Trouble in Jamestown-Lesson 2 IEW Advanced U.S. History


This lesson also focused on outlining and note taking. Strong verbs, quality adjectives, and -ly adverbs were also reviewed.

Audrey French

IEW Advanced US History

8 March 2017

Trouble in Jamestown

After Spain had tremendous success in establishing colonies and discovering riches in the New World, England wanted to participate in this new undertaking. A group of London merchants rendered the funds for two trips to Virginia. Everyone had humongous hopes and dreams for the trip, which included founding a brand new settlement, finding gold, and bartering with the Native Americans. Unfortunately, the first group to actually set foot in Virginia found nothing of the sort. In fact, unlike Spain’s venture in the New World, they discovered a hostile, unpleasant land with unfriendly Indians and no riches to be seen.

Still, the settlers forged ahead and created a settlement in Virginia, which they decided to name Jamestown. Unfortunately, one of Jamestown’s deadliest problems would be completely self-inflicted. All of the food grown and collected by the settlers of Jamestown was placed in a common storehouse. Consequently, many of the apathetic settlers simply refused to work and instead mooched off of the work of others. These people who refused to help grow food were far more interested in hunting down riches than farming! Since few people worked to collect food, the supply quickly diminished to nothing. Thankfully, one of the leaders in Jamestown, John Smith, took control of the issue. He insisted that those who refused to work would be deprived of food. This rule worked well, but John Smith was not able to enforce it for long. A wound inflicted by a gun powder explosion forced him to return to England. The settlers had lost the enforcer of the rule that was keeping them alive, and soon the people of Jamestown were back to a state of starvation. The settlement was in serious peril.

Despite all of these setbacks, the Virginia Company refused to give up on its venture in the New World. As a result, they commissioned even more settlers. Promising these settlers fifty acres in exchange for seven years of work, the Virginia Company managed to convince thousands of England’s poor to complete the journey. More than nine thousand settlers traveled from England to the United States from 1610-1622.  Sadly, these poor adventurers soon became indentured servants. Tobacco growth flourished in Virginia, and the greedy stockholders needed people to tend the crops. The travelers, now indentured servants, were used for this arduous toil. Despite the promises made, only one out of twenty eventually received the land and the freedom that had originally lured them to the New World. Most did not even live to see a better life, as diseases like dysentery and malaria ran rampant, and often the indentured settlers were mistreated to the point of death. All things considered, England’s first venture in the New World was nothing but trouble in Jamestown.


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