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  • one year ago

What was the starving time winter of 1609-1610?

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  1. paki
    • one year ago
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    The Starving Time refers to the winter of 1609–1610 when about three-quarters of the English colonists in Virginia died of starvation or starvation-related diseases. In his unpublished account A Trewe Relacyon, George Percy, who served as president during these grim months, wrote that Englishmen felt "the sharpe wingspane of hunger which noe man trewly descrybe butt he which hathe tasted the bitternesse thereof." Already for two years, the Jamestown colonists had died at alarming rates, mostly of summertime diseases. In 1609, the beginning of the First Anglo-Powhatan War (1609–1614) prompted the Indians to lay siege to the English fort, helping to provoke the famine. Settlers were forced to eat snakes, vipers, rats, mice, musk turtles, cats, dogs, horses, and perhaps even raptors. In addition, multiple gruesome stories suggest, and archaeological evidence has partially corroborated, that settlers devoured each other. The siege lifted in May 1610, and when the survivors of the Sea Venture wreck arrived in Virginia, they found just 60 gaunt remnants of the 240 people who had crowded the fort the previous November. Many observers argued that the colonists' idleness—their persistent refusal to work for their food—contributed to the famine. It is likely, though, that malnutrition and despair worked together to create symptoms that imitated laziness

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