Welcome to the Jamestown beginning. Well good news guys after spending the first several weeks messing around in the always intriguing world of sixteenth century Europe it is finally time to get to the real story as much fun as we’ve had bouncing around through the political economic and religious changes in Europe we are finally ready to begin looking at the first group of English settlers to cross the Atlantic and settle in Jamestown. Before we get into that however I want to give a run down of what the foreseeable future the podcast is going to look like the popular story of the United States is that of a rag tag bunch of colonies that join together to fight the mighty British Army.
However that is something that doesn’t really exist right away the first colony should be seen as more of a collection of independent knows acting separately from each other. In order to approach this I plan to work through the colonies one by one looking at the unique factors at each specific group making their way to America. I think addressing the major companies wanted to time is going to be the most effective way for me to move through the rest of the season.
The general plan is to move through each colony yeah and get it up to right around 1650 before moving on to the next. After moving through the colonies I will have a few episodes to tie everything together and address a few other subjects that I want to hit that is going to basically take us to the end of the first season. Not with all that said we are going to begin this week with the first of several episodes looking at that first colony founded in 1607 Jamestown would become the first permanent English colony in the Americas.
For 13 years Jamestown stood alone as the only English settlement in America before the Puritans join them with their settlement in Plymouth. The founding of Jamestown is a story of failure misery death starvation war and ultimately after facing cataclysm after cataclysm a moderate amount of success. The story of Jamestown is one that will see the colony become the largest tobacco exporter in Europe but only after surviving disease and war with the Indians and starving that became so severe that the people were forced to turn to cannibalism.
These are just a few of the things that we are going to explore over the next several upsets and today we are going to begin laying the groundwork for all of that. Everybody in the United States is taught that the pilgrims spoiler alert by the way traveled across the Atlantic to the Americans to avoid religious persecution. In many ways this is held up as a banner establishing the freedoms that would become synonymous with the future United States the decision to go to Jamestown is fueled by the single most common denominator in all of colonization the hope of finding riches.
To begin this week I want to look at the reasons why people suddenly found themselves boarding ships and heading across the Atlantic. What were their motivations what were they looking for by looking at what motivated the first settlers to go to Virginia he’s gonna tell us a lot about the colony and its future and this is going to be something we keep coming back to in future episodes as we move through the history of Jamestown Virginia as a whole today when people look back on the history of the United States there seems to be a tendency to focus more on the pilgrims the founders of Plymouth then there are the founders of Jamestown.
In fact there seems to be among many a general belief that the pilgrims who came across on the Mayflower we’re the first to settle the future United States. And yet we know that not to be true Virginia had been settled more than a decade before an effect by 1620 was well on its way toward stability. The question therefore becomes why is James are often forgotten when we look at the establishment of the English colonies in North America that is one of the questions we are going to be looking at over the next several weeks as we explore Jamestown what makes the Jamestown settlers different than the New England settlers.
To begin this week I want to start to look at the conditions under which James town was founded in who the settlers were. Last week we discussed English attempts to contact with America at the Roanoke colony well that colony would mysteriously disappear it also marked the end of English colonization efforts up until 1607. Well the failure of the Roanoke colony may have had some minimal effect on the future colonization of North America the real issue was going to be the ongoing English Spanish war. The war between England and Spain had done a pretty good job of depleting English treasury.
The easier solution for European powers that were not the Spanish or Portuguese was to turn towards private cheering instead of forming your own colonies eat instead attacked the Spanish ships still their goods and sell them as your own back in Europe. The English had just finished up a war with Spain and knew that continued use of privateering was likely to lead to another war so specifically in the treaty of London one of the requirements from Spain was in agreement that England would back off of their private practices at least 2 gets the Spanish be affected in the Presbyterian against Spanish merchants did not reduce however English interest in the potential profit and the items to be found in the Americas.