Lasting Legacies Essay

Submitted By oonaboon
Words: 1345
Pages: 6

Lasting Legacies

Today the United States of America can be considered as one of the world’s most influential countries. Now, how did it get to be this way? Well, our country has been built upon the contributions of many different cultures and nations. It is through these contributions that the U.S. has become the diverse and unified country it is today. Prior to the American Revolution there were several different contributions made in the shaping of our country. Through the introduction of agriculture from the Native Americans and through the institution of slavery in the first colonies, a social and economic construction was built in our surfacing nation. These contributions are still evident in our present day American society and can even be considered as lasting legacies. The Native American’s provided colonial America with an economic contribution through the introduction of agriculture. It was May of 1607 when the first colonists settled in Jamestown. Upon arriving they built a wooden fort in a triangular shape containing a church, several houses, and a warehouse for weapons and other supplies. By that summer the colony was faced with hardships such as hunger, disease and potential attacks from the neighboring Algonquian tribes. By early 1608, however, John Smith, a captain and leader of the Jamestown colony, had come to an understanding with the Powhatan Indians where a very necessary trade was established. The Native American’s often traded corn for beads, tools, and other objects from the colonists, who would depend on this trade in the first years of their settlement. In 1609 the colony faced a harsh winter with starvation, illness, malnutrition and chaos. Many “roamed the woods for nuts and berries, dug up graves to eat the corpses, and died in batches until five hundred colonists were reduced to sixty” (Drawing The Color Line, 24). After that winter when all hope had been lost for the remaining settlers and they were just about ready to give up, a new ship came in with more colonists and supplies. In the years to follow, though still on hostile terms with each other, the colonists were able to pick up on certain aspects and techniques from the Algonquian tribes. “…By the fall of 1611 had managed to harvest a decent crop of corn themselves. They had also learned other valuable techniques from the Algonquians, including how to insulate their dwellings against the weather using tree bark, and expanded Jamestown into a New Town to the east of the original fort”(Jamestown Colony, 2). In 1614 John Rolfe and Pocahontas, daughter of Chief Powhatan, were married. This established a somewhat peaceful truce between the two peoples and through the launch of John Rolfe’s tobacco seed and the techniques and knowledge of the land from the Native Americans, the colonists were able to grow and harvest a successful tobacco crop that eventually led to a thriving economy. Without the Native American’s techniques and knowledge of the land, it is evident that the colony of Jamestown would not have survived and would not have established such a thriving economy based off these agricultural aspects. Geography played a key role in the introduction of agriculture to the colonists. Being that the colonists had just arrived to the New World, they did not particularly know the land and how to cultivate it. Now being that the Native Americans had been inhabiting this land for quite some time, they knew how to work the land to their advantages. Many of the tribes located around that area were near various rivers and water sources making the earth fertile and a good place to grow healthy crops. Though the English brought their own seeds to plant, the Native Americans also introduced them to many crops specific to the land of the New World such as maize, pumpkins, corn and many fall and winter crops that helped them survive the brutal winters. With the fertile land, new crops and techniques that the English had obtained, they were