What if: Jamestown was destroyed

SpitfireV

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I am reading a book about the Royal Navy and it mentioned a little bit about Jamestown, which as I understand it was the first major English settlement in the US (after a couple of failed tries elsewhere).

The question I pose is: If Jamestown had been taken and destroyed during one of the attacks, what would this have meant for the future US? Would there have even been a US? Would North America be a mix of a Spanish and French colony?

Thought it might be an interesting discussion.
 

Dame

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The folks at Jamestown had pretty well given up by 1610. They were calling it quits when the second group arrived with provisions. The group that arrived under James I's second charter were there to back up those left but also to make money, and it had a stronger contingent of leaders. The introduction of tobacco in 1613 probably did even more to solidify Jamestown's establishment. Had the second group not arrived before the first had left/disappeared, I'm not sure it would have made a difference. It might have been just another Roanoke.

All that aside, the Puritan/Quaker migration (also known as the Great Migration) from 1620-1640 would still have happened. Salem became quite the hub.
 

SpitfireV

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Thanks for the reply. Off to research. I find that period of your history really quite interesting.
 

SpitfireV

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I don't think the research will get that serious :D but thanks anyway!

Amazing that he can trace it back so far. Supposedly on Mum's side we're related to James Cook but there's no evidence, just hearsay. I like it though :p
 

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The folks at Jamestown had pretty well given up by 1610. They were calling it quits when the second group arrived with provisions. The group that arrived under James I's second charter were there to back up those left but also to make money, and it had a stronger contingent of leaders. The introduction of tobacco in 1613 probably did even more to solidify Jamestown's establishment. Had the second group not arrived before the first had left/disappeared, I'm not sure it would have made a difference. It might have been just another Roanoke.

Pretty close. I'd go check out A Brave Vessel which has a great recap of those efforts and also ties in how Shakespeare heavily based the Tempest, when he didn't plagiarize, on the writings of the company secretary, William Strachey.

http://www.amazon.com/Brave-Vessel-Castaways-Jamestown-ShakespearesThe/dp/0670020966

Wiki has decent write-ups of the whole thing:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_Venture
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_Supply
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Strachey

Os to the OP: Great Post. My personal take, drawing from what little I remember, is that England would still pursue a colony in N. America. A failure at Jamestown would obviously delay this and that would allow the French and Spanish some breathing room. Spain was already pushing missionaries north from St. Augustine and had established quite the little network along the coast up to modern day South Carolina. Without Jamestown that march north would continue. Meanwhile the French would have the Mississippi basin north to Hudson Bay without any worry from English. Native tribes could be a wildcard here. If Spain and France could befriend them enough to turn them against the English ("Hey, we're the good white guys. Go get your kill on.") then future UK settlements would have a much harder time of surviving.

Against all of this I'd have to go dig into European history at that point to see if it offsets any of my wild ass theories. :) I've never pondered this question. Nicely done.
 

Dame

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Pretty close. I'd go check out A Brave Vessel which has a great recap of those efforts and also ties in how Shakespeare heavily based the Tempest, when he didn't plagiarize, on the writings of the company secretary, William Strachey.

http://www.amazon.com/Brave-Vessel-Castaways-Jamestown-ShakespearesThe/dp/0670020966

Wiki has decent write-ups of the whole thing:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_Venture
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_Supply
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Strachey

Yup, great story. The Sea Venture was wrecked in Bermuda and two other ships (Patience and Deliverance) were built. When those two arrived in Virginia, they found only 60 colonists left. They all decided to board the ships and head back to England. The group that arrived just after that on June 10 (and I don't know any of the ship's names) carried Baron de la Warr (Delaware) as a new governor and (according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_West,_3rd_Baron_De_La_Warr) 150 men to help re-build. They literally stopped the Patience and Deliverance from taking everyone home.
 

Pathfinder84

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As a lay genealogist, I find this a topic of particular interest as my Mother's family is suspected to have landed at Jamestown off of the Susan Constant. The surname Bragg has been linked all of the way back and there are reports that my GGGG++Grandfather married a/the daughter of Captain Christopher Newport. I have read multiple substantiating documentation...but there are still plenty of rocks in the road. However...to get back on topic, I don't think the failure of the Jamestown settlement would have been the final attempt at settling the south Atlantic coast...but as Freefalling mentioned above...a delay would have occurred. After all, it took 17 years after the discovery that the Roanoake Colony had failed before the establishment of Jamestown...another 17 years could have resulted in a serious change in dynamics. However, there was a lot of coastline between Jamestown and Plymouth Rock and I find it inconceivable that England would totally abandon the idea of a permanent settlement...even if it meant an occupation by force at some point.
 

