This material provides knowledge about the first successful English colony of Jamestown. It tells about the condition of the place and situation, also discusses the goals, problems, and successes of Jamestown.
1. Name: _________________________________________ Date: _________________ The First Successful English Colony of Jamestown In 1606, England was ruled by King James I. The English people did not choose him as their leader because England was a monarchy (a type of government with a king or queen, where the ruler’s power is handed down to them). During this time, King James I gave a group of wealthy men, called the London Company, permission to start a colony in North America. The group sent 105 men to settle in Virginia. They hoped a colony would make them richer. The settlers arrived in Virginia in May 1607, hoping to find gold. They chose a place near a river, where the deep water allowed them to anchor their ships close by. The site was upriver from Chesapeake Bay, but far enough from the river that it would be difficult for Spanish ships to attack. Located on a peninsula, the town was easy to defend by land. The group built a settlement surrounded by the walls of a fort and named it Jamestown in honor of King James I. Unfortunately, the settlers built Jamestown on a marsh. The water around the town was dirty and salty and the land was bad for farming. Worse still, mosquitoes in the marsh carried a deadly disease called malaria. By the end of 1607, disease and other challenges had killed many of the settlers. In late 1607, some American Indians captured a Jamestown settler named Captain John Smith. They took Smith to their chief, Powhatan (pronounced; pow- uh-TAN). According to the story Smith later told, the chief was about to kill him when Powhatan’s young daughter, Pocahontas, saved his life. Many historians really think that Smith’s life was never in actual danger. After this incident, Pocahontas visited Jamestown several times. She and her people brought food to trade to the few surviving colonists. In January 1608, more men arrived from England. Many had come only to find gold, so there were not enough people growing the food needed to feed the colony. In September, John Smith became the leader of the colony. He knew that the settlement needed everyone’s help to survive. He said that any man who would not work to maintain Jamestown would not eat. Smith’s leadership helped save the colony.
2. In the summer of 1609, a new group of settlers arrived, including women and children. The next month, Smith returned to England after having been badly burned by an explosion of gunpowder. The colonists had lost a strong leader. To make matters worse, Powhatan stopped trading with them. Local tribes attacked the people they found outside the settlement. The winter of 1609–1610 was known as the “Starving Time” because they couldn’t hunt and it was too cold to harvest crops for food. Many settlers had to eat horses and dogs. Hundreds of people died. Only about 60 settlers survived in Jamestown. The Jamestown settlers never found gold. Therefore, they needed another way to support their colony. Colonist John Rolfe learned how to grow a new kind of tobacco. The settlers planted this cash crop. In 1614, they began to trade their tobacco for money and supplies. People in England loved it. Tobacco became Virginia’s “gold.” It wasn’t actually gold, but selling tobacco made the colony Meanwhile, Powhatan’s people worried about so many settlers coming to their land. In 1614, John Rolfe married Pocahontas. For a time, the colonists and the American Indians were at peace. Pocahontas even went to England and met King James. Before she could return, she got sick. In 1617, she died. Meanwhile, Jamestown was growing and changing. In 1619, the men elected representatives to make laws for the colony. This was the first representative government in an American colony. The people choose their leaders in this government. They called the governing body the House of Burgesses. (Burgess is an English word for an elected representative.) Only landowners could have this job, but now Virginia’s government was more democratic than England’s. When Powhatan died, his brother became chief, and the peace between the American Indians and the settlers ended. In 1622, the new chief and his men attacked Jamestown and killed 347 colonists. But Jamestown survived to become the first successful English settlement in North
4. Name:!___________________________________________________! ! Date:!________________________________! Jamestown Colony What year was Jamestown founded? 1607 What was the name of the company, which sponsored Jamestown? The Virginia Company of London Who were the men who caused Jamestown to be successful? John Smith and John Rolfe John Smith saved the colony from starvation. He told colonists that they must work in order to eat. John Rolfe had the colony plant and harvest tobacco, which became a cash crop and was sold to Europe. What was the crop that was sold to Europe for Jamestown to make a profit (make money)? Tobacco