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The Importance And Influence Of John Smith And Pocahontas To The New World

1368 words - 5 pages

As European nations began exploring the Americas, it was a struggle to discover an ideal location to reap all the benefits of settling this new world. In May 1607, the British strategically landed in Virginia, and colonized Jamestown. The settlers had been advised by the Virginia Company to select a location ideal for defense against competing navies of other European countries settling the Americas, such as the Dutch, the French, and the Spanish. The colonists chose to settle far enough inland to minimize the potential conflict with enemy ships and were located next to what we know today as the James River. More importantly, the Jamestown settlement was not inhabited with and Native American groups. Within the first month, James Fort was built, which had a triangular shape and enclosed a storehouse, a church, and multiple houses. The Jamestown colony seemed to be a promising endeavor initially, but little was known of the hardships that were to come. With the help of Captain John Smith and a young Indian named Pocahontas, the Jamestown colony narrowly avoided failure, and eventually prospered.Jamestown's early history alternated between near disaster and faint success. The root difficulty was that the colony needed soldiers, craftsmen and farmers; instead, self-important gentlemen unaccustomed to manual labor largely populated it. When prudence would have demanded crop planting, energy was wasted in the search for gold and silver[1]. The settlers soon realized why Indians had not occupied this land. Jamestown was mostly swampland, which made it difficult to plant and harvests any crops; it also isolated colonists from possible hunting game. This area was also infested with mosquitoes and other airborne pests that inhabited the brackish and brittle water that was left for the colonists to utilize. Colonists who first settled this land were not well equipped for these conditions; and as a result, many settlers suffered from saltwater poisoning which led to infection, fevers and dysentery. These conditions left most early settlers with disease and starvation. Furthermore, local Indian tribes began attacking the settlers in order to seize their weaponry soon after the settlement of Jamestown thus discouraging any hopes for peaceful commerce between the settlers and natives. Colonists held many of the Native Americans captive after the attacks. A brave Indian daughter of the Powhatan tribal chief, named Pocahontas, contributed both to her tribe and the colonists by peacefully trading clothes and food in return for the captive Native Americans.Once the fort at Jamestown was completed, Christopher Newport sailed back for London in June 1607 with a load of pyrite and other supposedly precious metals. He left behind 104 colonists and a small ship for the use of the colonists. Newport returned to Jamestown again in January 1608 from England with what was called the "First Supply" and about 100 new settlers. Many of the original settlers had died, but he...

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