17th Century Jamestown

Essay by xtimessUniversity, Master'sA+, November 2002

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Life in the 17th Century for the settlers at Jamestown was probably far more difficult than anyone in this lifetime to even imagine. They came to this country in hopes of an easier and simpler life, which was something that didn't exist. Hunger, freezing temperatures, wild animals and death was all the settlers knew this land had to offer. The settlers, thinking they would make things easier only made it more difficult for they brought slavery into act. Yet, it was not only the setters that were surprised, but also the Indians as well for they at least already had adapted to this land and now they had to deal with intruders of all types, the English, the French and the Spaniards. In the end no one really won.

A Long Beginning

England was convinced that the settlers at Jamestown would have to do some type of work, such as growing at least a portion of their own food.

According to Edmund S. Morgan the English people were basically a lazy lot and the settlers of Jamestown either chose to do nothing or they were without the resources needed to know what to do when they arrived to the New World. Then again, as noted above, idleness seemed to be a fashion in much of England. This was partly because even though the English government frowned on idleness it made it illegal for anyone to obtain more than one trade or craft. The majority of those sent were lazy, blind, lame and criminals because England wanted to rid their country of them. Therefore, no one could really expect much good to come about.

It was not until Captain John Smith arrived to the scene that the settlers had someone that knew what to do. He taught them how to trade...