What problems did the colonists in Jamestown face?

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The colonists faced many problems in Jamestown.  Disease, especially mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria and yellow fever killed many of the inhabitants.  The founders of Jamestown placed the settlement too close to the brackish James River and there was a shortage of potable water.  The first settlers were all gentleman farmers at first and they were not used to getting their hands dirty--it took John Smith's military discipline to make the men even create a stockade.  There was also the issue of how to pay back the investors--the early settlers of Jamestown wasted their time looking for a Northwest Passage (a waterway to China) and mining for gold; Virginia is not known as a gold-producing state.  The men finally decided on growing a hybridized tobacco pioneered by John Rolfe--this tobacco was made from the prolific strain grown and smoked by the natives in the area and a better tasting variety from the Caribbean.  Incidentally, the colonists exported this tobacco to England and ultimately around the world.  Another large problem the colonists had was with the Powhatan tribe--English livestock destroyed native farms and their diseases killed many Powhatan--this would lead to several wars with the tribe.  

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Why did Jamestown have a hard time getting settlers?

There were a number of reasons. For one thing, the winters in Jamestown were notoriously harsh, and many settlers died in the biting cold weather. In fact, more than half of the original settlers died during their first winter in the colony. Jamestown was primarily a business venture rather than a settlement. Those who made the long journey across the Atlantic were there to exploit the New World's mineral wealth, not put down roots. As such, the practicalities of survival tended to be ignored. When colonists arrived in Virginia, they were often ill-prepared; they lacked the vital farming and building skills necessary to live off the land. The resulting starvation was as inevitable as it was tragic.

In addition to cold and hunger, potential recruits to the colonial venture were put off by bloodcurdling tales of the supposed violence and savagery of the indigenous tribes. Europeans didn't know much about Native Americans and what little they did know wasn't very reassuring. For many prospective colonists, no amount of gold was worth undertaking such a perilous journey only to be subjected to constant murderous assaults by what they regarded as wild, heathen savages.

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Why did Jamestown face difficulties as a colony? 

Like any new endeavor, cooperation is required. Have you ever worked on a project with a group of classmates? I bet you have had some that work hard,  some that work a little, and some that do nothing. That was happening in Jamestown. Under the extreme conditions, this caused a lot of strife. Put yourself  in their position and imagine  life in an untamed world.

Captain John Smith took control of the colony. He made a rule, if you don't work, you don't eat. This helped create a more fair society. It is helpful when looking at history, to remember that human nature contributes to any situation. Try to identify a situation in your life that gives you some understanding of how the settlers felt. Through this lense, you will have a better understanding of history.

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Why did Jamestown face difficulties as a colony? 

First of all, please note that this is a question whose answer is in something of a state of flux.  As can be seen in the link below, some of the conventional wisdom about Jamestown’s problems is being called into question by recent archaeological finds.

The conventional wisdom holds that Jamestown’s problems began when the colonists chose a bad site for their settlement.  They chose a place that would be easy to defend against Indians, not realizing that it was in the middle of a swamp full of mosquitoes that carried malaria.  This led to the death of many Jamestown settlers.  Jamestown also encountered problems, according to conventional wisdom, because the settlers arrived too late in the year and without enough people who could get a colony started.  They arrived too late to plant and too many of their people were either gentlemen or servants who waited on the gentlemen, not carpenters and farmers.  Some of the settlement’s problems are also attributed to aggressive actions against the Native Americans who had been willing to trade with the settlers at first.  The settlers’ attempts to take the Indians’ supplies caused trade to be cut off and also led to attacks on settlers.  These are the factors that are generally cited in textbooks as having caused Jamestown’s problems.  It is likely that these are the answers that your teacher wants to see.

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