American History Journal Entries
Journal Entry Assignment #1
Why did colonists from England decide to make Jamestown their first permanent settlement? Jamestown wasn’t the very first colony, it was the third. The first two colonies, Roanoke Colony in North Carolina and Popham Colony in Maine failed miserably. The harsh winters combined with starvation, and attacks from the Native Americans ruined colonizers plan to strive in the early colonies. The Jamestown Colony was settled in Virginia next to the James River. Colonist believed this area was a prime location because it was located by the ocean and a river which allowed for easy loading and docking of goods. They also believed it was a defensible site and that Virginia processed gold because the Spanish returned home with plenty. In hindsight, Jamestown a terrible location for settlers because it was a mosquito-infested swamp. Many of the English colonist died because of the diseases they were exposed to. The area was a swamp, which made it extremely hard to find good land to build on. I think these reasons was why Indians didn’t bother to inhabit the location themselves. With all odds against the colonizers, Jamestown was still ultimately successful.
Plantation owners during the start of colonization in North America used the services of English indentured servants for labor, so why did they begin using enslaved Africans instead? Why not continue employing willful indentured servants? Jamestown was established in 1607 and was built on the backs of indentured servants until 1619 when African slaves arrived. The slaves were Africans that the Portuguese captured and was shipped to Central America. Along the route, the ship was attacked and some of the slave eventually made it to the Virginia Colonies where they were sold for food, supplies and cattle. The enslaved Africans would work along side of the indentured servants on the rice, tobacco and cotton plantations. Some of them would be set free and was able to own land, but that was short lived. As plantations and the demand for cash crops grew, owners saw an opportunity to exploit the Africans. The importation of slaves grew exponentially. Plantation owners saw a workforce that they did not have to give anything in return and was not protected by English law. Slavery would last over 200 more years after the first arrival of Africans in 1619.