In 1607 King James of England issued a royal charter to colonize America. They built a fort around the Chesapeake Bay and named it Jamestown in honor of their king. The region of the Chesapeake they were settling on was already home to over 20,000 Algonquian Indians. Their leader, Powhatan, immediately confronted the new English settlers asking them to establish an alliance. Powhatan believed that he could stat a valuable trade with the English and also help support them as they begin to settle.
The Jamestown colony began to go down hill, they started to rely so much on the Algonquians for supply’s that they became unable to support themselves. Jamestown became so dependent on the Algonquian stores that John Smith and his men went out and attacked and raided other surrounding Indian villages for food and other supply’s. Powhatan realized that al the English came for was to invade and take their land, not to trade with them. So Powhatan decided to starve the colonists. During the winter 1609-1610 large amounts of colonists in the Jamestown settlement starved and a number of them resorted to cannibalism.
Out of the 900 colonists that had been sent to Virginia to settle it, only 60 remained. The English however were determined to keep the colony going. The Virginia company sent more men, women, children, and livestock to the Jamestown colony. This time they were prepared to fight Powhatan and his tribe. Because the new colonists were prepared to fight and to help themselves with farming and trading they turned the colony’s failure to success. In 1613 the colonists had firm control over the areas between the James and York rivers.
The Algonquin Indians were so rundown from all the warfare and disease, they became forced to sign a peace treaty with the English. The English now started to grow bigger and bigger. They introduced tobacco production. This became a very merchantable commodity. The English started out relying on the Indians to do everything for them, and they became so used to it, so that they couldn’t do anything for themselves. This lead to the collapse of their colony. But they were not ready to lose their colony. They sent in more people ad livestock, this time they were prepared to fight and support themselves. This lead them to success as a colony.