Spain was becoming increasingly richer and richer from the wealth of the new world and the Europeans, seeing the abundant benefits that were being reaped by the Spanish, wanted a settlement in the new world. Merchants, in London, paid for expeditions to Virginia on the east coast of Spanish Florida. They hoped to make money trading with the Native Americans and building settlements. When the first batch of settlers set foot on American soil, they surveyed a land, not overflowing with riches, but swampy, mosquito-infested and filled with malicious natives who did not want to be exploited.
The Europeans eventually built a settlement and named it after king lames the first. In Jamestown, as the settlement was named, food was kept in herculean storehouses and then distributed to all of the settlers equally. Unfortunately, the people soon discovered that this system of distribution resulted in laziness from the apathetic workers. Many people weren’t willing to work and the food began to run out. Then Capitan John Smith cooly stepped in and took charge. He constructed a new rule which permitted those who worked hard to receive food while not allowing those who didn’t work to obtain food. This rule worked until Capitan John Smith suffered a detrimental injury and was required to return to England. With the food stores gone, the winter of 1609-1610 was a bleak time for the settlers. The Europeans were forced to eat rats, mice and even there own dogs.
The Virginia Company did not give up on the new world. They impatiently offered 50 or more acres of land in America to anyone who would work for them for 7 years. The poor people of London jumped at the chance to start a new life so they became indentured servants. Between 1610 and 1622 over 9000 people made the perilous journey to the new world. The Virginia Co. discovered that tobacco, which was called the “Jovial Weed”, flourished in America. But tobacco required copious amounts of work and the indentured servants were taken advantage of. Only one in twenty servants ended up procuring the land that was promised to them. Because of the hard work of the Indentured servants, Jamestown became the first permanent settlement in the new world. Although, most of them died of dysentery, malaria, and mistreatment.