Dame

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But you have to remember the circumstances that led to the long lag of checking on Roanoke. The Spanish were intent on getting there before the English in order to destroy it, but never made it for the same reasons the English didn't; war being chief among them.

The folks at Jamestown who were left had two fleets (or what was left of those fleets) arrive within months of each other and both were English. Not that I don't think there would have been a lapse. Free is right. Just not one as long as Roanoke.

I don't find a Bragg among the passengers of the Susan Constant, but perhaps I misunderstood. Not sure that was your mother's side. I have the same interest in genealogy regarding my husband's family in the interest of my boys. My side was already here, LOL, in New Mexico strangely enough. Still are. Great subject. Good idea SpitfireV.
 

Pathfinder84

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But you have to remember the circumstances that led to the long lag of checking on Roanoke. The Spanish were intent on getting there before the English in order to destroy it, but never made it for the same reasons the English didn't; war being chief among them.

The folks at Jamestown who were left had two fleets (or what was left of those fleets) arrive within months of each other and both were English. Not that I don't think there would have been a lapse. Free is right. Just not one as long as Roanoke.

I don't find a Bragg among the passengers of the Susan Constant, but perhaps I misunderstood. Not sure that was your mother's side. I have the same interest in genealogy regarding my husband's family in the interest of my boys. My side was already here, LOL, in New Mexico strangely enough. Still are. Great subject. Good idea SpitfireV.
Thomas and William Bragg were brothers...probably crew, indentured or working across. They were mentioned as "two youth" or "two Bragg brothers" or something to that effect in the ships logs. (This is all second-hand information from the genealogy files of another relative). Thomas is said to have married Mary (Molly) Newport. I've gotten most of my references from the family of Joseph Bragg. At this stage of researching my Mother's side of the family, nothing is in concrete...at least I wouldn't consider it so without more accurate documentation....which I will work on as time permits. Of course, any information you have and are willing to share would be most appreciated. Thank you in advance. Consequently, New Mexico is a beautiful state rich in history.
 

digrar

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Amazing that he can trace it back so far. Supposedly on Mum's side we're related to James Cook but there's no evidence, just hearsay. I like it though :p

Mum's side of the family tracked back to a cousin of Cooks, we're pretty sure that Dad's side of the family came in the bottom of the boat in chains...
 

Manolito

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our relatives were friends is what you are saying Digrar? One side of my family starts after marrying a decent woman. We didn't have any distinction on that side at all. Well no distinction one would consider adding to the human race anyway.
 

Dame

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our relatives were friends is what you are saying Digrar? One side of my family starts after marrying a decent woman. We didn't have any distinction on that side at all. Well no distinction one would consider adding to the human race anyway.
YOU are that distinction.
 

dknob

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Most of you guys probably wouldnt have existed ;)

If no Jamestown, then no continuation of American settlement - then all of your families from Ireland, Germany, wherever the hell wouldnt have emigrated to the new land. The path of breeding and procreating if they stayed in Europe would have been much different and you most likely would never have been born. I on the other hand would still be here :)
 
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I am reading a book about the Royal Navy and it mentioned a little bit about Jamestown, which as I understand it was the first major English settlement in the US (after a couple of failed tries elsewhere).

The question I pose is: If Jamestown had been taken and destroyed during one of the attacks, what would this have meant for the future US? Would there have even been a US? Would North America be a mix of a Spanish and French colony?


