The Importance and Influence of John Smith and Pocahontas to the New World

Essay by tdetchCollege, UndergraduateA, December 2008

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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...