Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Starving Time Begins

“This was that time, which still to this day we called the Starving Time: it were too vile to say and scarce to be believed, what we endured.”
            --John Smith, General Historie.

It is early November at Jamestown.
            John Smith, seriously wounded by a mysterious gunpowder explosion, has sailed for England. Pocahontas no longer comes to Jamestown.
            Death and disease have thinned the population at Jamestown to about 250 men, women, and children.
            The food supply that Smith left is gone.
            George Percy, now in command of Jamestown Fort, sends a party of men downriver to “trade for victuals” with the Indians. 
            A few days later, the men’s corpses are found--with their dead mouths stuffed full of Indian bread.
            Percy sets a food allowance for settlers inside the fort: half a can of meal per person--per day. That, he reckons, should last them three months.
            A can of meal is about 150 calories per day.
            The average adult needs 1500-2000 calories per day.

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