Nah...more likely Irish! :-" :p :D
 

SpitfireV

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Pretty close. I'd go check out A Brave Vessel which has a great recap of those efforts and also ties in how Shakespeare heavily based the Tempest, when he didn't plagiarize, on the writings of the company secretary, William Strachey.

http://www.amazon.com/Brave-Vessel-Castaways-Jamestown-ShakespearesThe/dp/0670020966

Wiki has decent write-ups of the whole thing:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_Venture
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_Supply
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Strachey

Os to the OP: Great Post. My personal take, drawing from what little I remember, is that England would still pursue a colony in N. America. A failure at Jamestown would obviously delay this and that would allow the French and Spanish some breathing room. Spain was already pushing missionaries north from St. Augustine and had established quite the little network along the coast up to modern day South Carolina. Without Jamestown that march north would continue. Meanwhile the French would have the Mississippi basin north to Hudson Bay without any worry from English. Native tribes could be a wildcard here. If Spain and France could befriend them enough to turn them against the English ("Hey, we're the good white guys. Go get your kill on.") then future UK settlements would have a much harder time of surviving.

Against all of this I'd have to go dig into European history at that point to see if it offsets any of my wild ass theories. :-) I've never pondered this question. Nicely done.

I've done a little bit of reading the last few days and I would agree with you for the most part. So let's take the thread in a slightly different direction. Suppose: British colonies are only 5 or 6 in number rather than 13 and that MA was one of them (since it seems from my basic reading to be the driver of the Revolution). Would we still see a United States? Would the Spanish or French (or possibly the Dutch or Portugese) just simply invade them rather than support them?

I like these what if questions, if you guys hadn't noticed :D
 

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I've done a little bit of reading the last few days and I would agree with you for the most part. So let's take the thread in a slightly different direction. Suppose: British colonies are only 5 or 6 in number rather than 13 and that MA was one of them (since it seems from my basic reading to be the driver of the Revolution). Would we still see a United States? Would the Spanish or French (or possibly the Dutch or Portugese) just simply invade them rather than support them?

I like these what if questions, if you guys hadn't noticed :D

I do enjoy the mental exercise. :)

In your scenario, I think the lynchpin is the question of Virginia. Virginia was the most prosperous colony of the 13 and as it voted so did NC, SC, GA, and to a lesser extent MD and DE. VA also fielded guys like Washington, Jefferson, and Henry.

I think the Revolution happens with or without Virginia. I think the revolution is a loss without VA. The next question would be if Spain retains FL or a portion of the Southeast how does that empire decline, if at all? Also, England, France, and Spain next to each other in America during the Napoleonic Wars? Or...when the Revolution fails does that change France's revolution?

But you were looking for answers, weren't you? :D
 

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I do enjoy the mental exercise. :-)

In your scenario, I think the lynchpin is the question of Virginia. Virginia was the most prosperous colony of the 13 and as it voted so did NC, SC, GA, and to a lesser extent MD and DE. VA also fielded guys like Washington, Jefferson, and Henry.

I think the Revolution happens with or without Virginia. I think the revolution is a loss without VA. The next question would be if Spain retains FL or a portion of the Southeast how does that empire decline, if at all? Also, England, France, and Spain next to each other in America during the Napoleonic Wars? Or...when the Revolution fails does that change France's revolution?

But you were looking for answers, weren't you? :D
The great spark for the Revolution occurred in the northern colonies....however the guys from Virginia (in my opinion) put it in motion. On the FL question, I believe that Spain would have lost FL. The Highland Scots (along with others) they (Georgia) put on the Georgia/Florida line would have kicked their arses and eventually taken it over. I would highly recommend the visit to Jamestown/Williamsburg area as it is a cool trip and steeped in history (Colonial and Civil War). If possible at Christmas when all to the decorations are up!!
 

AWP

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The great spark for the Revolution occurred in the northern colonies....however the guys from Virginia (in my opinion) put it in motion. On the FL question, I believe that Spain would have lost FL. The Highland Scots (along with others) they (Georgia) put on the Georgia/Florida line would have kicked their arses and eventually taken it over. I would highly recommend the visit to Jamestown/Williamsburg area as it is a cool trip and steeped in history (Colonial and Civil War). If possible at Christmas when all to the decorations are up!!

Good points, particularly the Scots. I vaguely recall reading an article some years ago that stated immigration/ settling of the southern colonies was done primarily by the more..."blue collar" (to use a modern term) citizens from the UK. I can't recall if there was a correlation between the lower clases being pushed down south or the agricultural nature of the south attracting that sort of person, but it is interesting to think about. The cynical could argue it was done to serve as a buffer between the Spanish and the French.
 

SpitfireV

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That seemed pretty common in all the colonies. We got majority working class here too. Reason being the landed gentry were usually old money and didn't know how to actually do anything proper.
 
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