The Interaction of Powhatan

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The interaction of the Powhatan, English and Africans at Jamestown laid the foundation for an American society built by people of diverse cultures, traditions and beliefs. Throughout history these cultural interactions have included conflict, hardships, negotiation and compromise. As a result of English settlement, the Powhatans were forced to live on reservations located on less than desirable tracts of land. Africans were transported to Virginia against their will and forced into slavery for years to come. From its inception in 17th-century Virginia, slavery was rationalized as an economic necessity – first with tobacco and later with cotton. Tragically, during the eighteenth century, the institution of slavery took root in the American colonies. Eventually, it would tear the nation apart during the Civil War, which brought about the end of slavery. Over time, the United States has made great strides in civil rights, but continues to be challenged by the effects of the institution of slavery and the wrongs suffered by America’s original inhabitants. Yet, without the exchange of knowledge and skills of the English, the Powhatans and the Angolans, Jamestown would not have survived.Jamestown’s legacy, including free enterprise, private ownership of land, representative government and our rich cultural diversity, came from the sacrifices and relationships forged by these three groups of people Powhatan, English and African.
Historical background materials made possible by Archibald Andrews Marks.

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Word Lists:

Interaction : reciprocal action or influence

Inception : the establishment or starting point of an institution or activity

Cultural : relating to the ideas, customs, and social behavior of a society

Diversity : the state of being diverse; variety

Reservation : the action of reserving something

Legacy : an amount of money or property left to someone in a will

Slave : a person who is the legal property of another and is forced to work for and obey them; an enslaved person

Hardship : severe suffering or privation


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