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Both Americans and English thus came to the founding of Jamestown with some knowledge and some assumptions about the other. The English had been taught to think of the Americans as accomplished people living in highly developed societies. It was the Indians' accomplishments that made colonization feasible in English eyes. They knew they would rely on native crops for their food and they hoped for native products to be obtained in trade to pay their costs.
Moreover, the advanced nature of Indian societies was the best indicator of the land's potential. Had the people on it been very primitive, that would have meant the land was poor. Powhatan and his Pamunkeys saw the new English settlement as an opportunity, one that they could exploit skillfully. They knew the Europeans as edgy, rapacious, and somewhat incompetent.
Captain John Smith, one of the leaders of the Jamestown colony, was told that Powhatan had inherited the overlordship of six tribes and had conquered others; in he had over thirty tribes among his clients.
Because he ruled over other rulers, the colonists called him an emperor. Not only had he conquered tribes around the Chesapeake, but his Pamunkeys and their allies had strictly controlled relationships with Europeans in the bay. Powhatan whose given name was Wahunsonacock saw no reason why he could not control the straggling Jamestown colonists and turn their presence to his own uses. Powhatan was prepared to allow the English to settle along the James River because Indians throughout the region valued the manufactured trade goods they brought from across the Atlantic.
Metal tools that could hold an edge were especially highly prized; they enhanced farming, hunting, and warfare without dramatically changing traditional modes. Copper kettles also made life easier. Glass beads had spiritual significance to Americans and were incorporated into native worship systems. They also showed up as status symbols among Indian elites. Just as aristocrats in Europe wanted American gold, pearls and furs for fine beaver hats to enhance their elegance and status, so American leaders wore glass beads and copper ornaments of European origins.
For chiefs like Powhatan the coming of Europeans and their trade goods meant becoming middlemen between the settlements on the coast and tribes farther inland, a role that offered greatly enhanced authority. For this reason, he wanted the English to settle where they would be dependent on him and he could keep a constant watch on them. As he looked at Jamestown, Powhatan surely thought that the English would need American support perpetually. The hundred or so settlers in the first contingent knew little about farming and found the environment baffling.
As Captain John Smith admitted, "Now although there be Deer in the woods, Fish in the rivers, and Fowls in abundance in their seasons; yet the woods are so wide, the rivers so broad, and the beasts so wild, and we so unskillful to catch them, we little troubled them nor they us.
The Virginia Company of London directed that military drill be conducted where the Indians could not witness it, "for if they See Your Learners miss what they aim at they will think the Weapon not so terrible. Despite their inexperience and weakness, the English expected to dominate the Indians. From the beginning the Virginia Company wrote that the relationship would inevitably become hostile: Smith would seize a child hostage as his men entered a village because he believed that weakness led to bloodshed, and all leaders used threats to force reluctant tribes to provide food.
Smith said these policies earned Powhatan's respect, and he certainly admired Powhatan's strategic and tactical acumen. The two men and the forces they commanded settled into a wary truce in the early years. After Smith left the colony in , less experienced leaders took over and the relationship deteriorated into outright war punctuated by extreme acts of vengeance. Some people on both sides entered into different kinds of relationships. Several English boys, including Henry Spelman, were left with Indian tribes in order to learn the language and the culture.
Jamestown was settled by Captain John Smith, and was named after King James I. Tobacco was the main export of Jamestown, and became the basis of the Jamestown economy, sending more than 50, lbs of the plan back to Europe by (textbook 46).
Jamestown Essays, Timelines & Images; Jamestown Essays, Timelines & Images Choose essays, timelines & images from our large selection of Jamestown-related topics below. Essays. Cultures. Cultures at Jamestown – Explore the interactions of three cultures that came together in 17th-century Virginia.
Jamestown Essay 2 Pages. Words. Jamestown offered more opportunity to colonists than Massachusetts Bay Colony by allowing more than one religion, more workers rights, and freedom of speech. Jamestown settlers had a charter from England guaranteeing the rights of settlers, as they would have had it in England. Free Essay: Jamestown In June of , King James granted a charter to a group of London entrepreneurs, the Virginia Company, to establish an English.
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