Failure and Success of Jamestown
What is a triumph?
Triumph, a word not commonly used amongst the small world of middle schoolers, or anyone in general, means to be successful or to reach a great achievement. Although you may not use this word often, we all know one of its synonyms, victory, and have all experienced this joy whether it be you getting an A on your math test, which is your worst subject, or simply learning how to finally ride a bike as a younger child. Even though these are smaller things to feel triumph over, you still feel as if your world has brightened up, and although you felt this happiness, the people in Jamestown weren’t blessed with quite this great overload of bliss as the tragedies of colonization in Jamestown, first, took them down.
What is a tragedy?
When the word tragedy comes to mind you may not get the best feeling as the noun carries a misfortunate event. It also carries along the possible feeling of loneliness or that you’re alone. The people trying to create colonization in the new world witnessed plenty of tragedies one knowingly being the ultimate loss of a loved one and without them even knowing the ultimate loss and sickness of themselves.
Background info on attempts on settlement/ why settlement was so important in relation to Great Britain?
After the discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus, and the failure of Roanoke, the first attempt at colonization, the desire to colonize was sparked again. King James the first, in 1606, granted a charter to the Virginia Company of London, a joint stock company wishing to benefit economically off the new, discovered area, to begin the New World colonization. The king saw this expansion as an opportunity to build his country’s wealth, by trade, bring them more power, search for the rare minerals of gold, and benefit from mercantilism, supplying England with new raw materials only produced in North America.
What is Jamestown?
Jamestown was the first successful attempt at colonization in the New World for North America. This colony then, became the base for The United States as even more people felt the need to break away from the King of England and the rest of his country.
Triumphs of Jamestown
1) tobacco: In the year of 1612, the colonists of Jamestown began to make large amounts of money after investing in the seeds of tobacco. They had been introduced to this cash crop by John Rolfe, a colonist recently stuck on the island of Bermuda. He thought the crop would bring the settlement money and dig them out of their struggling times; he was right. The want for tobacco at the time was strong and not only that, but multiple countries were interested in smoking tobacco. John Rolfe was also a big help to the Jamestown colonists because he was married to Pocohantas, the daughter of Powaton, the chief of the Virginian Native Americans.
2) first successful settlement
3) first representative gov.
As the colony was at a huge struggle point on its unknown way to success, the Virginia Company of London thought that, because they feared the downfall of Jamestown and the loss of their desired profit, they would try to grow the settlement’s population and attract more people to their colony by providing them with something they couldn’t find in England. Sir George Yeardley, the governor of Virginia, following orders by the Virginia Company of London, instructed the colonists to build a new form of government. About twenty to thirty colonists came together for their first assembly to create the first form of representative government in the colonies called The Virginia House of Burgesses. This document provided the colonists with more say in their government and made sure the colonists voices were always heard.
Tragedies of Jamestown
Starving Time: Not too long after Jamestown was formed in 1607, the colonists ran into a dead end as a time of discouragement fell upon the new settlers. A want for food and no one motivated enough to make it almost threw the colony of Jamestown to dust. This period of time from 1609 to 1610 was known as Starving Time. Colonists were so desperate for food that some even transferred to cannibalism, eating anything they could. JOHN SMITH: This time was unacceptable in the eyes of John Smith, an Englishman, working with the Virginia Company of London, the sponsor for Jamestown, and one of the first council members of Jamestown, as he saw the hungry and careless colonists of the Jamestown colony. Smith enforced power by telling the colonists that they who “will not work shall not eat.” His famous quote motivated the colonists to work, ultimately contributing to the growth of Jamestown and the resolution to their hunger.
Geography of land: The colonists of Jamestown had no experience settling so therefore didn’t know how to pick the location for their settlement. All they had was the instructions and rules from the Virginia Company of London and their mission to protect and defend their fort. Therefore, colonists chose land on a peninsula to make it easy for them to receive supplies from England and later, help with trade. Their location was ideal in all ways to them as they also stayed away from the Native Americans and the Spanish army, but little did they know that their final area of settlement was not good in terms of their well-being. The colonists what seemed so great peninsula idea wasn’t looking too good after finding out that loads of malaria infested mosquitos found the water as their home and saw that the sea water flow from the water was also unbearable, making it difficult to find the necessary water they needed to reach a successful, stable colony.
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