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Settling in Virginia as a Chance to Improve the Colonists' Way of Life

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Out of the 13 original colonies, the Virginia Colony might just be the one that offered the most opportunities for settlers/colonist wanting to leave their homeland. These colonists have many different motives for leaving everything behind, but some had no choice as their economy was getting worse. Other settlers such as Pilgrims and Puritans wanted to be able to practice religious beliefs freely. Thankfully Virginia offered these needs and so much more, with its unique geographical feature’s colonist were able to grow plants, crops and cultivate tobacco that would maintain them, weather that was through their supply or the profits they made off of them. The Virginia Colony provided chances to better yet colonist/settlers lifestyles.

In hopes of advancing their fortunes and increasing the power of England, wealthy gentleman from southwestern England including Sir Walter Raleigh, English patriots, and devout Protestants promised to an American colony they would solve England’s issues. These conflicts included growing population, increasing poverty, and a stagnant economy. Their suggestion was to send the poor people across the Atlantic to work in a new colony. They thought through mining for gold and silver plus raising plantation crops, the workers would provide a new income for England. But the English weren’t the only ones that wished to escape their homeland, the Pilgrims as well as Puritans wanted to come to America in hopes of freedom from religious persecution.

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Luckily, Virginia had just the right things to offer, when colonist proceeded to Chesapeake Bay, they saw there were many good harbors, fertile land and navigable rivers. The only conflict was the Native Americans but even then, colonist worked there way around and eventually founded a new settlement with other opportunities and named it Jamestown. Moving forward to 1616 the Virginia Company allowed colonist to own and work land as their private property, this motivated the colonists to work harder to grow corn, squash, and beans that guaranteed their survival. Staying with 1616, colonist also learned how to cultivate tobacco, and because these tobacco plants needed a long, hot and humid growing season, Virginia was just the right place. The Chesapeake region became the main supplier if tobacco in Europe, so its profits attracted more immigrants to Virginia. Fast forward to 1619 the Virginia Company offered free land under the headright system and that same year allowed the planters to create the House of Burgesses, aka the first representative body in colonial America.

As one may see, the Virginia colony most certainly offered many new opportunities to those who arrived, but it did have its downsides. As colonist continued to expand their tobacco plantations, they had no option but to take more land from the Indians. In 1622, Opechancanough led a surprise attack burning plantations and killing nearly a third of the colonist, but this wasn’t the last of it. As colonists further expanded, yet another war broke out in 1644 between the Indians, killing hundreds of colonists and thousands of Indians including Opechancanough. Skipping forward to 1676 Virginia settlers and supporters (led by Nathaniel Bacon) marched to Jamestown and forced Berkeley into giving permission to continue his campaigns against Native Americans. Bacon eventually gained control of Jamestown but died suddenly, without his leadership the rebellion died down.

In conclusion, as colonist left their homeland due to growing population, poverty, along with a stagnant economy they found new opportunities through the Virginia Colony. The Chesapeake Bay offered good harbors, fertile land and navigable rivers. Meanwhile the Virginia Company allowed colonist to own and work land as their private property, offered free land under the headright system, and allowed planters to create the House of Burgesses. Not to mention colonist could grow crops that would guarantee their survival such as corn, squash, and beans, and most importantly cultivate tobacco which made a lot of profit. So, settling in Virginia wouldn’t be such a bad idea after all.

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Settling in Virginia as a Chance to Improve the Colonists’ Way of Life. (2022, September 01). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 5, 2023, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/settling-in-virginia-as-a-chance-to-improve-the-colonists-way-of-life/
“Settling in Virginia as a Chance to Improve the Colonists’ Way of Life.” Edubirdie, 01 Sept. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/settling-in-virginia-as-a-chance-to-improve-the-colonists-way-of-life/
Settling in Virginia as a Chance to Improve the Colonists’ Way of Life. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/settling-in-virginia-as-a-chance-to-improve-the-colonists-way-of-life/> [Accessed 5 Feb. 2023].
Settling in Virginia as a Chance to Improve the Colonists’ Way of Life [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Sept 01 [cited 2023 Feb 5]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/settling-in-virginia-as-a-chance-to-improve-the-colonists-way-of-life/
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