School Improvement in Maryland
Clarifications: Each clarification provides an explanation of an indicator/objective to help teachers better understand the skills and/or concepts.

Standard 5.0 History

Topic A. Individuals and Societies Change Over Time

Indicator 2. Analyze the chronology and the significance of key historical events leading to early settlements in Colonial America

Objective a. Describe the major settlements in Roanoke, St. Augustine and Jamestown


The stories of the settlements at Roanoke, St. Augustine, and Jamestown illustrate the difficulties of early colonization.

Spain founded St. Augustine on the Florida coast in 1565 to lay claim to North America. For decades, St. Augustine remained a squalid community centered around a fort and occupied by a motley assortment of several hundred Spaniards, Indians, and enslaved Africans. The colony was such a drain on Spanish resources that the Crown wanted to abandon the effort, but it was persuaded by missionaries to maintain the colony with the goal of converting native peoples to Catholicism. Despite the missionaries' limited success, St. Augustine was the first of a string of Spanish missions to be founded in northern Florida.

In 1585, England began an attempt to establish a permanent settlement in North America at Roanoke, an island off present-day North Carolina. Organized by Sir Walter Raleigh, the first expedition of about 100 men returned to England after a difficult winter. In 1587, Raleigh sent another group of 117 colonists to the island. The first English child born in North America was Virginia Dare, born to the daughter of the colony's leader, John White. White returned to England to procure supplies and more settlers but was delayed in returning by war between England and Spain. When the resupply ship did arrive in 1590, they found the settlement abandoned. The only trace of the settlers was a word carved on a tree: CROATOAN, the name of a nearby island.

England's first permanent colony in the New World was Jamestown, established in 1607 on a peninsula in Virginia. Jamestown was founded by the Virginia Company of London with the goal of finding gold and silver, a fact which created a major problem for the colony. Colonists spent too much of their time searching for riches instead of growing food and preparing for the winter. As a result, only 38 of 144 settlers survived the disease, hunger, and cold of the first winter. The colony itself survived the first two years thanks to the leadership of Captain John Smith, who forced colonists to work, negotiated for corn from the Powhatan Indians, and explored the area. When Smith returned to England in August 1609, the colony again went through a "starving time," and many died. Ultimately, the introduction of the tobacco crop and private ownership of land spurred the colonists to work, and Jamestown grew stronger. In 1619, the Virginia Company sent 90 women to the colony to encourage the development of family units and a sense of permanence. Twenty African laborers arrived in the colony that year as well, although they may have come as indentured servants rather than slaves. Also in 1619, the House of Burgesses, a representative governing assembly, met for the first time. By the early 1620s, the Virginia Company was suffering from extreme financial problems, and King James made Jamestown a royal colony.

Resources for Objective 5.A.2.a: