Episode 105: English and Dutch

England and the Netherlands arrive in North America and change the lives of Native Americans in profound ways.

Jamestown colonists offer a crown to Powhatan, head chief of the Powhatan Confederacy. Powhatan welcomed the colonists and helped them get started, but the colonists’ demands for food and colonial expansion resulted in war.
The Mayflower battles stormy seas, but the relations with Native Americans would prove stormy as well. The Pilgrims inialated the Pequot tribe, horrifying their native allies.
The First Thanksgiving suggests peaceful relations between the Puritans of Plymouth and the Wampanoag. Reality was much more complex than that.
Henry Hudson sailed up the river of his name and claimed the Hudson Valley for the Dutch. A year later, he sailed for England, claiming Hudson Lake. Hudson and his son were cast adrift by a mutiny and were never seen again.

Welcome to Episode 105 of Ramping Up your English. Having considered the effects on Native Americans of Portuguese, Spanish, and French colonization, we now see the consequences of English and Dutch colonizers.

Watching Episode 105

This episode is available as free video on demand from archive.org. Click here to see Episode 105 without ads.

Episode Summary

In Episode 105, we go back in time to the earliest recorded exploration of North America by the English. That goes all the way back to 1497 with John Cabot’s voyage.

After a long gap of inactivity, the goal of exploiting America was renewed by the ascension of Queen Elizabeth to the throne. Treasure from the Spanish galleons poured in from the privateering activity of Captain Francis Drake.

The queen wanted to plant colonies in North America to support the pillaging of Spanish treasure, so an attempt was made to form a colony at Roanoke on the coast of today’s North Carolina. Despite welcome by the Secotan tribe, the colony failed due to demands for food and the burning of an Indian village. Colonist left on the island were never found again.

Jamestown was attempted next, and colonists were welcomed by the head of the Powhatan Confederacy. While most of the colonists died of disease and starvation, the Powhatan continued to support the newcomers until the demand for food and more territory became intolerable. Jamestown was attacked, yet it survived. A marriage even took place between a tobacco planter and Powhatan’s daughter Pocahontas. Tobacco cultivation fueled the growth of the colony even as the Powhatan diminished from European diseases and violence from colonists.

Seeking religious freedom, a sect of the Church of England – the Puritans – established a colony further north. They were also welcomed and taught how to sustain themselves there. These colonists engaged some surrounding tribes in warring with the Pequot. Their Indian allies were horrified at the tactics of the Puritans, especially the total destruction of the Pequot and selling the captives into slavery in the West Indies. Terrible acts of violence took place in King Philip’s War – the bloodiest conflict yet with English colonists.

While the Dutch establish a fur-trading empire along the Hudson River Valley and beyond, they too were vanquished by the English – this time without violence. England also got a foothold in Hudson Bay thanks to explorer Henry Hudson. England and their Iroquois allies became a stronger rival of the French – who had influence over a much larger swath of North America.

Language Objectives

This all-content episode tests listening comprehension of viewers. Hence, the language objectives are the same as the academic content objectives listed below.

Academic Content Objectives

Identify the first exploration of America by England

Explain the long gap between exploration and colonization of North America by England.

Identify the event that gave rise to England’s increasing power of the seas and the beginning of decline of Spain’s mastery of American plunder.

Trace the early colonization of North America by England, beginning with Roanoke.

Characterize the reception of Early English colonists by Native Americans.

Identify the causes of hostility by Native Americans to English colonists.

Explain the role of agriculture in the struggles of early English colonists and how those struggles affected Native Americans.

List the actions taken by Native Americans to help the Early English colonies succeed.

Identify the causes of the attack on Jamestown and King Philip’s War.

Compare and contrast the colonies of Jamestown and Plymouth.

Videos included on Episode 105

Episode 105 is built around a single video. Click here to watch the video about the English and Dutch.

Outside Links

***Note: the links below take you to You Tube. Expect ads***

In the video for this episode, I gave the standard explanation of the First Thanksgiving. There are other views. Click here to see a video about what we have wrong about our idea of Thanksgiving.

Here’s a video about Thanksgiving from a Native American perspective: Click here

Here’s yet another take on America’s favorite holiday. Click here. The PBS program We Shall Remain has a segment on the Pilgrims. Click here to watch it.


This is a great time to practice the skills taught in Episode 104. This time, compare and contrast the treatment of Native Americans by the French with those of the English. You’ll use the same language structures as with Spaniards/French.

If you really want to stretch you academic English skills, try a three-way compare/contrast mission. Use the same language skills to note commonalities in the treatment. by Spanish, French, and English colonizers.

Deeper yet, you could compare and contrast the responses by Native Americans to these three colonizing nations. The point is to give yourself lots of experience in comparing and contrasting so these skills can be easily transferred to other material.

A Timely Note

In the featured Video, I used sea shanties to add some English sounds to the work. I used two samples from A Collection of Sea Shanties by Matt Dearing. At the time of production, I had no idea that Sea Shanties would soon become so hot on Tic Tock.

I really can’t explain why Sea Shanties have suddenly become so popular, but the video that follows (from CBC) may help explain: Click Here.

Next Episode

Now that three major European powers are on the North American continent, what will happen? That’s what you’ll see in Episode 106. Click here to go to the Episode 106 page.