The Starving Time

The Jamestown colonists had endured much before winter 1609, but nothing could have prepared them for what they were about to endure.

John Smith’s departure, Powhatan’s declaration of war, George Percy’s incompetence, as well as the foolish communistic structure that the Virginia Company employed doomed those who made the journey across the Atlantic.

It was just a matter of time before catastrophe struck, and when it finally did come, it came all at once.

Approximately 300 colonists began enduring the most severe hardships imaginable, then they began doing the unthinkable. Then they died.

In the end more than 240 did not make it to the end, which came in May 1610, when the Sea Venture survivors finally started sailing up the James River.

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Many died during the Starving Time, and were buried within the walls of James Fort, as the Preservation Virginia Archaeologists have discovered

Sources:

Berhnard, Virginia. A Tale of Two Colonies: What Really Happened in Virginia and Bermuda? Columbia, MO: University of Missouri, 2011.

Billings, Warren M.; Selby, John E.; and Tate, Thad W. Colonial Virginia: A History. White Plains, NY: KTO Press. 1986.

Dabney, Virginius. Virginia: The New Dominion, A History from 1607 to the Present. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1971.

Deans, Bob. The River Where America Began: A Journey Along the James. Plymouth, UK: Rowan and Littlefield, 2009.

Doherty, Kieran. Sea Venture: Shipwreck, Survival, and the Salvation of Jamestown. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2008.

Firstbrook, Peter. A Man Most Driven: Captain John Smith, Pocahontas, and the Founding of America. London: Oneworld Publications, 2014.

Glover, Lorri and Smith, Daniel Blake. The Shipwreck that Saved Jamestown: The Sea Venture Castaways and the Fate of America.

Horn, James. A Land as God Made It: Jamestown and the Birth of America. New York: Basic Books, 2005.

Hume, Ivor Noel. Here Lies Virginia. New York: Alfred Knopf, 1963.

Hume, Ivor Noel. The Virginia Adventure: Roanoke to James Towne – An Archaeological and Historical OdysseyNew York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1994.

Kelso, William M. Jamestown: The Buried Truth. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 2006.

Kupperman, Karen Ordhal. Apathy and Death in Early Jamestown The Journal of American History, Vol. 66, No. 1 (Jun., 1979), pp. 24-40

Kupperman, Karen Ordhal. Captain John Smith: A Select Edition of His Writings. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press published for the Omohundro Institute, 1988.

Kupperman, Karen Ordhal. The Jamestown Project. Cambridge, MA: The Belknapp Press of Harvard University Press, 2007.

Mapp, Alfred J. Virginia Experiment: The Old Dominion’s Role in the Making of America, 1607-1781Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, Inc., 2006.

Price, David A. Love and Hate in Jamestown: John Smith, Pocahontas, and the Start of a New NationNew York: Vintage, 2003.

Rothbard, Murray N. Conceived in Liberty. Auburn, AL: Ludwig Von Mises Institute, 1999.

Rountree, Helen C. Powhatan Foreign Relations: 1500-1722.Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1993.

Rountree, Helen C. Pocahontas, Powhatan, Opechancanough: Three Indian Lives Changed by Jamestown. Charlottesville, VA: UVA Press, 2005.

Smith, John. The Generall History of Virginia. 1624.

Wallenstein, Peter. Cradle of America: Four Centuries of Virginia History. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2007.

Williams, Tony. The Jamestown Experiment: The Remarkable Story of The Enterprising Colony and the Unexpected Results that Shaped America. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks, 2011.

Wooley, Benjamin. Savage Kingdom: The True Story of Jamestown, 1607, and the Settlement of America. New York: Harper and Collins, 2007.

Historic Jamestowne

Virtual Jamestown

Virginia History Podcast Store

Jane and Her Discovery

 

All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author unless otherwise noted. The featured image is the the famous discovery of Jane, the teenage girl who succumbed to cannibalism during the Starving time. The second picture is of the many graves found within James Fort that date back to 1607.

Music used for this episode – Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers,”Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” available on iTunes, and “The Ghosts that We Knew” by Mumford and Sons, also available on iTunes.

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