May 14 commemorates the landing of English colonists to what would become Jamestown, the first English settlement in the New World, in 1607. Tampa Bay Times said on May 12 that this marks the 409th anniversary of the Jamestown landing. Here are free printable American history lessons on the Jamestown settlement and its settlers. The story starts back in England. The year is 1606. King James I of England grants a charter (document giving permission to do something) to the Virginia Company. The Virginia Company owned merchant boats that traded with other nations. The Virginia Company merchants had heard that there were riches in the New World. The company sponsored (paid for) a group of 104 entrepreneurs (people who start businesses) to go to the New World to start a settlement for trade.Visit the links for free printable American history lessons on the Virginia Compnay and its preservation.
On May 14, 1607, after a difficult ocean voyage the settlers landed in the Chesapeake area of North America. They named the establishment they founded Jamestown in honor of King James. Unfortunately most Virginia Company travelers were men and gentlemen at that. Gentlemen didn't mean what it means today--really nice guys. It meant they didn't do manual labor. They were accustomed to having servants do their work. Not only did the settlers know very little about farming and homesteading, they didn't want to spend their time doing those boring farm jobs. They wanted to hunt for the gold and treasure.
However there was work to be done. The Jamestown settlers needed to find a safe place to set up camp. The Jamestown settlers needed to build shelter from the harsh weather and wild animals. They had to learn about local wildlife, to hunt and forage for survival. They had to plant crops for food. The Jamestown settlers were pretty much clueless about how to do any of those things. They also had do deal with unpleasant things like being shot at by Spanish ships. They were attacked by Algonquin Native American Indians who saw them as a threat. The Jamestown settlers weren't farmers nor soldiers. They were helpless.
Imagine the headaches for their leader Captain John Smith! Here are free printable American history lessons showing all the things the Jamestown settlers had to deal with. In fairness to everyone in the Jamestown settlement, Captain John Smith made a rule; "If a man will not work, he will not eat." You can play a settlement simulation game using the free printable American history lessons at National Geographic Kids to learn how Captain John Smith organized the work. Finally, the settlers managed to build a small small fort surrounded by a wooden palisade (wall). It helped that thePowhatan Indians helped the Jamestown settlers by trading food for tools and beads. Chief Powhatan's daughter Pocahontas befriended Captain John Smith and brought the settlers food. But when Captain John Smith returned to England in 1609 for treatment of a leg injury, Pocahontas ceased to visit. The Jamestown settlement suffered through the "Starving Time" that winter. Only 60 of the original settlers survived. When Captain John Smith returned on 38 of the 104 were left. Visit the links for free printable American history lessons on the Jamestown settlers' relationships with various native American Indian groups.