Dying And Surviving In Virginia Essay, Research Paper
Dying and Surviving in Virginia
The English settlement in the land named “Virginia” did not begin in Jamestown but in the failed colonies of Roanoke in the late 1500s. After abandoning the settlement in Roanoke, the English settlers settled in Jamestown in 1607 where lives in the early years were notably unsuccessful.
In 1584, the English settlers landed on the Newfoundland called Roanoke which was originally inhabited by the Carolina Algonquian Indians. During their several attempts to colonize this land, there were many troubles and difficulties which became an obstruct to their success. First of all, Roanoke was newly found and nothing was known much about it. The natives who lived there spoke different languages with the settlers and this made it difficult to communicate. Secondly, the settlers were not well-prepared; they did not bring enough supplies, thus some of them had to go back and forth across the Atlantic sea to get more supplies in which each trip took almost three months. Unfortunately, on their way back to Roanoke, their supplies ships sank during the great seastorm and seven out of eleven chiefest colonists were drowned. The rest of the crews, after experiencing this disaster, lost their faith and hope. However, they managed to get to Roanoke some time much later than expected. They arrived too late. The land was deserted. It was guessed that the colonists who stayed behind probably died of hunger before the supplies ships arrived. Also, those colonists were left behind alone with no protection from the attack of the native Indians. When the new group of colonists arrived and found the land deserted, they came to a realization that settling in Roanoke was full of difficulties and not worthwhile, they gave up and abandoned the colonization of this land.
The failed venture at Roanoke did not destroy England’s ambition for Virginia. However, they now learned that the colonization could be very risky and costly and , therefore, in the future colonizations, the efforts would be undertaken by companies who would raise funds by selling shares to investors. In order to persuade the investors to purchase shares in their venture, the companies needed to make a propaganda which would give the investors a good image of Virginia that would convince them to invest their money on this land. The “Nova Britannia” was one of these propagandas that were published throughout England. To convince the investors, this propaganda overly described the situations in Virginia. For instance; “It is also commendable and hopeful in everyway, the air and climate most sweet and wholesome to our nature.”, (from “Nova Britannia”). In my opinion, this propaganda was not realistic; it was too nicely described.
On the other hand, the government wanted to improve the situations in Virginia by trying to oppose the unrealistic propagandas. The government saw that because of these people had an incorrect view of life in Virginia, they made a wrong decision about going. They pictured Virginia as a place for better fortune and so they all rushed to go over. This was why early lives in Virginia were miserable. Population grew too rapidly and this was the main cause of famine, unhygienic conditions and diseases. By making the story of Virginia sound more disastrous and closer to reality, people slowed down their immigrations. The publishing of the “Laws Divine 1611″ served this purpose. These laws sounded very sternly and they made the readers perceive and opposite view of life in Virginia. People were intimidated that lives could be very strict there and that there was no trust among people that was why the government had to establish all these stern laws.
However, both of these documents were beyond reality. The readers should be very careful when deciding which one to believe. In my opinion, the second document (The Laws Divine) sounds to me more realistic than the “Nova Britannia” propaganda. I can see more facts in the “Laws Divine” and also see that the propaganda was published in favor of Virginia.
After all, I have come to a conclusion that life in early Virginia was notably unsuccessful. People were dying of unknown diseases and a lot were suffering from some uncured sicknesses. Lives were badly organized because the population grew too rapidly and people could not handle it. Not only were people dying from diseases caused by unhygienic conditions, they also died of hunger and famine. Also, what kept Virginian from progressing was their constant interruption of the native Indians.