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Jamestown Time Article

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   nv nting  meric h thAnniversary   amestown  h   pt Ii \ --   ;   :  § , ·· i , , · · i ã   ,   ; · i   ; , ,   ; ; i , 48 TH YTHOU HTTH YW R OST The Susan  onstant the Godsperd andthe  iscovery had sailedfromLondon on Dec.20, 1606, carrying 144 passengersandcrew,boundforVirginia.Howlingwindspinnedthemtothecoast of Englandforsixweeks.Aftercrossing the AtlanticbyasoutherlyrouteandreprovisioningintheWestIndies,theyheadednorth,expectinglandfallinthethirdweekofApril1607.Insteadtheyfoundatempest. For fourdaystheysounded,seekingoffshoreshallows in vain.Then,at4a.m. on April 26, theysawland.The three shipssailedintoChesapeake Bay andfound.inthewordsofonevoyager, fairmeadows and goodlytalltrees, withsuch freshwaters runningthrough thewoods, as Iwasalmostravishedatthefirstsight thereof ~ Theypicked an islandinariverforafortiliedoutpostandnameditaftertheirking,James. May isJamestown's400thbirthday,andQueenElizabeth II, JamesI'sgreat-greatgrtat·great-great-great·great·great·great·great·granddaughter,willbepresenttocelebratetheoccasion. But it'sworthrememberingthatJamestownwasagiantgamble.Thetrialsweresevere,theerrorsnumerous,thelossescolossal,thegains,eventually,great. Life inJamestownwasathree-waytug-of. war betweendailysurvival, the settlers'ownpreconceptionsandtheneedtoadapttoanewworld.JamestowndidnotinventAmerica,butinitswill to survive,itsquestfordemocracy,itsexploitation ofboth Indiansandslaves,itcreatedthetemplateforsomany of the struggles and achieve ments that havemadeuswhoweare, It containedinembryothesamecontradictionsthatstillresonateinAmerica today- thetensionbetweenfreedomandauthority,betweenpublicpurposeandprivateinitia·tive,between our hopesandourfears.Jamestownspawnedfourcenturies of myths.Thewreck of areinforcementex·peditioninBennudainspiredShakespeare'smagicplay, TheTempest  161 1), completewithCaliban,asavageabsrcinal;apassageineofJohnSmith'smanypromotional JAMESTOWN  STOR~ tractsinspiredaversein PeggyLee s song Fever 1958} ~Cap- lainSmithandPocahontashadaverymadaffair. Inreality,Jamestown was ahardheadedbusinessproposition.The 104En glishsettlers who stayedwhentheships went home gentlemen soldiers,priva·teers,artisans,laborers,boys(nowomen yet} were lateentrantsintheNewWorldsweepstakes.SpainhadconqueredMexicoby 152 I, Peruby I5H. Theminesdisgorgedsilver,and by theend ofthe 16thcentury,MexicoCity and Limahaduniversities,printingpressesandtensofthousandsofinhabitants.ThePortuguesewereharvest·ingdyewoodinBrazil,andtheFrenchweretradingforfursinCanada. Even thesome what overlookedChesapeakehadseenEuropeanpassersby:IheNativeAmericanswere not unusedtostrangers with paleskinsandsailingships. But anyone'sventureisspecial 10 him.AndtheEngland of lamesIandhispredecessor,Elizabeth I, sufferedfromoverpopulation and poverty.Pushingpeopleintootherlandscouldoolvebothproblemsandevenhaveasidebenefit. As the Rev. RichardHakluyt,England'Spremiergeog·rapher, put it, MValianl youthsrusting (from]lack of employment~ wouldflourishinAmerica andproduce   ãgoodsandcropsthatwould 0  O~ ; enrichtheirhomeland.The To see an notionwas so prevalent Intera::tlYe that itinspiredablowhard t= n characterin the 1605 play go to tlme.com astwardHofto declarethat Jarnlntown allVirginia colonistshad chamberpots of~pure gold.   Thatwouldhavesurprisedthelamestownsettlers,whofaced an aTTay of challenges,all of themtogethercrushing.It was aprojectoftheLondon Co., agroup of merchants wilh aroyalpatent:ImaginethatCongressgaveWal-MartandGeneral Elec tricpennissiontocolonizeMars. But of ne cessity,the d.:iy-to-day decisionsweremade in Jamestown,anditsleade.rswerealwaysfighting.Leaderswhowereincompetentor    JAMESTOWSIllS TOR} History comes.lIve Rqlimsojlhr lhrl e ships rhlll  mwd ill 1607,IIleSusanConstanl.lheGodspeed lind rhf Discovery, arcdockedal rhe jllmestown Stll/emm ,  e lilling-histol] sitrilisoamtaitlsa Ibwhalan lIillll~lInd IIlort,rigill. whl:rramntehlockmusket isfiredjor lIisilors unpopular-sometimes Ihemostcompelenlweretheleast popular-were deposedon the spot. The