Why Did So Many English Colonists Die In 1607-1611 In Jamestown
Why Did So Many English Colonists Die In 1607-1611 In Jamestown, Virginia
In 1607 104 colonists came to Jamestown and at the end of the year, there were only 40 people. Why did so many English colonists die in the first few years of Jamestown, Virginia? Jamestown was the English’s first major settlement in the New World. The English came to America because they wanted to find trade routes to China, get riches, and convert the Native population to Christianity. If more colonists survived during 1607-1611 then Jamestown could have been more successful than what it was. A lot of English colonists died in early Jamestown because of the environmental factors in Jamestown, and the colonists were unprepared for Jamestown and somewhere unskilled. Lately, so many colonists died because of the problem they had with the natives.
The first reason why so many colonists died in early Jamestown was that of the environmental factors. “English colonists dug shallow wells to supply themselves with sources of drinking water, but these were vulnerable to drought and saltwater intrusion.”(Doc.A) The brakish is a combo of fresh and salt water, and one of the worst environmental factor because they could rarely get a clean water source, and when they drunk the brackish water they would get sick and die. The next environmental factor that affected the colonists was the droughts lasting between 1607-1611.(Doc.B) This drought lasted the whole early colonization. The drought had major effects on Jamestown, such as it led to no water which led to animals and plants dying, and dehydration. After that, no animals and no plants meant no food ar crops, and that lastly leads to starvation. Also, the lack of rainfall led to more competition with the natives for resources, so there was less trade. Lastly, a few of the colonists died in the winter and in the summer because of sickness.
The second reason why so many colonists died in early Jamestown was that the colonists where unprepared and some of them were unskilled. If they wanted the settlement to be permanent then they should have brought women with them so they could have families there to keep the population growing. Also when they originally settled and when they brought the first resupply there was a total of 79 people with unknown occupations. Next, there was a total of 75 gentlemen after the first resupply and the gentleman did not help with building anything, and could not really help with colonizing Jamestown. Also, they only brought one surgeon during the resupply and they brought 1 wigmaker and 6 tailors instead of surgeons. Also, they did not bring any carpenters bricklayers or masons during the resupply, so they could not build that many more houses. Also, they only had 1 gunsmith that they brought during the resupply, and if they got in a war how could one gunsmith make all the guns they needed.(Doc.C) Lastly, through 1607-1611 there was a sickness that killed people and spread, and they only had 2 surgeons.(Doc.E)
The last reason why a lot of the colonists died in early Jamestown was that of the problems the colonists had with the natives. The first example of the colonists having problems with the natives is in 1609 when Francis West went to trade for corn with the Patawomeke Indians. To get the corn he wanted he cut off 2 of the natives heads off, and he did other extremities with his men.(Doc.D) Also in the Chronology of English Mortality, it shows that on May 26, 1607, 2 people died from an Indian attack and June 1607 through August 1607 at least 3 more people died. Also in December 1607 the Pamunkey kill 2 colonists and capture John Smith. Lastly, in 1610, 120 colonists arrived in Jamestown and the Indians killed half of them.(Doc.E)
Why did so many English colonists die in the first few years of Jamestown, Virginia? There where a lot of reasons why all the colonists did not stay alive in early Jamestown. The biggest reasons why they did not stay alive was because of all the bad environmental factors in Jamestown at the time. Also, the colonists were not prepared for Jamestown, and a lot of them were unskilled and did not help with colonizing Jamestown. Lastly, the natives had some problems with the natives which led to the natives killing the colonists, and wanting to hurt them. This is why the colonists did not survive early Jamestown.