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Nature of Starvation and Myths of Cannibalism in Virginia

In most cases, when historians try to put into writing the history of early Virginia, they frequently mention the nature of cannibalism that was experienced during the starving period of winter. It is seen to be so ironic when some colonists are tuned into cannibalism because it was assumed by the early explorers that only the Native Americans would participate in cannibalism.  Through this, the historians do not take the issue of cannibalism in Jamestown seriously in that they state that they used to practice cannibalism during winter rather than tobacco farming, but the nature of cannibalism in Virginia is not verified since the historical writers were influenced by their level of personal interest.

In most cases, the historians have taken the writers’ word about the entire occurrence without considering their motives in writing, whereby man-eating may have or not have occurred at all. It is just perceptions and thinking with no evidence. Through this, cannibalism may not have occurred this is since they did little farming. There is not an article that supports this entirely, but it is just based on perception and thinking and not tangible evidence.

America was termed to be a place of plenty of food before starvation cropped in with little labour, as compared to Virginia, where hard work was seen to realize the land potential, thus leading to the enacting of the new law concerning the consumption and food production, this led to accounts of starvation. Way before starvation in Virginia during winter it was termed to be paradise since there was plenty of food and they did not need labour, but it marked their turning point where they had to work hard. Through this, the pirates started spreading rumours of starvation in Virginia.

The writers saw the damage they had brought because of the rumours of starvation and man-eating in Virginia, so they had their publications cut from them, thus turning to public opinion. Through this, cannibalism did not take place. It was just but the myth of the writers’ work for their interests. This particular type of rumour should not be considered since the motive of the writers is not known.

Work Cited

Herrmann, Rachel B. “The “tragically historie”: cannibalism and abundance in colonial Jamestown.” William and Mary Quarterly 68.1 (2011): 47-74.



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