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The Jamestown Massacre Controversy

The massacre that took place in Jamestown, which is often called the uprising, at first seems to make sense to consider in other terms since the event took place in the occupied territory. To a greater extent, the Indian attacks on the English settlers should rather be called a struggle against the colonialists, a battle for their liberation from oppression. However, in this consideration, the motivations of native Americans are forgotten, which go far beyond the establishment of mutual orders with the English settlers. Native American people sought to exterminate the settlers in order to get rid of the occupiers forever. In this context, the shocking cruelty and methodicalness of the Indians take on a different meaning. Their logic was not cruelty per se but an almost religious act of cleansing their sacred land.

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The reason for such a fiercely violent reaction against the white colonies was the brutal cruelty of the colonialists themselves. The treatment of Native Americans during the colonial period was inhuman, resulting in a huge number of deaths. However, the indigenous tribes died for the most part from hunger and disease as a result of enslavement (Bennett 5). The reason for this attitude was the belief of the British in their own racial superiority, expressed in technological and cultural excellence. The Jamestown Massacre is captured in a 17th-century poetic pamphlet that is replete with racist remarks and rhetoric (Schneck 170). So it can be said with confidence that proficiency in the language apparatus no less convinces Western culture of its superiority over others.

In fact, if one speaks of a real genocide as the extermination of a population or a race, the tribe that inhabited Jamestown suffered much more. By the 20th century, it was practically assimilated with the white population while completely losing its language, culture, and identity. Thus, the issue of genocide by Native Americans seems undeniable, but its motivations are still a problematic topic for discussion.


Bennett, James. “The Forgotten Genocide in Colonial America: Reexamining the 1622 Jamestown Massacre Within the Framework of the UN Genocide Convention”. Journal of the History of International Law, vol. 19, no. 1, 2017, pp. 1-49.

Schneck, Peter. “Savage Properties and Violent Forms: Christopher Brooke’s “Poem on the Late Massacre in Virginia (1622)” and the Discourse on Civility and Possession in Early Modern America”. American Studies, vol. 62, no. 2, 2017, pp. 169-190.

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