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If you were starting a colony, where would you want to start it? Why?. What sort of people would you want to have with you? Why?. What kinds of supplies would you want?.
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What sort of people would you want to have with you? Why?
What kinds of supplies would you want?
By the late 1500s Spain’s American colonies had made it the wealthiest country in Europe. To share in these riches, the English decided to challenge Spain. Sir Walter Raleigh was Queen Elizabeth’s trusted adviser. He told her she should begin a colony in North America.
Queen Elizabeth gave Sir Raleigh a charter to establish a colony in Virginia. A charter was a document permitting colonists to settle land claimed by that ruler.
In 1585, the first English people came to Roanoke Island. The word Roanoke is an Algonkian word and comes from the Roanoac people, who built their villages along rivers of the Atlantic Coast.
In people who came in 1585 stayed about one year and then returned to England to tell others about their colony. In 1587, Raleigh sent more colonists to Roanoke. He also sent John White to be the colony’s leader.
After a few month, John White sails back to England for more food and tools. After he returned to England the war between Spain and England began and he was delayed in returning to Roanoke because of the Spanish Navy.
On this voyage 90 men, 17 women, and 9 children follow John White to set up a colony.
In 1590, White was finally able to Roanoke. What do you think he saw? Think about what kind of resources the colonists had.
The colony had vanished! The only clue was the word CROATOAN carved on the trunk of a tree. Croatoan was the name of an island and of a group of Native Americans. What the word meant, we don’t know. No trace of the “lost colonists” was ever found.
In 1606 a group of London merchants asked King James I for a charter for a new company. The merchants sold shares of ownership, or stock, in the company. They planned to start a colony in Virginia. Any profits from the colony would be divided among those who bought stock. These men planned to settle near Chesapeake Bay, in eastern Virginia.
At first the English and the Native Americas lived well together. That soon changed.
For more than one thousand years Native Americans had lived in the area the English called Virginia. Algonkian-speaking peoples had united to form the Powhatan chiefdom. This was a group of Native Americans who united under one main chief. The main chief was known as the Powhatan.
Chief Powhatan was a respected Native American leader. Wahunsonacock, as his people called him, ruled hundreds of villages. They him tribute in deerskins, pearls, corn, and other valuables.
By the early 1600s the Powhatan chiefdom included many Native Americans besides the Powhatan people. Each town and village had its own chief, or leader. Men or women could become a village chief, or even the Chief Powhatan.
In 1607 the Virginia Company sent its first colonists to Virginia. The settlers, all wealthy men or boys, landed near a large river. They called in the James River after England’s King James I. They built houses, a church, and a fort. They named their settlement…
Jamestown sat on a swampy peninsula on Chesapeake Bay. The water was salty and dangerous to drink. The swampy land held another danger – disease-carrying mosquitoes. That summer almost half of the colonists died.
The colonists might have died without Captain John Smith. Smith had been sent to protect the settlers. He often told wild tales of his adventures. But he was the strong leader that Jamestown needed. If you were the leader of the Jamestown colony what would you have people do?
Write one paragraph about what you would have people in Jamestown do. Remember, the people there were wealthy so most of them spent more time looking for gold than farming. Also, most of them had never worked before.