Why did the settlers go to Jamestown?

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The primary motivations of most of the Jamestown settlers were economic. For over a century, Spain had been reaping massive fortunes in the New World. By the beginning of the 17th Century, the English were eager to do the same. With the founding of the Virginia Company of London in 1606, the venture had the financial backing to make a settlement possible. Investors and settlers alike hoped to use the new colony to gather natural resources, grow cash crops, and open new markets for trade.

At this time, England was enduring a devastating economic depression. Poverty was sweeping through the nation. It was becoming clear to many that relying on the old economic structures would be insufficient. With the collapse of the wool market, much of England's economic basis had crumbled. Furthermore, the enclosure movement meant that non-landowners lost access to public lands which they had relied on for generations. However, new lands ripe for the taking were available in the New World. Tales of...

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