English Colonization In Colonial America

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By the 1600s, Spain, England, and France were all struggling to establish footholds in the newly discovered American continent. Spain achieved initial success when the Spanish conquistadors plundered the Mayan, Aztec, and Incan empires in South America. The French were also successful in the New World, when they established trading outposts along the Saint Lawrence river and traded with the Native Americans for precious animal furs. The English began their colonization efforts in the 1580s when they established their first permanent colonies at Roanoke, Jamestown, and Plymouth. The Roanoke, Jamestown, and Plymouth colonies can all be compared on the basis of the motivation for settling, economic conditions, race relations, problems, and…show more content…
After granted a charter to settle the New World, the Virginia Company organized and recruited colonists to settle a region of the American continent known as Virginia. The settlers arrived at Jamestown in 1607. Jamestown was a hot, humid, marshy area located on the James River near the Chesapeake Bay. The soil was very rich and the area settled was defendable. The Jamestown settlers’ motivation for coming to America was one similar to that of the Roanoke settlers. They hoped to find gold, a water route to Asia, and make money for the shareholders in England. The status of the settlers varied dramatically. About half of them were of the English gentry, while the rest were tradesmen. Subsequently, the settlement became highly dysfunctional since the English gentleman refused to do work that was necessary to the colonies survival. This difference in social status was one of the many problems faced by the Jamestown colony. These setbacks included disease, starvation, massive death rates, and the pending relationship with the Powhatan Native Americans. The Powhatan were initially friendly to the colonists and gave them food, but drought ended the Powhatans generosity. The colonists attacked the Powhatan to procure food and relations never recovered afterwards. John Smith and his leadership solved most of the colony's problems. John Smith was a retired soldier, and therefore under his military command, he enforced a work policy for all members of the colony, sanitation codes, and improved relations with the Powhatans. The mortality rate remained substantial although the colony survived due to the continued influx of new settlers. The economy of Jamestown was based around tobacco, which was introduced by John Rolfe. Tobacco was a highly profitable cash crop which was harvested by planters, who owned slaves and and indentured servants. Jamestown was one of the first English
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