The Jamestown Fiasco Essay

From the first landing of the colonists under the leadership of Captain Cristopher Newport at Cape Henry on April, 26, 1607, they seemed to make every possible mistake to fail the company. Possible explanations are the lack of proper government and incentives of private enterprise. There was a council elected, and John Smith did his best in saving the colony by establishing links with Indians, and organizing work gangs. Yet many council members complained of his overbearing power and he was replaced. His successors, leaving the idea of work groups, were hostile to the Indians. The collective work of colonists had no relations to their reward, so they had no motivation. Still, more destructing were constant wars with the native Indian tribes, both devastating and harmful. Colonists did not plant anything themselves and depended on Indians growing corn, so their attacks spoiled relationships with the Natives and ravaged fields. That led to starvation in winter 1609-10, and even later the colonists often suffered the shortage of food. One more issue was the character of the immigrants. The significant part of the colony consisted of gentlemen. The colony required workers who would do whatever they were told to, but they were too few and too weak. Moreover, the food supply was not accounted as a real problem, so the company never sent enough food for the colony. One more problem was that colonists could not find riches to extract. Cedar wood was too bulky and cheap to import, there were no great demand for sassafras, and no precious metals and silk. Thus, disappointed colonists could find no fulfilling of their expectation and no will to work. The only good for export was tobacco, though it was much cheaper than Spanish one.

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