Year 4 History and Geography

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The New World


In the early 1600s, British people were moving to places farther away. During the time when James was King, lots of English and Scottish people moved all the way to the other side of the Atlantic Ocean to start settlements - or new communities - in North America.

Do you remember learning in Year 3 about how, when Elizabeth I was Queen, the famous explorer Sir Walter Raleigh set up the colony of Roanoke? The settlers disappeared and were never found again, and no one knows what happened to them! However, after James became King (James VI of Scotland and James I of England), more people decided to go across the Atlantic and set up home in the wilderness of North America, and this time they survived.

A colony is a settlement made by people who left their old country and have moved to a new country, but they are still loyal to their old country. Roanoke was one of the first colonies in North America, and it was still loyal to Britain.

In 1607 the colony of Jamestown was founded, named after King James. It was the first permanent, long-lasting, settlement in what was to become the United States of America. The brave settlers did not have an easy life, though. Jamestown was on swampland where there were lots of bugs and mosquitoes that carried diseases. Many people fell ill and died. Other settlers did not survive because they did not have enough food. They needed help from the Native American tribes just to stay alive. Pocahontas was one Native American who greatly helped the Jamestown settlers, and she even married one of them. The painting here shows their wedding.

The people who moved to the Jamestown colony were business people who wanted to make money, which they eventually did by growing tobacco and selling it back in Britain. But soon after Jamestown had been founded, other settlers arrived in America. They went to the 'New World', as it was called then, to enjoy religious freedom.

the mayflower

One of these groups was called the Pilgrims, who were a specific group of settlers who moved from England to America to find a new place to live. In 1620, the Pilgrims left England because they wanted to find a place where they could worship God in their own way. In England at that time, the King decided what kind of religion could be practised and the Pilgrims didn't like that. They decided to leave England and go in search of a new place to live. They travelled across the Atlantic Ocean on a ship called the Mayflower and named the place they landed Plymouth. This picture showed what the Mayflower looked like.

This activity is adapted from What Your Year 4 Child Needs to Know, which will be published later in 2013. Other books in the Core Knowledge UK series can be purchased here. Click below to see a related activity:

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