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Survival Of Jamestown? Essay

1064 words - 4 pages

21 May 2013HistoryThe Survival of Jamestown?Jamestown was the first American colony and is remembered best for their cash crop, tobacco. Unfortunately for the Jamestown settlers, they did not know how to hunt or grow food and they soon were running low on money to buy their necessities to survive. Many died of starvation until a man named James Rolfe brought in a plant called tobacco which would save Jamestown and make it the wealthiest of the 13 colonies. Tobacco was a plant that was very popular and successful in London because of its medicinal uses. Since Jamestown was one of the main suppliers for tobacco, it kept their economy booming. The survival of Jamestown was dependent on the growth of tobacco because the crop was a major factor in the development of the economy, labor, and the population.In the early days of Jamestown, the economy was failing. However, once the people of Jamestown started to plant tobacco, their economy started to develop at a rapid pace. Many of the English were sent to Jamestown by European investors to find gold and silver to make a profit. They soon found out there were too little resources to make a profit; therefore, they tried anything from glass blowing to silkworm farming (Marks). Since the settlers of Jamestown could not make enough of a profit from things such as glass blowing and silkworm farming they were running out of ideas. By 1612, a man named John Rolfe was experimenting with growing native Virginian tobacco for a profit, but then he soon found out that the Virginian tobacco was too harsh for European taste ("John Rolfe"). John Rolfe, looking for another strain of tobacco, found a tobacco plant from the West Indies that he could sell to Europeans: "Rolfe gave some tobacco from his crop to friends "to make a trial of," and they agreed that the new leaf had "smoked pleasant, sweete and strong." The remainder of the crop was shipped to England, where it compared favorably with "Spanish" leaf."("John Rolfe"). The new plant was as fragrant as the Spanish tobacco Europeans were used to. The new tobacco was also cheaper. By the 1630s, Jamestown was exporting over a million and a half pounds every year. The people of Jamestown gradually stopped farming food/crops and just used the money that the earned from tobacco and buy their food from neighboring Indian tribes (Marks). Because John Rolfe introduced a new strain of tobacco, it gave Jamestown the economic boost it needed to succeed and flourish in the competitive new world.As the demand for more tobacco grew, the plantation owners of Jamestown needed a bigger workforce to keep up with the rising demand for labor. By the 1700s, most of the new arrivals to America were indentured servants. Indentured servants were immigrants from Europe looking for a better life. They became workers for tobacco plantation owners for an agreed period of time. After the agreed time is over, indentured servants were set free and given a small amount of land and money (Beverley,...

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