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Current time:0:00Total duration:6:08
GEO (Theme)
KC‑2.1.II.A (KC)
Unit 2: Learning Objective C

Video transcript

so after getting a very late start the English finally started a new world colony on the coast of North America in 1607 and it was here at Jamestown the English colonists at Jamestown could not have been less prepared to settle a new world they came from the Virginia Company which was a joint stock company or kind of like a modern-day corporation which was trying to make wealth for its shareholders as quickly as possible now if you think about people in this time period they in England are taking a look over at Spain and seeing Spain bring ships full of gold and silver back to Europe from the new world and they want to get in on that action and as far as they know the whole new world has just piled up with silver and gold so in the first months they sent gentlemen and the English definition of a gentleman here is someone who does not work with his hands to try to find gold in Virginia now spoiler alert there is no gold in Virginia but that whole first summer when they were there they could have been planting crops they could have been fishing I mean this is actually a pretty bountiful area when it comes to natural resources in plants and animals but they were trying to find gold they were trying to basically get rich quick this was the scheme but then winter rolled around those who hadn't already been killed by mosquito-borne illnesses like malaria or yellow fever were now subject to starvation and there the story gets even more complicated because the English settlers who were all men by the way they were adventurers they were not there to start families start a long-term colony in the new world they just wanted to find gold and get out so as these English colonists are starving they start to run afoul local Native Americans they were an algonquian tribe living in the Virginia Tidewater who were under the rule of this man here and this is a drawing of him done by John Smith who we'll talk about in a second his name was Powhatan his real name was huahin Seneca but the English called him Powhatan and the people that he ruled the Powhatan x' and as the english settlers realized that they had not put away enough for practically any stores to get them through the winter they started raiding the food supplies of the Powhatan x' which of course didn't make them very happy they were also trying to survive the winter and the PAL Hatton's kidnapped John Smith there's an engraving of him here and they kind of tried to show him their power so there's a legend that Powhatan was intending to execute John Smith the daughter of Powhatan Pocahontas also wasn't her real name that was her nickname it kind of meant little playful person her real name was Madoka but we know her today by her nickname Pocahontas and Pocahontas intervened and kept her father from executing John Smith either out of the goodness of her heart or maybe because she had a crush on him this is pretty much completely untrue the Disney version of this story says that Pocahontas and John Smith go on to fall in love and get married the fact that matter was that Pocahontas was probably about 13 years old at the time and she will go on to marry an Englishman but not John Smith John Rolfe who is famous in another way which we'll get to soon it's also quite likely that Powhatan didn't actually intend to execute Smith instead what he was doing was kind of a ritual of power and mercy so he's doing kind of a mock execution saying all right I have the power to execute you but then Pocahontas playing her ritual role steps in to say no have mercy so he says you know I could kill you but because I'm a strong leader but because I am also a merciful and just leader I will not so after his kidnapping John Smith really kind of steps up as the savior of Jamestown which probably would have completely collapsed worried not for him and in 1608 he takes over and says that he who shall not work shall not eat so you gotta pull your weight if you're going to get supported by the rest of the colonists nevertheless the first years at Jamestown were pretty rough in the winter of 1609 to 1610 which they called the starving time the colonists were so hungry that they resorted to eating vermin and they resorted to eating each other one man actually killed and ate his wife in one of the few known examples of English cannibalism so Jamestown was a pretty rough place to be only about 15% of the settlers who went to Jamestown actually survived in fact that following spring of 1610 they decided to give up and head back to England they were met just as they were leaving by new supply ships that continued the Virginia Experiment which will become much more successful after the discovery of tobacco we'll get to that in the next video