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Describe the geography, including the climate and landforms of Jamestown.

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Jamestown was easily defensible, as it was located on a peninsula with a thin isthmus connecting it to shore. It was surrounded by water on three sides, including the Back River, James River, and Sandy Bay, and was located near a deep harbor. Surrounding Jamestown were hardwood forests and tidal, marshy wetlands. It was not easy to find sources of fresh water in the area.

According to the NASA source below, Jamestown was subject to hot summers with high humidity, mosquitoes, and other bugs. Historians believe that during the time Jamestown was established, North America was going through a "Little Ice Age" that brought severely cold winters. In addition, as the source below explains, a study of tree rings in the area shows evidence of a drought at the time Jamestown was established, and the sandy soil was not conducive to growing crops. As a result, the colonists in Jamestown endured what is now called "The Starving Time" in the winter of 1609-1610. It was not until the colonists began to plant tobacco that the colony became more tenable.

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Jamestown, Virginia’s absolute location is 37.2267° N latitude, 76.7863° W longitude. It was established on a peninsula fifty miles up the James River from the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. The colonists named the river after the King of England. The peninsula was situated so that the colonists were able to see ships approaching which made the location safe from a waterway attack. A piece of land in its northwest corner attached the peninsula to the mainland. Woodlands on the mainland provided natural resources for the colony. Unfortunately for the colonists, the area surrounding the peninsula was infested swampland, and the water was brackish from a mix of sea water in the river.

With hot tropical summers and frigid winters, the climate of early Jamestown was very different than what the colonists were accustomed to in England. They were ill prepared to survive the winters in the rudimentary dwellings they built. In addition, they did not understand the growing season of the area or the threat of illness from the insects that bred in the hot, humid conditions.

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