The war raged in the coming years with unspeakable brutality committed by both sides. Ignorant settlers were dotted with arrows. Children of defeated tribes drowned in the James River. Despite the early promise of success, there were already signs of danger. In the summer and fall, many settlers began to become ill and die. In part, we now know that illness and death were caused by the siege of Jamestown in a very swampy, malignant place. In addition, many settlers had brought typhoid and dysentery (what people called the “bloody river”), which became an epidemic because the settlers did not understand basic hygiene. In addition, Jamestown`s water supply was contaminated by both human waste and seawater. When the English settlers arrived in the spring of 1607, Virginia was inhabited on the coast by the Powhatan Indians, an Algonquian-speaking people. The Powhatans consisted of 30 tribal groups with a total population of about 14,000, under the control of Wahunsonacock, sometimes also called “Powhatan”. In 1616, the Rolfes and their grandson Thomas went to England to recruit new settlers for Virginia. While there, Pocahontas had a brief meeting with John Smith, whom she did not know was still alive, and told him that she would be “forever and forever your Grafrieman.” When the Rolfes began their return journey to Virginia, Pocahontas fell ill and died in March 1617 in Gravesend, England.
John Rolfe sailed to Virginia, where he had been appointed secretary of the colony, but left Thomas in England with relatives. Thomas Rolfe returned to Virginia in the 1630s. By this time Powhatan and John Rolfe had died, and peace with the Indians had been broken in 1622 by a bloody insurrection led by Uncle Opechancanough of Pocahontas. As a child, Pocahontas probably helped her mother with her daily tasks and learned what was expected of her as a woman in Powhatan Society. Even a chef`s daughter should work when she reaches maturity. On December 16, 1606, ships of the London Company sailed from England to establish a colony in Virginia. The so-called settlers arrived at Chesapeake Bay in April 1607. There were 105 men on board, including 40 soldiers, 35 “gentlemen” and various craftsmen and workers. And the English seemed so harmless at first. Without the good nature of the powhatan people, English settlers would never have survived their first seasons in the New World. Good relations with these new inhabitants could help forge a powerful alliance.
Although the evidence is skewed in his favour, there are few questions that Captain John Smith saved Jamestown. He organized the settlers and forced them to work productively. He was also able to trade with the natives for food; When they hesitate to act, he took what he needed and acidified his relations with the natives. Although Smith soon returned to England, his settlers and others pushed the London Company to change some of its methods. In essence, it codified Smith`s dictatorial regime by giving much more authority to the colonial governor. With the reorganization of the colony under Sir Edwin Sandys, a liberal rural policy led to the fragmentation of the English colonies along the James River. Increased tobacco cultivation required more land (tobacco having been devastated in three or four years) and the removal of woodland to prepare land for planting. The expansion of the English colonies meant more intervention in Indian operations and a little more contact with the Indians. It also left settlers more vulnerable to attack. At that time, the Indian fully understood what England`s continued presence in Virginia meant – more plantations, the logging of other forests, the killing of more game overall, a greater threat to their way of life. Similarly, the self-proclaimed humanitarian efforts of people like George Thorpe, who wanted to convert Indian children to Christianity through education, did not help any more.