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Study Notes

Failure in Virginia

Level:
GCSE
Board:
AQA, Edexcel, OCR

Last updated 22 Jul 2017

The attempt to colonise Virginia in 1585-86 failed. It failed for four key reasons. Firstly is the voyage itself. When setting sail, the voyage left England too late to be able to plant crops in Virginia as it wasn’t the right season to do this. Secondly the colonists were taken ill which weakened their ability to build a new life. Finally and perhaps crucially the Tiger which had the supplies onboard was ruined meaning that the colonists had a lack of supplies.

Secondly, the colonists themselves are to blame for the failure in Virginia. When Raleigh had recruited them he had recruited a poor mix of people with the wrong skills. As a result they did not have the skills required to build a new life. The colonists lacked farmers but had many craftsmen who were not appropriately skilled to farm and produce crops. As a result those who arrived in Virginia could not set up a new life.

Thirdly, and linked to the second reason is inexperience. The colonists who were chosen had no experience of establishing colonies and in most cases had never left England before. As a result many mistakes were made when they were establishing Virginia.

The final reason for failure was the resistance that the colonists encountered with the Native Americans. The Native Americans did not trust and were naturally suspicious of the English who demanded too much of them. As a result of this, there was conflict and fighting between the English colonists and the Native Americans.

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