What did the first settlers in Jamestown encounter? How did colonists solve major problems they faced?

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kcoleman2016 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Jamestown was founded in Virginia, USA in 1617, the first permanent English settlement in the so-called "New World". The first settlers faced some major setbacks: 

Culture Clash: Culture clash is the term used for conflict between two cultures that interact with each other and are confused by one another's practices. Within weeks of settlement, colonists were attacked by the native population of Virginia, resulting in high tolls of death. Solution: The colonists demonstrated helplessness and relied on native aid to survive. Around this time, Captain John Smith became ruler of the colony; he was at one point captured by the chief, Powhatan, and "saved" by Pocahontas. Eventually, to reach a peace accord with the native population, Pocahontas married John Rolfe, a British settler.

Crime: There were several incidents of unruliness and discipline issues among the colonists. This was solved by the implementation of martial law by Captain Smith. 

Famine: Famine is when there is not enough food for a population and people begin to starve, some to the point of death. Colonists were unprepared for the brutality of winter in North America. As a result, their stock of food fell critically low. Solution: It is rumored that, besides from a high mortality rate and extreme rationing, some colonists even turned to cannibalism to survive. Records indicate that many non-food items were consumed as well, such as the leather from shoes. 

Sickness: Sickness, in this case, can apply to any number of medical maladies, ranging from the common cold to venereal disease to chronic illness. Due to the lack of hygiene, physical exhaustion, and malnutrition of the colonists, many became extremely ill and died. Solution: Colonists had to wait out sickness, and if they managed to survive, that was the solution. Medicine was very rudimentary at this point. 

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