Why did the settlers go to Jamestown?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Most settlers originally went to Jamestown because they wanted to get rich.  Some others came to work for the people who went there to get rich.  In general, people came to Jamestown for economic reasons.

The bulk of the original settlers of Jamestown were gentlemen.  They were on an adventure to a new land where they hoped to get rich.  They believed that they would be able to find gold or to get rich in other ways that did not involve doing their own work.  Along with them came a number of poorer people who were meant to work for them.  These were laborers and, eventually, indentured servants.  These people came to Virginia because they were forced to (as convicts) or because they felt that they could have a better chance to get ahead economically in the New World even if they were servants and laborers.  As time went by, more laborers and farmers came to Jamestown.  This was particularly true after Virginia started to produce tobacco for export.  What all of these people have in common is that they came for economic reasons.  The elites wanted to become truly wealthy and the poor wanted a better chance  to get ahead.

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angigoff's profile pic

angigoff | eNotes Newbie

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The charter by the Virginia Company gave strict instructions for the settlers find  a location 100 miles upriver located northwest in order to find a passage.  Since this area also had a deep port, the ships could moor there in the 36 feet of water as well as protect themselves as they were surround by water and swamp.

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pchrenka | Elementary School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

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The original settlers of Jamestown did not land there.  They followed the creek to find what they felt was better ground for crops.  The native people in Virginia at the time were farmers and the settlers thought they could have valuable crops...such as tobacco and maize.  What they did not realize was that the English were not suited for the environmental conditions in Jamestown and became ill from the tidal waters and mosquitoes and heat.  The fort at Jamestown shows how the settlers attempted to grow and store crops.  The water was not healthy and the oppressive heat forced them to move up the James River to another location they called Williamsburg.  Here the gentlemen farmers could create a better environment for their crops and things they could ship back to England.

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