Four hundred years ago today 105 men and boys disembarked from three ships and established the first permanent English settlement in North America. They built a fort along what they called the James River, in honor of their king.
By 1609, there were 500 settlers. And within six months fewer than 100 were still alive. People were desperate. They ate dogs and cats, then rats and mice. They apparently ate their deceased neighbors. ...
But when a new governor, Thomas Dale, arrived a year after the starving time, he was shocked to find the settlers bowling in the streets instead of working.
Dale’s most important reform was to institute private property. He allotted every man three acres of land and freed them to work for themselves. And then, the Virginia historian Matthew Page Andrews wrote, “As soon as the settlers were thrown upon their own resources, and each freeman had acquired the right of owning property, the colonists quickly developed what became the distinguishing characteristic of Americans – an aptitude for all kinds of craftsmanship coupled with an innate genius for experimentation and invention.”
I am not a historian. But usually things don't fit neatly into a narrative like this. Anyone who can debunk this, or correct for accuracy, please do in the comments below.