typical17th century ac- count of Jamestownargues that everythingwouldhavegOnewellifeveryonebesidesIhe author hadnot done wrong.Smith.forinstance,describedhisfellowcoloniStsas  lentimesmore fil 10 spoila common· wealth than ... tobegin one ~ Many Ihings didgowrong. Themost pressingproblemwassustenance.Thefirstyear, thesettlers drank from the lames River. succumbing totyphoid.dysentery and saltpoisoning.Once they had dug awell theywereabletodrink safely.butwhat would Iheyeal? Gardeningandfarmingwerefiendishly difficult. Sludies of treeringsshowthaItheChesapeakewasbaked by drought during thefirstsevenyears of the colony.This meant theyweredepen·denl on bartering or seizingsuppliesfromlocalIndians,whose own sloreswere de- pleted.Thesettlers who died of disease or starvationhadtobereplacedbynewset·tiersfromEngland. who arrived once or twiceayear (theirranks increasinglyincludedwomen).TheLondonCo.expecteda return onitsoutlay, bUI it wasslowincoming.It snotIhal the settlersweren tcapable of workinghard.One month after they landed,theyrealizedtheyneededa log palisadetopro-   tect them fromIndianarrows. As archaeologist William M. Kelso points out (in Jamestown:TheBuried Truth), in 19 daysandinaJune sweltertheycut andsplitmore than 600treesweighing 400 to Boo 100. eachandset them ina triangulartrench three  0 footballfieldslong and 2 k ft. deep. In 2004 ler of 1609becamethe starving time ~ TheNewLineCinemabuiltareplica of thefortcoloniSISalehorses,dogs,cats,vermin,evenforitsfilm  h   ew orld and did il in(itwassaid)corpses.InJune[610Ihesur· aboutthe same amount of time-with vivorsstaggeredontotheirshipsandsailedpower tools.intothe bay, eilherlookingforhelp or in BUI forts cannot beexported.The Rev. tendingto sOlil home.HelpcamewiththeI-Iakluythad imagined thaI the colonies arrival of threes hipsfromEnglandandnew wouldyield unto usallthecommoditiesofsettlers.Theshatteredcolonywas put unEurope,Africa and Asia. PerhapsIheset·derstrictmartial law. Thepenaltiesforrun tleTS would discovergold. All theyfound ning away included shooting,hanging, wereafewsemiprecious stones-garnets, burningandbeingbroken on the wheel. amethysts,quartz crystals.PerhapsIheyMilitarydisciplinewasastopgap;seriouscouldmanufactureglass.Oneresupplyshipreform, with long·reachingconsequences, broughteight German and Polishcraftswasalrcadyunderway.TheLondon Co. hadmen.Most of them ranofftolivewiththereorganizeditselfas the VirginiaCo. of Indians. london int609, and over the nextdozenRelationsbetween whiteand red men yearssettlersandhackersalikerealizedthe WeTI themostvariablefactorinjamestown scolonycouldnol be run asanoverseasmin·earlyhistory.ThewesternChesapeakewasing company oran armed camp.SuccessruledbyWahunsonacock, chief of thewoulddependonlargenumbers of peoplePowhatan. He WiiS anexpansionist.noless andthe steady production of exporlablethanthe English,havingbrought 30 localgoods.Thalrneanltheincentivesforlivingintribes under hissway,anempire of 15,000/amestov. Ohadto be modified.people.InDecember1607,SmithdescribedOnepropheticideawastorecruilrelihisroyalstate: M e satcoveredwithagreatgious outcasts-Englishmenwho longed 10 robe,made of raccOOn skins,andallthetailsputanoceanbetween them andtheestab·hanging by ~ flankedby tworows of men,lishedAnglicanChurch.Someradical Protes- andbehindthemas many women,withall\.ants,known as Dissenters.hadalreadyfledtheirheadsandshoulderspainted red ~ he toHolland. The VirginiaCo.lured some settlershoped 10 makethechiefatributary to Dissenters overandopened negotiationsJames I hehopedtomakethem aJJies ofhis.ithothers.Oneboatload of Pilgrims,blownSomelimestheyfought;sometimestheytrad- lmrth.landed inPlymouth,Mass.,in 1620. ed.Wahunsonacockwantedthecopper the ReligiouspluralisminBritishNorthAmericasettlersofferedinexchangeforfood,andhe would suffermany backlracks and falsevery much wantedtheirswordsand stans (Virginia would developits own firearms.Anglicanestablishmentastimepassed).but Bul when theIndiansrefusedtotradeforthefirststepwaslakeninjamestown.food.thecolonistsdiedhorribly.Thewin-jamestownalsowasthefirstplacetofind  

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