Jamestown and the Massachusetts Bay Colony had many similarities and differences. Many of these differences were due to their physical location and climatic conditions. The success of both colonies can be contributed to strong leadership and the characteristics of the personalities of the settlers that inhabited each settlement. Many of the early problems in both settlements can be contributed to a lack of knowledge on the parts of the settlers along with attacks from neighboring Native American tribes. The Jamestown colony was located near present day James City County, Virginia.
Jamestown was the first permanent settlement by the English in what is in current day known as the United States. The location of Jamestown was selected primarily for the fact that it provided a favorable defensive location against any other foreign powers that may have tried to gain control of the colony. John Smith, Robert Hunt along with others provided inspirational leadership for the colonists but even so starvation became a very apparent problem. The hostile relations with the local Native American people and a lack of any profitable exports only made matters worse.
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Despite this and a horrible winter bearing down on them, the colonists persevered. At the end of the first winter only 60 of the original 214 English colonists survived. (jamestown virginia) The settlers who came over on the initial three ships were not well-equipped for the life they found in Jamestown. In addition to the “Gentry” who was not accustomed to manual or skilled labor, they consisted mainly of English farmers who were not prepared physically or emotionally for the problems that would face them. old and sold antique digest) Yet despite this they persevered and worked as a team to establish a colony. However, when two ships, crudely constructed in Bermuda, arrived at the settlement with no supplies, when the colonists desperately needed supplies the most, the settlers packed up and abandoned Jamestown. However, before the ships reached the mouth of the James River they crossed paths with three supply ships from England.
Along with much needed supplies for the fort, these three ships also carried a new leader for the colony, Thomas West who later became known as Lord Delaware. Governor West brought a new way of thinking with him and a strong determination that the colony must not be abandoned but that Jamestown represented a future for English expansion. Despite Governor West’s arrival, some people still sailed back to England. One of these people, John Rolfe, brought with him a new strain of tobacco and new marketing ideas.
In the end, John Rolfe ended up affecting Jamestown as much as Governor West’s arrival had. (jamestown virginia) The Massachusetts Bay colony was an east coast colony near current day Boston. The Massachusetts Bay colony was formed as a Puritan settlement. (Massachussettes bay) Most of the original 400 settlers of the colony were Puritans. The colony celebrated its first Thanksgiving on July 8, 1629. After this, the Massachusetts Bay colony had a period of continual growth and expansion due to many ministers reacting to the oppressive religious policies of England. the Massachusetts Bay Colony wikipedia) Many Puritan ministries developed due in part to the influx of puritans that vastly dominated the populations of the Bay colony. The people of the Bay colony were in large part made up of farmers and craftsmen. (massachusetts bay colony) This quickly helped the colony grow and become prosperous. The Massachusetts Bay colony also had help from neighboring Native Americans who liked to trade with the settlers for goods that they otherwise would not have had access to such as beads and dyed cloth. massachusetts bay colony) This trade with the natives also provided a security from the native attacks that could have otherwise could have driven the settlers from the land. But instead of doing this, the trade provided the settlers with valuable knowledge of the land and of farming techniques. It also provided them with much needed food throughout the first few years. (Massachussettes bay) The colony would not have survived long enough without the natives to have received the royal charter that they applied for and secured from Charles 1 in March 1629.
Under this charter, the people did not only secure land rights but they also received rights to create their own system of government and laws for the colony. These laws were known as The Massachusetts Body of Liberties. (the Massachusetts Bay Colony wikipedia) Unlike the people of Jamestown who were gold hungry when they first arrived in the New World and were forced to sail back to England when they ran out of supplies(old and sold antique digest), the people of the Bay colony had planned ahead and were more successful.
Unlike the people of Jamestown, they were never forced to turn around and go back to England. The people of the Massachusetts Bay colony were in general better prepared for the hardships of living in an untamed environment as opposed to those of Jamestown. The people of Jamestown however had a single leader chosen more by skill and qualities rather than an election like that of the Bay colony. The Bay colony essentially was a democracy where leaders and officers were elected in the general interests of the people. the Massachusetts Bay Colony wikipedia) The people of the Bay colony had a milder summer and a harsh winter to deal with where planning for winter was necessary(massachusetts bay colony) while on the other hand the people of Jamestown had a generally mild winter but a brutally hot and humid summer to deal with. Jamestown also had a much more severe mosquito problem then those of the Massachusetts Bay colony. Being on an Island also made it difficult for the people of Jamestown to hunt for meat and they quickly depleted the meager supply of wild animals that were present on the island. jamestown virginia) However, the Bay colony was built inland where plenty of wild animals were present for meat during the warmer months. Unfortunately during the winter most animals went into hibernation to survive the winter. This deficit of food supplies made it necessary for the people of the Bay colony to stock up for winter where the people of Jamestown were able to hunt year round. The people of Jamestown required far more imports for survival than those of The Bay colony mainly because the people of the Bay colony adapted to their environment very quickly and became very self sufficient. massachusetts bay colony) Both of the early English colonies prospered within time and helped establish the wonderful nation that we now know as the United States. All things have to start somewhere and in the case of the United States, imperialism allowed for a new nation to be born. The United States expanded tremendously to this day and continues to grow as it prepares for the future. In 1783, the United States officially broke away from England and has remained free of foreign control ever since.
Works Cited “colony of jamestown. ” old and sold antique digest. 1900. old and sold antique digest. 12 Sep 2008 <C:Documents and SettingsCory RamseyDesktopAP9-12-08jamestownColony Of Jamestown. htm>. “Massachusetts Bay Colony. ” celebrate boston. 2006. celebrate boston. 14 Sep 2008 <C:Documents and SettingsCory RamseyDesktopAP9-12-08massachussets bayA History of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. htm>. “Massachussettes bay. ” Massachussettes bay. 2005. 4 Sep 2008 <C:Documents and SettingsCory RamseyDesktopAP9-12-08massachussets bayMASSACHUSETTS BAY–COLONIZATION–NEW ENGLAND. htm>. “jamestown virginia. ” wikipedia. com. 2008. wikipedia. 12 Sep 2008 <C:Documents and SettingsCory RamseyDesktopAP9-12-08jamestownJamestown, Virginia – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. htm>. “The Massachusettes Bay Colony. ” wikipedia. com. 2008. wikimedia. 12 Sep 2008 <C:Documents and SettingsCory RamseyDesktopAP9-12-08massachussets bayMassachusetts Bay Colony – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. htm> .