- Despite John Smith’s heroic accounts, the 1607 English settlement at Jamestown (VA) was just hard and not at well planned. Food? Scarce for many reasons, but on starving, cannibalism became a option. (See The New York Times, 2-May-2013.) Not surprising really, since humans in extremity will resort to survival by any means. The same happened more recently in the 19th century during the Donner Party expedition.
More interesting is James Horn’s perspective in a followup NY Times Op-Ed article (4-May-2013), which suggests that while the English settlers feared cannibalism by the American Natives, in fact, they projected it, and ironically they themselves were forced to practice it.
Cannibalism Uncovered at Jamestown Settlement
[Lord Frederick] North defended his role in the war for America to his death. He insisted that it
did not originate in a despotic wish to tyrannise America, but from the desire of maintaining constitutional authority of Parliament over the colonies. He admitted that the war with American had
been unfortunate but not unjust, adding that if he had been forced to
mount the scaffold in consequence of the part that I have performed in its prosecution, I shall continue to maintain that it was founded in right and dictated by necessity.