The Deaths of Colonial Settlers at Jamestown

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In the first years of settlement at Jamestown, tragedy struck. They arrived at the mouth of Chesapeake Bay in May 1607. Some hoped that they would be able to teach the natives about Jesus Christ or find new homes. Others hoped to find a hidden route to China or get rich. But by 1611, 80% of the colonist that came to Jamestown was dead. So why did so many colonist die? They died because of the environment, their occupation, and the natives. The environment was one of the main causes of death at Jamestown (Doc. A, B, and E). Take water for example: the colonists would dig shallow wells to get fresh drinking water, but during the tidal changes, the water would become contaminated from the salt water, in other words turn brackish (Doc A). Also when they had to empty their “waste” bucket, they would empty it in the river, so during the tidal changes it would come right back into their wells (Doc A). They would then drink the water and get diseases (Doc A). In 1605-1612, the colonists experienced the longest drought (Doc B). Because of the lack of rain, they weren’t able to grow crops (Doc B). The seasons also caused diseases to spread (Doc E). The occupations of the colonists contributed to the colonist dying. They brought gentlemen, rich men that didn’t work with their hands, and they wanted other people to build their houses and hunt for their food (Doc C). It got to the point when John Smith told them to hunt for their own food or starve. They also only brought two medical people, so they didn’t have enough people to cure all the sickness and people died (Doc C and E). The colonists did not have a very good relationship with the natives. In 1606, Francis West and his crew went to get grain for the settlers from natives that haven’t seen the colonists (Doc D). He (or his crew) killed two natives in order to fill the small ship with grain,
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