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10 Things You May Not Know About the Jamestown Colony

August 6, 2019 in History

By Crystal Ponti

In May of 1607, a hearty group of Englishmen arrived on the muddy shores of modern-day Virginia under orders from King James I to establish an English colony. But despite their efforts, the Jamestown Colony was immediately plagued by disease, famine, and violent encounters with the native population. “There were never Englishmen left in a foreign country in such misery as we were in this new discovered Virginia,” one colonist recalled.

Although more than a third of the colonists perished in the harsh conditions, the group eventually overcame their disastrous start and founded the first permanent English settlement in the New World. Here are some of the lesser-known facts about the Jamestown Colony.

1. The original settlers were all men.

Settlers landing on the site of Jamestown, Virginia, the first permanent English settlement in America.

In December of 1606, the Virginia Company, under charter from King James I, sent an expedition to establish an English settlement in North America. When their ships, the Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery, arrived near the banks of the James River on May 14, 1607, 104 men and boys set foot on what would soon become Jamestown. The initial group contained well-to-do adventurers, a handful of artisans and craftsmen, and laborers eager to forge a new home. Notably absent were members of the opposite sex. It would be another nine long months before any women arrived at the fledgling colony.

2. Drinking water likely played a role in the early decimation of the settlement.

Did Jamestown Drink Itself to Death? (TV-PG; 2:44)

While the terrain might have appeared ideal from the deck of a ship—unoccupied and ripe with natural resources—the Virginia Company established its settlement on a swath of swampy land with no source of fresh water. Soon after, the men began to perish. Only 38 of the 104 original settlers were still alive by January 1608.

As documented in colonial records, many died from disease and famine. Others met their fate in skirmishes with the Powhatans and their tribal allies. Experts also believe that some may have succumbed to a invisible threat: toxic water. Modern-day samples taken from some of the wells used by Jamestown colonists have revealed high levels of salt and varying degrees of arsenic and fecal contamination—a foul, and potentially lethal, cocktail.

READ MORE: What Was Life Like in Jamestown?

3. Bodies were buried in unmarked graves to conceal …read more


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The United Arab Emirates is formed

August 6, 2019 in History

By Editors

On this day in 1972, the United Arab Emirates is formed. The union of six small Gulf kingdoms—to which a seventh was soon added—created a small state with an outsized role in the global economy.

A number of kingdoms on the norther coast of the Arabian Peninsula came under British protection through a series of treaties beginning in 1820. Concerned with protecting trade routes and their prized colony of India, the British navy protected what became known as the Trucial States in exchange for their cooperation with British interests. During this period of British protection, the region’s vast oil reserves were discovered. As the Trucial States and nearby kingdoms like Bahrain and Qatar became major suppliers of oil, the British Empire’s influence receded due to a number of factors, the two World Wars chief among them. In 1968, the British government declared that it would end the protectorate, withdrawing its military and leaving the people of the region to their own devices.

Dwarfed by their neighbors in terms of size, population and military capabilities, the small kingdoms of the region attempted to organize themselves into a single political unit. The negotiations proved difficult, and Bahrain and Qatar elected to declare independence unilaterally. With the British treaty due to expire and both Iran and Saudi Arabia eyeing their territory and resources, the kingdoms of Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Fujairah, Sharjah, Dubai and Umm al-Quwain became the independent United Arab Emirates on this day in 1972. Ras al-Khaimah joined two months later.

Since then, the UAE has been a sovereign nation, enjoying the profits of its natural resources—its reserves of oil and natural gas are the seventh-largest in the world, and it has the seventh-highest GDP per capita. This wealth has turned the Emirates into a major hub of trade, travel, tourism and finance. Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the tallest structure in the world, is emblematic of the Emirates’ dramatic construction boom and rise to global prominence. Though its cities are some of the most modern in the world, the nation remains a monarchy governed by religious law—its president and prime minister are the absolute monarchs of Abu Dhabi and Dubai, respectively, and apostasy, homosexuality and even kissing in public are punishable by law.

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Trump and Bipartisan Majority in Congress Complicit in Chinese Currency Manipulation Canard

August 6, 2019 in Economics

By Daniel J. Ikenson

Daniel J. Ikenson

With his ill-advised, incongruous, amateurishly-executed trade
war, President Trump has uncorked a cacophony of reverberating
effects that are beginning to spiral out of control and will prove
difficult to subdue. Among those effects is the force of downward
pressure on the value of the Chinese currency, as multinational
businesses relocate to other countries to avoid the tariffs, and
the savings of Chinese households and investors go searching for
safety in the United States and elsewhere.

Trump’s chosen course of action has sent waves of
uncertainty across the globe and one of the most predictable
responses to uncertainty is flight to safety—that is,
purchases of what are considered relatively safe U.S. assets.
It’s some sort of paradox that global uncertainty—even
when induced by the risky policies and actions of an impulsive,
unpredictable U.S. president—inspires people to invest in
U.S. and other dollar-denominated assets. But it does.

As global uncertainty stokes demand for dollars, the certainty
of U.S. tariffs on Chinese-originating goods further reduces demand
for Chinese yuan, exacerbating the downward pressure on the price
of yuan in dollars. This precipitous depreciation, which is a
consequence of Trump’s policies, has got the president and
other like-minded rabble-rousers accusing the Chinese of currency
manipulation. Late yesterday, Trump’s Treasury Department
squandered its credibility by labeling China a currency
manipulator, despite Beijing meeting only one of the three criteria
necessary for such a conclusion.

Do you want to know what’s not currency
manipulation? The People’s Bank of China observing the value
of the yuan plummet as markets respond to Trump’s tariff
frenzy is not currency manipulation. The Chinese monetary
authorities have been trying to prop up the value of the yuan to
discourage capital flight and instill confidence in the yuan, but
they’ve had to burn through over $1 trillion of reserves just
to maintain the yuan’s value, which continues to fall in
response to Trump’s tariffs.

Do you want to know what is currency manipulation? The
president of the United States imploring the Federal Reserve
chairman to lower interest rates for the distinct purpose of
reducing the value of the dollar is currency manipulation.

The “scourge” of currency manipulation and what to
do about it has been vexing policymakers for a long time. Back in
2003, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) first introduced a bill calling for
a 27.5 percent tariff on all imports from China to compel Beijing
to allow the undervalued yuan to appreciate. But Schumer’s
idea was rejected as a massive consumption tax on the American
people—as well as a violation of World Trade Organization
rules (yes, youngsters, WTO compliance used to matter to U.S.
policymakers). But that didn’t stop Schumer from
re-introducing the same bill in subsequent …read more

Source: OP-EDS