Part 3: The Jamestown Colony I. The Roanoke Disaster




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Part 3: The Jamestown Colony
I. The Roanoke Disaster

A. Reasons for English settlement in the Americas

1. Wanted a base in America to be able to attack Spanish ships and cities

2. Needed supply stations in North America for trading ships

3. Merchants wanted to open new markets to sell goods to Indians and

other colonists

4. England was becoming too crowded and colonies would help reduce the

population in England

B. Sir Walter Raleigh:

1. One of Queen Elizabeth’s “sea dogs”

2. Tried twice to start a colony on Roanoke Island off the coast of North

Carolina


3. First attempt in 1585 ended when the starving settlers abandoned the

colony and returned to England

4. The second attempt remains one of the great mysteries in history

5. In 1587, Raleigh colonized Roanoke for a second time

6. The English government sent a supply ship to the colony in 1590

7. Upon arrival, the crew of the ship found only empty buildings

8. There was no sign of the settlers anywhere

9. The only clue as to their whereabouts was a carving on a door that said

“Croatoan”

10. The Croatoan Indian tribe where neighbors of the settlers at Roanoke

11. It is not known if the settlers joined the tribe, were attacked and

defeated by the tribe, or moved to another area



II. The Jamestown Settlement

A. England Attempts Colonization Again

1. Years passed after the Roanoke disaster before the English tried

colonization

2. 1606: several Englishmen got a charter and formed the Virginia

Company (a joint - stock company)

3. Joint-Stock companies could raise large amounts of money with little

risk investors. That is the reason they were popular during colonization

4. The Virginia Co. sent about 100 settlers to Virginia

5. They settled at the mouth of the James River in the Chesapeake Bay

6. They called their settlement Jamestown in honor of King James I

B. The Settlers’ Hardships

1. More than half the settlers died during the first year

2. The colony nearly failed for several reasons:

- settlers were not used to hard work because most came from wealthy

families


- the settlement was built on a swamp (insects carried diseases which

killed many colonists)

- the leadership in the settlement was poor
3. John Smith:

- 1608: John Smith became the first strong leader of the colony

- Was a soldier: the experience helped make him a good leader

- Warned the colonists that if they didn’t work, they didn’t eat

- Was injured in a gunpowder explosion and left the colony

4. The Starving Time:

1. The winter of 1609 was a terrible winter

2. John Smith was gone and Pocahontas could not convince her

tribe to trade with the English

3. The English were forced to eat dogs, rats, and human corpses

4. By spring only 60 of the original 500 people were still alive

5. The following spring three ships arrived with supplies, 150 more

colonists, and 100 soldiers

5. Propaganda:

- Even though the settlers were starving, English writers were calling

Virginia a paradise

- Ministers gave sermons about how great the colony was

- English people were excited at the chance to go to Virginia

- By 1623: 5,500 people moved to Virginia

- The life of a settler was so hard that 4,000 of the people died quickly

C. Governing the Colony

1. 1624: The Virginia Co. was unable to prove they were profitable

2. King James I shut the company down and took control of it himself

3. King James appointed a governor to run the colony

4. Virginia also had a legislature (lawmaking assembly) made up of representatives of the colony

5. The reps were called burgesses (legislature called House of Burgesses)

6. IMPORTANCE: this was the first example of limited self-government

in the colonies



IV. Native Americans React

A. Conflict Between Indians and the Settlers

1. Soon after the Jamestown colonists arrived they were attacked by 200

Indians


2. The settlers tried to make peace, but only came up with a truce

3. 1622: Native Americans under Opechancanough carried out a surprise attack on the colonists at Jamestown

4. The Indians killed 300 of the colonists

5. The colonists struck back and killed about the same number of Indians

6. The Native Americans made one last attack on the colonists in 1644

7. Opechancanough, who was almost 100, led the battle

8. The colonists won and killed the Indian leader

V. Growing Tobacco

A. Importance of Tobacco

1. Tobacco was never seen in Europe until John Rolfe shipped it back in

1613


2. It became the basis of the colony’s economy because it was popular in

England


3. Jamestown settlers began to move away from the colony and start

plantations

4. The settlers saw tobacco as a chance to get rich

B. The Promise of Land

1. Plantation owners promised 50 acres of land to English people who

came to work for them (headright system)

2. Landowners in England stopped renting land to farmers

3. The “out of work” farmers left England to work in the American

colonies

C. Indentured Servants

1. People who couldn’t find work in England wanted to come to America

2. They did not have enough money to pay for the voyage

3. A system was developed to help those people pay for their passage to

America (The system became known as indentured servants)

4. Indentured servants worked for a master for 7 years. The master paid

for the voyage and provided food and shelter.

5. The indentured servants were usually given land at the end of their

service


6. Most servants were young, poor, and unmarried - many didn’t live long

enough to claim their land (diseases killed them in large number)

*7. The first group of 20 Africans arrived in 1619 - they were indentured

servants


VI. Bacon’s Rebellion

A. The Poor Rebel

1. Not every colonist was getting rich from tobacco

2. Settlers began moving west to find more farmland - most were poor so

instead of buying land they took it from the Indians

3. Fights between settlers and Indians began to take place

4. In 1676, Nathaniel Bacon raised an army to fight the Indians

5. He was considered a rebel by Governor Berkley so he took his small

army and defeated Berkley and burned Jamestown

6. Bacon controlled most of Virginia until his death

7. Importance of Bacon’s Rebellion

- Showed that settlers were angry with a govt. that only supported rich plantation owners



- Poor colonists would not tolerate that type of government


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