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

Chapter 3 (Part 2) :: The Barbarous Years: The Peopling of British North America: The Conflict of Civilizations, 1600-1675 by Bernard Bailyn

Response / Thought Quotes

  • “His soldiers, mimicking an Indian gesture of hospitality, lured the Kecoughtan villagers into the open with the piping, dancing, and drumming of a young taborer, then killed fourteen of the men, women, and children who had come out to watch, and looted their lodges and fertile maize fields. A month later De La Warr sent Percy and seventy men to avenge the Paspaheghs’ failure to return arms and captives. Nothing and no one was spared. Percy’s troops killed fifteen or sixteen natives on the spot, burned down the village houses, and destroyed the crops. Returning downriver with the tribe’s “queen,” her children, and a male Indian captive in tow, Percy, criticized by his troops for burdening them with these encumbrances, “cawsed the Indians heade to be Cutt of[f],” and then was persuaded by his troops to allow them to kill the children, which they did by throwing them overboard and “shotingge owt their Braynes in the water.” The queen, for the time, was spared. After a foray inland to burn another village’s houses and crops and to destroy their “Spacyous Temple, cleane and neatly kept” though it was, Percy arrived back in Jamestown, to be told that the governor was “discontente” because the queen had not been disposed of. De La Warr thought it best, Percy was told, “to Burne her.” But “haveinge seene so mutche Blood shedd thatt day,” Percy “desired to see noe more,” and in any case, burning, he felt, was not “fittinge.” He therefore decided that if the queen was to be murdered it should be “by shott or Sworde to give her a quicker dispatche.” So Capt. James Davis, a remorseless “taskmaster” at the forts, took the woman into the woods and “putt her to the sworde.””
  • “When De La Warr suspected that some natives visiting the Jamestown fort were spies, he “caused one to have his hands cutt of[ f], and so sentte [him] unto his fellowes to geve them warneinge for attemptinge the lyke.””
  • “No longer thinking, as Smith had done, simply of the desperate need for life- saving supplies, Dale, a participant in the ruthless slaughter of noncombatants in Ireland on the ground that “terrour… made short Warrs,” launched a program of deliberate military provocation and savage harassment. His campaign to reduce the natives to the status of subject people and drive them off the most valuable lands was part of what has been called England’s “First Anglo- Powhatan War (August 1609 to April 1614).””
  • “translated England’s ad terrorem tactics from the Irish wars of the late sixteenth century—specifically the use of deception, ambush, and surprise, the random slaughter of both sexes and all ages, the calculated murder of innocent captives, and the destruction of entire villages … [The attacks] neither discriminated between combatant and noncombatant victims nor between hostile and friendly tribes.”
  • “Having succeeded, however, in gaining these major goals and in creating terror among the Indians, Dale drew back in 1612–13 to secure his victories and develop a strategy for the next moves. The English received an unexpected advantage when, in March 1613, they captured Pocahontas and found her susceptible both to conversion to Christianity and to John Rolfe’s romantic, and missionary, interest.”
  • “The first, failing experiments that had been made in growing tobacco were not of the native, local plant known to the Indians but of a Spanish variety imported from Trinidad, for which a market was known to exist in Europe. Two years later John Rolfe’s efforts to produce the plant that grew natively in the Chesapeake region were beginning to look promising, though the quality of the tobacco shipped was still judged too poor for English consumption. It was, however, easily produced on partly cleared land, and the farmers, desperate for some kind of cash crop, persisted. The quality of the crop gradually improved, especially as a result of experiments carried on by experts sent to Bermuda, and production rose in every planting season. In 1616, a mere 1,250 pounds were shipped to England; in 1617, almost 10,000 pounds; in 1618, almost 25,000; in 1620, almost 60,000. In all, by 1621 over 100,000 pounds of Virginia tobacco were sent to England; by 1625, almost 400,000.”

Thought Questions

  • Who were the Kecoughtans?
  • Who was George Percy, what role did he fill in Jamestown and how did he impact relations with the Native Americans?
  • Who were the Appomattocs
  • Describe the general state of relations between Native Americans and Jamestown during the period of De La Warr
  • Describe the general state of relations between Native Americans and Jamestown during the period of Thomas Gates
  • Compare and Contrast: Thomas Gates and De La Warr
  • How and why were the Virginia settlements collected together and (re)organized by Thomas Dale and Thomas Gates?
  • What was Dale’s Law and how did it impact Jamestown?
  • Describe the relationship between Thomas Gates and Thomas Date
  • Describe the circumstances leading to and the evolution of the First Anglo- Powhatan War?
  • Who was Bartolomé de Las Casas, what was the “Black Legend” and how did it impact English colonial expectations?
  • Explain and Expand: “The need for some such rationale grew with the escalation of conflict.”
  • Explain and Expand: “Some kind of reciprocity had been achieved. But the Indians saw it as the end of a process; the English saw it as a beginning.”
  • Explain and Expand: “While Gates and Dale were clamping a rigorous work routine on the colony’s settlers and while their “hammerours” were bringing devastation and terror to the Powhatans, the company’s fortunes at home had badly declined.”
  • How did circumstances and events change in London and Virginia that altered the situations for the colonists in Virginia
  • Who was John Rolfe
  • Describe the evolution of tobacco agriculture in early Virginia during the Jamestown period
  • Explain and Expand: “At that point the company entered its final phase, which for a few short years seemed to be leading to the brilliant success so long delayed. But it was a false dawn that led to another dark passage of bloodshed and terror—which might have been predicted.”

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