In December 1606, three ships carrying 144 passengers and crew sailed from London bound for a land that had already claimed more than its share of English lives. In May of the following year, little more than 100 men would disembark to settle on a small peninsula in the James River. Eight months later, only 38 men were still alive in the fort they had named Jamestown. Jamestown is well known as the first permanent English settlement in the New World; largely unknown is how fragile that permanence was. Most Americans have a general awareness of the dangers faced on any frontier, but not the particular hardships that confronted the Jamestown colonists―starvation, disease, conspiracy, incompetent leaders, and, of course, intermittent war with the neighboring Native Americans.
Author: Ed Southern