North America’s first English settlers were unlucky scientists

Jamestown painting

Jamestown was the first permanent English settlement in the Americas

Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The first English people to settle permanently in the Americas included early scientists, known as “chymists”, who battled hunger and disease in an ill-fated bid to find gold.

In the early 17th century, the English were eager to explore and exploit North America. It had been just over 100 years since Columbus’s first transatlantic voyages, and during that time, the Spanish had removed large quantities of gold and silver from South and Central America. The English failed  to find gold …