Colonial Virginiaby William H. Harkins, Susan Sales Harkins
In 1606, 105 men left England for Virginia. They were adventurers hoping to get rich. Most died, but the English kept coming. Land and opportunity were worth the risks of death from disease, starvation, or hostile natives. By 1621, Jamestown had 1,200 settlers. Women and slaves turned the tide, providing stability and free labor. By the middle of the century, small farmers were pushing west and everyone was growing tobacco. Large plantations dotted the riverbanks and a new aristocracy of landowners ran the colony. One hundred and seventy years after the English founded Jamestown, Virginians led the charge for independence. Patrick Henry's words fanned the flame of freedom, Thomas Jefferson penned the Declaration of Independence, and George Washington commanded the patriot army that defeated England.
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