Colonial American History - The Atlantic and Pacific Worlds - New Spain and New France - British America

Chapter 2: Death on a Coastal Fringe (Parts 3-5) :: The Barbarous Years by Bernard Baylin

Response / Thought Quotes

  • “The three years that followed was a period of violent dissension within the tiny palisaded settlement, confusion of purpose, physical devastation, and the emergence of a permanent pattern of race conflict. Death was everywhere.”
  • “Smith, in his Elizabethan love of drama and pageantry, may have relished the feasts and ceremonies, but most of his contacts with the natives were ruthless raids on their villages to extract corn and other supplies for the starving settlers. When his demands were not met, he threatened murder, took hostages at gunpoint, “negotiated” by intimidation, and without hesitation seized from the natives precious supplies that were necessary for their tribes’ survival. Believing the Indians to be inherently barbarous, he attributed to them deceits and plots they did not have and provoked them in ways they did not understand.”
  • “Then the ultimate catastrophes began. A few of the “gastely and pale” inhabitants of the fort—we do not know how many—did “those things w[hi]ch seame incredible, as to digge upp deade corp[s]es outt of graves and to eate them … and some have Licked upp the Bloode w[hi]ch hathe fallen from their weake fellowes.” And even beyond that, Percy wrote, one man murdered his wife, “Ripped the Childe outt of her woambe … Chopped the Mother in pieces and sallted her for his foode.” Forced to confess “by torture haveinge hunge by the Thumbes w[i]th weightes att his feete a quarter of an howere,” the murderer was executed. Many of those who “To eate … did Runn away unto the Salvages” fared no better: “we never heard of [them] after”
  • “The Indians were not even bothering to attack the protected blockhouse since they assumed the people within it would shortly perish.”

Thought Questions

  • Summarize the founders of the Jamestown colony
  • How were the instructions from the corporation given to the Jamestown settlers?
  • What were the instructions given to the Jamestown settlers?
  • In what ways did the Jamestown founders react to and comply with the instructions they received?
  • Summarize what the Jamestown settlers found when they entered the James River
  • Describe the geography of the Jamestown location from human and military points of view
  • Describe the process of initial settlement at Jamestown
  • Specifically what were the instructions to the colonists about Native Americans and what does this reflect?
  • Specifically what was the attitude and intention of the colonists towards Native Americans
  • In what pragmatic ways did the Jamestown colony grow
  • What impact did Newport’s second mission have on Jamestown
  • In what ways did a détente develop between the Jamestown colonies and Native Americans? Why did this occur?
  • Describe Captain John Smith and the role he filled in Jamestown
  • Describe the interaction between Jamestown as a colony and the Powhatan confederacy during early settlement
  • Describe the interaction between John Smith and the Powhatans?
  • In what ways did John Smith set or illustrate a pattern of Euro-native conflict / cooperations
  • Why didn’t Powhatan destroy Jamestown once they became a security threat?
  • Compare and Contrast: the motives and intentions of the Jamestown “Settlers” and the Jamestown “Colonizers”
  • Describe the grey middle area between “Settler” and “Colonizer”
  • Describe the Jamestown settlers early attempts at horticulture and agriculture
  • Describe the Jamestown settlers early attempts at industry
  • Compare and Contrast: the quality of life in London and the quality of life in Jamestown
  • Compare and Contrast: the quality of life in Jamestown and the Powhatan villages
  • In what ways did the disparity in quality of life between Jamestown and Powhatan impact these societies and how did they react to this impact
  • Explain and Expand: “By such means a marginal survival was preserved”
  • Describe the events of Jamestown the winter John Smith was recalled to England
  • Who was Thomas Gates and what immediate impact did he have on Jamestown (to be continued…)
  • Compare and Contrast: Thomas Gates and John Smith (to be continued…)

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