Social Studies 5: Jamestown

Those settlers in Jamestown really should have settled down with all that land-stealing. Tobacco's bad for you anyway.

5th GradeSocial Studies
Elementary and Middle School5th Grade
LanguageEnglish Language

Transcript

00:32

All those things sound great. But forget about them.

00:36

The real settlers? All they craved was American tobacco. [Settler man coughs and woman appears]

00:39

Seriously. Nicotine is one heck of a drug. As more and more settlers came from England

00:45

to Jamestown in Virginia, the new communities demanded more tobacco. And in order to grow [Settlers protesting for more tobacco]

00:50

more tobacco, the colony needed more land.

00:53

And what do you do when you're a European settler living in America and you need more

00:56

land? You take it, obviously! It’s the American way. [Settlers holding guns and man runs away]

01:00

…And no, that doesn't mean it was the right way. Don't try to move into your neighbor's

01:03

home tonight, just 'cause they have a pool. As you can imagine, the people having their [Boy in a swimming pool]

01:07

land stolen from them weren’t too happy about it. This led to a bunch of conflicts

01:12

between the Virginia Colony and local Native Americans, it was called the Anglo-Powhatan

01:17

Wars.

01:17

And what did that lead to? Besides, you know, death and destruction and all those terrible

01:22

side effects of war?

01:23

Well, the Native American tribes in the area were pushed away, and the settlers built a [Native American man walks away]

01:27

six-mile-long fence made of tree trunks called a palisade to protect Jamestown

01:32

and other nearby settlements.

01:33

…not quite the “white picket” fence we associate with the American dream. [Man cooking barbecue in garden]

01:37

Anyway, though thousands of people migrated to the Virginia Colony before it turned 30,

01:42

even they weren't enough to do all the work needed to grow the tobacco.

01:45

Though maybe they wouldn’t have needed so many people to grow tobacco if some of them

01:49

would just quit smoking… Just a thought.

01:52

So instead of growing the tobacco themselves, the Europeans came up with the idea of bringing [European sailing a ship]

01:55

over slaves from Africa to do the work for them, because apparently that’s easier than

01:59

chewing some gum, or quitting cold turkey, or something.

02:02

In fact, the Europeans wanted tobacco so badly that they would actually give land in the [A sign for free land nailed down]

02:07

Americas away to rich Europeans, so long as they paid for servants or slaves to come along

02:12

with them.

02:13

That's right – tobacco was as valuable to them as that land that they worked so hard

02:18

to steal.

02:19

If you’re thinking “these guys sound kind of like jerks and their behavior doesn’t

02:22

make any sense at all…” you’re right.

02:25

And now you know why your parents don’t want you to bother them before they’ve had [Boy and Father sit down for breakfast]

02:28

their morning coffee.

02:29

Because caffeine can be an addiction, too, guys. Now where'd we put our fourth cup of

02:33

coffee…?