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Medical Ethics

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Jean Habermehl

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Jamestown Settlement Virginia


In 1606 CE, 144 men and boys sponsored by the Virginia Company boarded 3 ships, the Susan Constant, the Discovery, and the Godspeed and sailed to the Americas in hopes of finding the same success the Spaniards discovered, especially in their discovery of gold. They sailed past the Canary Islands, through the Caribbean, and reached the new world of what is now the Common Wealth of Virginia. It was a long journey, and along the way 40 men perished and the original settlement began with 104 men. Interestingly, the names of the leaders of the settlement and the inland location of the settlement were sealed by the Virginia Company, and not to be opened until arrival at the settlement. The men were told to find an area that would provide defense from other invaders. From the Chesapeake Bay they traveled slightly up the James River to "James Towne" named in honor of King James I. During the voyage to the Americas, Captain John Smith, was charged with mutiny by Captain Christopher Newport and was scheduled to be hanged upon arrival at the colony. His life was spared when the seal of orders from the Virginia Company was broken it was discovered, Captain Smith had been chosen by the Virginia Company to be on the original governing council. The place where the men landed was marshy and the water not drinkable. They also encountered attacks from the near by Native American Indians. Most of the original settlers died. In speaking with the tour guide, the average life expectancy of the settlers was 14 months. After arriving at the settlement, the men struggled to quickly erect a church, a storage house, and living quarters. They struggled for survival in the harsh conditions of the marshy area. The settlement was thought to collapse until a man by the name of John Rolfe brought tobacco seeds from Trinidad to grow at the settlement. The plants produced a sweet tobacco that became an excellent cash crop for the settlers. The English settlers wore armored hats and vests to protect themselves from the bows of the Indians. When fully "geared" the weight of all of their equipment was approximately 35 pounds. The men struggled to produce enough food to sustain the settlement. They needed the help of the local Indians, and the local Indians wanted the metals and weapons of the settlers. They would trade, but relations were constantly tense. The English settlers used muskets as weapons. Demonstrating how to fire a musket at the Jamestown village, our guide informed us it would take an excellent marksman at least 20 seconds to load his gun. For this reason, the English would line up in ranks to fight. The first row would arm themselves, and when ordered fire their weapons. After firing, they would move to the back of the ranks as the next row had loaded and moved forward. The Indians were no match to the English musket as well as the English diseases. There were only men at the settlement, and after a year of low moral, it was decided to allow women to journey to America to help with the on-goings of the settlement. Eventually, the settlement grew. It was surrounded by a high fence, with armory at every corner. The buildings were made of wood and mud, and the roofs of the buildings were either thatch or oak shingled. Fires were of great concern to the settlement as well. Supplies would come from England, and the men built barracks and storage houses for weapons and food. The Governor of the settlement had the nicest house, and was given a special seat in the church. Eventually, the settlement grew and what was considered the first English colony in America was eventually relocated to Williamsburg Virginia.

The Powhatan (pronounced pow-a-tin) tribes did not inhabit the island at Jamestown, but were located nearby. Chief



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