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Jamestown: The First English Colony

Essay by review  •  February 12, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  1,207 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,501 Views

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Jamestown: The first English colony

In spite of the many Indian massacres, Jamestown still grew to be a successful colony. The London Company was the main founder of Jamestown. The London Company's founders believed that there were precious metals in America so they sent a group of settlers to Jamestown. The trip to the Americas was not a very easy one for these settlers. They had to overcome many obstacles just to get to the Americas. In 1619 the House of Burgesses was formed which marked the first legislative body in America. Jamestown was plagued by many disasters. They were faced with one continuous disaster, Indian wars. They fought over land with Indians for many years. The London Company, creation of the colony, and Indian wars all played a major role in the development of Jamestown.

The London Company was founded for the exploration of Jamestown and to fund anything that had to do with it. The founders of the London Company believed that, in the Americas, existed precious metals (London Company). The main founder of the London Company was King James I from England who chartered the London Company to form a colony in North America. They invested around $10,000 on the trip to Jamestown.

Those settlers who went on the trip were called "planters" and those who stayed in England and invested their money in it were called "adventurers". Each planter and adventurer was to share in the company's profits which failed to profit, however, through many tries."(London Company)

In 1619, the House of Burgesses was formed which gave Jamestown the first for of government. This was also the first legislative body in the American colonies. "The House passed measures designed to help the company prosper. An Indian uprising in 1622 caused adventurers to lose what interest they had" (London Company 445). Kind James believed that the company was being managed poorly. The company then dissolved after King James himself took over the association. The London Company was not a complete failure because without it their would not have been any money for the exploration. That was the one of the only major thing that the company did as a whole for the colony.

The creation of Jamestown started on May 24, 1607. Captain Christopher Newport led three ships, the Susan Constant, Godspeed, and Discovery. "They named both the river and their colony after King James I of England" (Jamestown 28). They did not want to leave England completely or they would not have named those two things after him. They probably felt that they needed to name these things after him because he was the main leader and investor of the expedition. The colonies agriculture and Industry started off slow. "They failed to produce silk, grapes, and other items because of the Virginia climate" (Jamestown 29). They had trouble growing these because they thought that they would grow as they did in England but the climate was much different. They brought a lot of stuff over that they thought would work but did not and this trial and error resulted in a long process before they finally found the first product that grew or worked. "The first agricultural products to be successfully raised were hogs and Indian corn" (Jamestown 29). There was more than one leader that contributed to keeping Jamestown up and going. Captain Christopher Newport was the most important. He led the expedition to Jamestown and with him he brought 105 adventurers. These adventurers claimed they saw "Faire meddowes and goodly tall trees" (Jamestown 28). The next main leader was Captain John Smith who "held them together through the toughest of times" from mid-1608 to mid-1609(Jamestown 28). He saw that they were worrying so much about gold and silver that they were not caring much about their survival so he put them on the right path. The third main contributor was Governor Thomas West, who brought more settlers and supplies which saved Jamestown from being abandoned. Disasters plagued Jamestown on and off. The location of Jamestown was a bad choice. Many men died of mal-nutrition, malaria, pneumonia, and dysentery. The climate was one major cause of these diseases. In the winter of 1609-1610 the colony suffered fires, droughts, starvation, and Indian attacks. That winter put Jamestown in a state of depression.

Indian conflicts arose

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