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Strachey's A Dictionarie of the Indian Language

Smith's Vocabulary of Indian words

Weroances and Their Tribes

English Observers

William Strachey' s Description of Critters in the Chesapeake Bay

Henry Spelman, Relation of Virginia, 1609


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What made the hostilities increase again?

The spring of 1608 brought increased hostilities between the English and the Powhatans. Chief Powhatan lost patience with the English when they began drilling their men outside the fort at Jamestown, appearing to prepare an attack. When asked if they were going to attack, the English explained that they were just planning to go to the town of Powhatan "to seeke stones to make Hatchets." The Powhatans questioned why people who had steel tools would have any need for stone tools. The Englishmen's demand that the weroance of the Weyanock chiefdom act as their guide proved too much for Powhatan's patience. After conferences with the Chickahominies, Powhatan allowed his subjects to start harassing the English and stealing tools from the fort. The English took hostages in exchange for the stolen tools. The Paspaheghs, one of the local Powhatan tribes, captured a couple of Englishmen to exchange for the Powhatan hostages. Hostilities escalated when the English raided and burned Paspahegh villages. To their astonishment, the Powhatans began to realize that the English intended to make Virginia an outpost of English culture. They saw the English as "blustering foreigners" who needed help from them just to survive. When the English began to build a triangular, palisaded fort, the Paspaheghs immediately became suspicious of the "visitors." Building a fort may have been a sensible thing to do in the minds of the English, but it was not carefully planned. The Powhatans saw the fort as a sign of both permanence and of distrust on the part of the English. As the first stockade at Jamestown was finished, the colonists began to push the Powhatans out of the area. By the time the colony was two years old, the major Powhatan settlements had been seized. The Powhatans were so fixed on retribution, that the colonists were safe only when inside the fort.







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