Virginia: Native Americans in the United States Essay

Some might say that the Native Americans were better off before we the people came to settle, but most believe it all worked out in the end because we are here today in this fast growing world. Before the US had the latest and greatest technology, before our advance medicine, before the rise and plummet in our economy there was once other natives to this land we now call America. What was the life like before during and after the English men came.

Although Powhatan Native American and English lives were taken during the rising of Jamestown it had become not only the big growers of Tobacco, but the first successful colony. It is said that there were about 15,000- 75,000 Powhatan Indians when Jamestown was founded. The Powhatan Indians had villages set up each with their own chief whom all worked under the main chief “Powhatan” a name given to him by the English men. Jamestown was surrounded by briny marshes. The Indians of Jamestown told English that the river water was undrinkable when they arrived.

In hope of the English leaving the Indians did not create conflict because many died during the due to malnutrition, fever and other health issues. Many of the new settlers were living with the Indians to survive. Equally important to the early beginning of Jamestown is when they became a successful colony by growing tobacco. Smoking which was also known as “The Stinking custom” said by James I was a huge craze during that time and till this day still is. John Rolfe soon became the father of tobacco when he experimented in his garden.

Soon enough the tobacco market was a sensation for Jamestown selling 10 tons of tobacco for 3 shillings per pound which is roughly equivalent to $30 a pound in present time currency ! Be mindful that English men were selling tons of tobacco. Due to the large amount of land many Virginians were growing their own tobacco, but who will do the hard labor? Instead of doing labor work for others why not just go and get your own piece of land to farm. That is what many were doing until a Dutch ship carrying about 20 Africans and tobacco came to Jamestown.

Employees were convicts serving their sentence as well as Africans. By 1660 there was 900 Africans to 25,000 Virginians. As a result of the vast growing tobacco industry Jamestown was starting to make a name for themselves. In time George Calvert who had paid a visit to Virginia had liked what he saw and wanted to purchase new land which is now known as Maryland, but If we rewind a bit back to March of 1622 we are reminded that Powhatan Indians are still around.

While the English men are doing great things with Jamestown the Powhatan Indians home and land are being pushed back because of the fast growing tobacco industry. After the passing of the head chief Powhatan his successor, Opechancanough, had paraded into Jamestown unannounced massacring villages including the Tobacco Father John Rolfe. Consequently, Powhatan Indians were killed at a “peace parley” with poison given to them. By 1685 Powhatan Indians were extinct.