Why Did So Many Colonists Die In 1607?

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It was not an easy beginning during the time of the Jamestown settlement, the majority of the settlers died due to extreme conditions, what was the cause of this? In the spring of 1607, the king of England gave 110 Englishmen his blessing to sail in search of gold. These Englishmen sailed into the mouth of a bay on the coast of Virginia. However the question we are now faced with is, Why did do many colonist die? The colonist died because of three main reasons; environmental issues, lack of skills, and bad relations with the natives. Many environmental concerns contributed to high amount of deaths. Water was an extreme problem for the colonists. The water was brackish which meant that it was too salty. People got dehydrated and sick when they drank the water (Doc A). Second of all, the water was often polluted by the tides from the bay. It is possible that people died from the many diseases in the dirty water (Doc A). Another thought was that the drought could have contributed to this major issue. When there isn’t enough water for crops, people starve because there is no longer any food (Doc B). Therefore water was a major issue in the Jamestown colony.

Not having skilled workers hindered the colony of Jamestown in an extreme manner. The first couple of ships that came to Jamestown did not bring any skilled workers; they had all but 4 carpenters, zero farmers and 75 gentlemen (Doc C). Gentlemen are guys that are of great wealth that did not have to work with their hands. This was no use to the colony of Jamestown at the time, what they needed most was farmers to produce food and keep everything going at a smooth pace (Doc C). We aren’t certain of the skills the settlers had, however it does contribute to the deaths of the colonists. Last but not least, the bad relations the settlers had with the Powhatan Indians made an impact on the deaths. Englishmen sailed up the Chesapeake Bay to trade with the Indians, the trade did not go as planned and ended with the cutting of two Indian heads by the settlers (Doc D). These events lead to the hatred of the settlers by the Indians.

Towards the end of 1609, the Powhatans killed at least 200 colonists with many different weapons for many reasons (Doc E). If good relations lasted, the deaths of the settlers would’ve been less. The colonists ended up bringing deaths on themselves. There are said to be many reasons for the deaths of the colonist on the Jamestown settlement. But we do know three major reasons; environmental issues, lack of skills, and bad relations with the natives. The settlement the Englishmen attempted was not an easy thing to do in these conditions and time period. However, the settlers did not make it easy on themselves with all of the following issues and poor decisions that were made.

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