Why Did So Many Colonists Die? by Melissa A

In only six months, seventy people out of the one hundred- ten original settlers had died. In the spring of 1607, the English colonists arrived from their mother country, England to an area in Virginia, which was to be called Jamestown. They made a settlement near the Chesapeake Bay and the James River. There lay possible riches and Natives that could be taught the ways of Christianity. There are many reasons colonists died at Jamestown from 1607-1611. They had bad relations with the Native Americans, they drank bad water, and they had poor settler skills.

    The first reason Jamestown colonists died was bad relations with the Powhatan Indians. According to Document D, there was mistrust between the colonists and the Native Americans. The colonists forced the Native Americans to trade with them. According to Document E, seven colonists were killed by Native Americans. When Native Americans and the English could not get along, this led to battles. Some colonists ended up dying.

    The next reason the colonists perished was because of the consumption of brackish water. According to Document A, when waste was dumped into the river, it came back instead of flushing away. According to Document E, approximately eighty-four colonists were killed by diseases. The settlers dumped their waste into the river, it would tend to come back instead of flushing away to the ocean. This caused illnesses and it spread around, causing deaths to many colonists.

    The final reason leading to the demise of so many colonists was due to poor settler skills. According to Document C , there were no farmers so there could not be any crops for the colony. According to Document C, forty-seven of the original colonists were gentlemen, they were men who lived in riches and never had to work. There being no farmers they could not grow crops and feed themselves and the gentlemen could not work and take care of themselves and did not have useful occupations.

    Many of the original settlers died due to having bad relations with the Powhatans, consuming brackish, filthy water, and for having poor settler skills. However, the primary reason so many colonists died was poor settler skills. There were too many people who could not work nor take care of themselves, they were dependent on the Native Americans and they could not survive on their own.


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