Free History Essays Samples

Treatment Of Women In Jamestown Settlement

American Women are known as resilient and strong because of their endurance, which they demonstrated in Jamestown. Women in Jamestown were forced to work hard, stifle ambitions and endure rape. Researchers have found diaries and tales that were passed down through the generations, which depicted these women’s horrific experiences.

In 1606 there were three ships in Virginia. The Susan Constant, Godspeed, Discovery. Jamestown is a place that was chosen for its proximity to water but being inland. Jamestown was named after King James I. The settlement, which was completed in the month of June, had lookouts on each corner. As soon as the settlers arrived, they began dying of illnesses that were believed to have been caused by drinking river water. The local leader of the native group, Chief Powhatan decided to give them food as they were running out. Food shortages were severe. This time was called “The Starving Time”. In the end, they ate anything and everything. Sometimes even dead settlers. This led to 80-90% deaths. Powhatan was another trial that the settlers were forced to endure. Jamestown was plagued by hardships and wars.

Jamestown was founded in 1607. It is the oldest permanent English settlement of North America. The settlement was founded in Eastern Virginia in 1607. After the first arrival of the men, two English women followed almost a whole year later. The men outnumbered the women during most of this century. In 1620, 90 single women were sent to establish the colony. Jamestown was known as having a strong female presence. Early in Jamestown, women had fewer rights than they did previously in England. They were not allowed the vote, to have land, or to hold a political position. A woman’s father would retain her rights if she wasn’t married until she got married and found a decent man. Only when the husband died could a wife escape his control. This woman could control her land if she remarried.

The only women in the colony, according to legend, were Mistress Forest’s servant Anne Burras. But that changed when another vessel arrived in 1609 with more. They were only two among many women that were instrumental in the development of Colonial America and the success at Jamestown.

Mistress Forest was welcomed to Jamestown by her husband Thomas Forest in 1608 as part of the Second Supply, along with her servant Anne Burras. Mistress Forest died not long after she arrived in Jamestown. Anne Burras arrived in Jamestown at the age of fourteen. John Laydon was 28 when she married her. This marriage was the first one in Jamestown. Virginia was born about a year after the couple got married. Virginia was the first baby born at the settlement. This birth gave the settlers a feeling of stability and hope. They had a total of three daughters. The impact of women in Jamestown was not limited to these two women.

Pocahontas’s birth date was 1595. She was the daughter Chief Powahatan. Pocahantas was instrumental in the formation of the alliance between Jamestown, the tribe and Pocahantas. Her brother, John Smith, kidnapped the Colonist Captain in winter 1607. Pocahontas was able to save John from being killed right in front of her village. She was a known emissary. She provided food to them and did her best to help, despite a temporary truce between the tribes. They were upset when she cut them off because they had become dependent on her for food. In retaliation, they threatened to set fire to the Powahatans’ villages. In response, the chief tried to negotiate with them. The chief planned to ambush John Smith after the settlers declined his offer. Pocahantas saved John Smith once more by warning him. Pocahantas was imprisoned and met John Rolfe. In April 1614, she married John Rolfe. The marriage was crucial in building positive relations with the colonists. This marriage brought peace and hope of future progress.

These women were all strong enough to arrive in Jamestown first. This settlement had many issues when it was first established. The colony wasn’t stable enough, the food wasn’t available, the natives were causing problems, and they didn’t have enough to eat. Women were afraid of moving to a colony which they thought was unstable or unsafe.

The women initially did not want Jamestown. They had to be convinced and work hard for them to come. Jamestown’s early years were marked by starvation. They had bribes and incentives to offer to women to persuade them. Edwin Sandys, a man hired as the spokesperson to recruit or find women for the settlement, was the one who was chosen. Many of the women that left were working class. They were those who were not from wealthy families. Most of these women accepted, believing they could live a better lifestyle.

The women that came to Jamestown got a sort-of dowry, which included clothing, linens, furniture, etc. Also, the women received free transportation to Jamestown. Then they got a plot, and they could pick a man. Virginia paid for travel and incentive expenses to bring a woman into the colony. The colonists decided eventually to end the practice. Virginia was furious because she wanted to have enough wives to support the colony. Owen Evans, a messenger who worked for the King, was their contact. He and Virginians nearly kidnapped several dozen young women for Virginia. He failed, was accused of treason, and then killed. Women were treated as property in this situation.


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