Friday, October 15, 2010

Jamestown Settlement -- What We Learned This Week

We have learned a lot about the history of Jamestown settlement this week:
Three hundred years ago,the English wanted to create a settlement in the Americas.  They knew about all the gold and silver that the Spanish had been bringing back from the New World and were determined to gather some of these riches themselves. They financed a trip with three ships to sail to the New World, to Virginia.

More than 100 men and boys crossed the Atlantic Ocean.  Many of these men were quite wealthy and hoped to amass a great fortune in gold.
The settlers had to bring all of their supplies -- everything they would need to survive in the 'untamed wilderness' called Virginia.  These supplies were brought over in the hold of the three small ships.
Their journey took about five months.

At first the settlers slept on the ships or in tents.  Soon they set about building homes to live in, a church, armory and other structures. But the building process was slow as the wealthy men did not help as much as they should have. 
One day, a band of painted Indian warriors attacked the colonists with bows and arrows.  One boy was killed and several men were wounded.  The colonists then started building a palisade, a very tall fence, to protect them if another attack occurred.

We got to see the inside of many of the buildings including the church, the armory, the warehouse, blacksmith's shop and more.
The colonists faced a lot of hardship. They faced starvation and illness. Many colonists died.  John Smith faced his own trials as he was captured by the Powhatan Indians(but was saved by the Indian chief's daughter, Pocahontas).  Upon his release, relationships with the Indians improved and the Indians even brought food in the winter that saved the starving colonists.
The kids saw how hard everyone had to work. In the end, Jamestown became prosperous not from gold (they didn't find any), but from growing tobacco.
The kids tried on the armor, which was very, very heavy!

If you are looking for a good book about the history of Jamestown settlement, I found this book just fabulous for LD (and for the early elementary grades).  It is full of rich history details (for example, when John Smith became President at Jamestown, he made the colonists work hard.  If a colonist cursed, he had cold water poured down his sleeve!)
This is a coloring book, though we're not using it in that way. It provided rich pictures for LD to look at as I read the history of Jamestown. It is called A Children's Color Book of Jamestown in Virginia by Priscilla Hunt.
I'll share a few other children's books in another post that have really made our studies of Jamestown come alive for the kids.

1 comment:

  1. Great and very interesting posting. Thank you very much for sharing your learning and trip.