With hopes that an American colony would solve their debt problems and they would be able to have religious freedom, over 100 passengers on three English ships carried the sailors through the waters of the Chesapeake Bay to Jamestown, Virginia. On May 13, 1607, they arrived with the hope of building a new life in America, teaching Christianity, and finding a new route to China. What they didn’t realize were the hardships they would have to suffer in order to establish the first permanent English settlement in America. Many such adversaries that made life much more difficult were things such as starvation and disease, environmental factors, and conflicts with the Indians that awaited them.
When the colonists first arrived, their food supply ran out, and they believed that the Indians would help them. However, they did not because they were they were angered by Francis West’s actions while he was trying to trade corn with the Patawomeke Indians. The colonists soon realized that they would need to grow their own crops in order to survive; however, they were soon faced with what the settlers called “starving time.” During the winter of 1609 through 1610, Jamestown was faced with a drought. Without water, the crops were unable to grow which led to hunger, starvation, and death. When there were crops to tend to, the water levels were too weak to do so. Moreover, the rivers and lakes became brackish which means that they started to fill with salt.
Therefore, their dependable sources of fresh water became limited. Since there was a short supply of fresh water, many colonists died of dehydration from all these environmental factors. Additionally, waste in early Jamestown tended to cluster instead of flush away. These mishaps caused disease which eventually led to death.Another hardship the colonists had to endure was their exposure to new deadly diseases.
Nearly 70 out of the 110 original colonists lost their lives by that December. From May 1607 to May 1610, 210 colonists died from sickness. The problem was not only the new diseases but the fact that not a single apothecary was among them, which was a druggist who cares for the sick and prescribes medicine. Being that there was no one experienced to take care of them, the ill colonists did not receive the proper care and often died.Lastly, the colonists were constantly in conflict with the Indians. At first the Indians wanted to be friendly by restraining to kill colonists, but however, the colonists refused.
Apparently, a colonist named Francis West forced the Indians to trade for corn when he and his men cut the heads and extremities off of two Indians. This was one of the only ways they could get them to teach them how to trade and plant crops. To add on, the Indians expressed their dislike for the colonists by attacking and ambushing them any chance they had.
In less than three years, the Indians killed approximately 150 colonists, greatly decreasing their population.The colonists of Jamestown had to overcome many hardships upon their arrival. They were confronted with Indian conflicts, environmental factors, starvation, and diseases; which contributed to many of their deaths. However, they did eventually overcome these things, and were able to establish the first English colony in America.
If they did not fight through this hard time, then we would possibly not be the same country we are today, and we would not have learned anything from their hardships and stories.