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Directing Professor

Ruth A. Doan


The Germanna colony is an important case study in immigration because it provides an alternative history for the development of Virginia, which in turn creates a critique of the system that was ultimately born out of the process of establishing an economy. At this time, the slave –driven economy had not yet become comprehensively ingrained in the colonial Virginia economy and society, so a window of opportunity remained for the establishment of an alternative primary labor system, indentured servitude. Yet, the settlement ultimately failed, which is perhaps affected the move towards an increased dependence upon slave labor. Also, the attempt to create and support an iron ore industry represents a pivotal decision point in the creation of a distinctly Virginian economy. While mining remained a part of the Virginia economy throughout the eighteenth century, it failed to be as profitable as agriculture. The comparative success of an agriculture based economy fueled the establishment of a persuasively slave- based labor system. This change is significant, because had the Germanna settlement proved to be a successful economic model for Virginia, the result of the State of Virginia, and potentially of the nation, could have been radically different.


Jon Bohland was the second reader for this paper.

Abstract taken from page 15 of author's text.