AMPU, December 2, 2017 – Dr. Gayle Olson-Raymer

Early British Settlement in the 13 Colonies

Map of 13 colonies

Welcome! As this first year of the A More Perfect Union (AMPU) grant gets underway, it may be useful to begin with a question – What do we think makes a good history teacher? While our lists are hardly exhaustive, they do provide a good place for us to start – and I especially want to emphasize our last characteristic – Good history teachers are storytellers who who use carefully crafted big picture themes to emphasize their story. Following are the major big picture themes that we will use throughout this year of the grant:

  1. “English America was a corporation before it was a colony.” (David Price, Love and Hate in Jasmestown, p. 4)
    • Capitalism and corporations shaped our colonies.
  2. Controversy, conflict, cooperation and compromise shaped our political world.
    • Controversy, conflict, cooperation and compromise shaped our political world.Freedom is never free quote
  3. The geography of North America greatly influenced our social political, and economic history.
    • Geography matters!
  4. The diverse nature of American society makes us unique among nations.
    • Americans are uniquely diverse people.
  5. “Freedom is never free.” (Maya Angelou.)
    • Freedom is never free.
  6. Ordinary and extraordinary people make history.
    • Ordinary and extraordinary people make history.
  7. Progress is not always progressive.
    • Progress is not always progressive.
  8. Our civil liberties require citizen maintenance and protection.
    • “We the people” must protect our liberties.

IntroductionToday, we begin our story with the first British settlers who came to North America. While they came for many reasons, the primary incentives for most colonists were economic.

  • How does this statement differ from the reason that so many of us teach – that most early colonists came for religious freedom?
  • Why might it be important for us to emphasize in our classrooms that the predominate reason for immigrating to America was – and still is – economic?

I would argue that it is important to begin our story with economic reasons for immigrating because these very reasons will shape the economic exchanges between the “old” and the “new” worlds. And it will be these exchanges that will make the English colonies in North America so valuable to England and that will make the English colonists an integral part of the booming global trade network by the mid-1600s – a network that we can see in the map below.

map of economic trade 1650

But it was not until the 1670s, with the growth of tobacco farms and plantations in Virginia, that the British colonies enthusiastically entered into the global trade arena.

Global Trade Routes 1670s

Now, we need to read these maps.

A full understanding of these maps tell us the following about colonial North America and as such, provides the beginning of our story:

  1. The geography of the eastern seaboard influenced where people settled, what they did for a living, and how they were involved in commerce.
  2. From the beginning, the colonists were part of a global trading network. They could not effectively isolate themselves from the world around them – a world populated by Native peoples, as well as European colonists, explorers, traders, and missionaries. They were tied by trade to Europe, the Mediterranean, and Africa, as we can see by this map of colonial overseas trade.

Discussion GoalsWith this understanding in mind, we are going to focus on eight specific goals today.

  1. To explain the importance of studying colonial history in the 21st Century.
  2. To understand the geographical claims of European nations in colonial North America.
  3. To examine the new economic model for the development of the English colonies.
  4. To engage in an indepth exploration of the first British colonial settlement – Jamestown.
  5. To study the characteristics of the early colonists.
  6. To explore the governance, economy, and social structure created during the 17th Century within each of three colonial regions:  the Southern Colonies, the New England Colonies, and the Middle Colonies.
  7. To think about the geographical, political, economic, social, and religious differences of the three colonial regions.
  8. To reflect upon the similarities among the three colonial regions.

Goal #1 – To explain the importance of studying colonial history in the 21st Century

  1. To realize that diversity in North America was here from the beginning and such diversity makes us uniquely American.
    • Racial diversity – European Caucasians, North American Indians, African slaves
    • Cultural diversity- Euro-American, Native American, and African. Each cultural group, in turn, embraced dozens, if not hundreds of different cultural characteristics.
    • National diversity – French, Spanish, English, Dutch, 100s of different Indian nations.
    • Religious diversity – Native American religions, Anglican/Church of England, Catholics, Puritans,, Jews, Quakers, Baptists
    • Socio-economic – a few wealthy investors, gentlemen in leadership positions, a few of the “middling sort”, and laborers – a huge number of indentured servants and slaves
    • Political diversity – the empowered, the unempowered, and the enslaved.
    • Geographical diversity – mountains, mightly rivers, vast forests, excellent farmland, superior harbors.
    • Thematic Emphasis – The diverse nature of American society makes us unique among nations.
  2. To understand the dominance of Protestantism. While religious diversity existed from the beginning of British colonization, the vast majority of Euro-Americans were Protestant – and a substantial minority were Calvinist. Thus, their religion was tied to the need to use their own individual resources to achieve spiritual and material success. This will shape the American psyche.
  3. To comprehend the full extent of the racist attitudes Euro-Americans held toward non-white people.  Euro-Americans used discrimination, subordination, enslavement, paternalism, and finally, violent policies to deal with their racial fears and prejudices.
    • Thematic Emphasis – Freedom is never free.
  4. To learn the origins of our political institutions. Some type of self-governance arrived very early in North America, even while the colonists were still under control of the British. Why? Geography!! Britain had no choice but to honor the self government that arose in the colonies because it was too far away to maintain regular, centralized control.
    • Thematic Emphasis – Geography matters!
  5. To study the development of the unique American character, attitudes, and practices.  The majority of colonists were the outcasts of Europe, most of whom were seeking economic, religious, and political freedom from the shackles of European governments. When they landed in America and were forced to deal with the decidedly un-European factors of forests, Indians, wild territory, unlimited land, and the chance to become wealthy, they developed a uniquely individualist, entrepreneurial, “leave me alone while I make a buck” attitude.
    • Thematic Emphasis – The diverse nature of American society makes us unique among nations.
  6. To gain an appreciation for the deeply-held belief in American Exceptionalism – that we are unique in the world, have a special destiny, and must spread our way of life into new territory. There are at least two ways of understanding the belief in American Exceptionalism.
    • America is an exception to the way people were granted rights and freedomOur Founding Fathers realized that throughout history, we derived rights and freedoms only at the pleasure or discretion of an overarching authority that stood “above” them. That authority could be a king or queen or a parliament and that authority would decide what the people were allowed to have, or to do, or to keep. It all flowed downward to the people from a controlling higher authority; human rights were allocated to the people, or distributed to the people, or permitted to the people by an empowered greater entity whose reason for existence was to impose order and structure.
      • The Founding Fathers thus created a society that was an exception to this – rights would not be granted by an outside entity, flowing downward, but instead were innate, inborn and integral to each and every individual.
      • You did not have to wait to have rights flow down to you, they would flow up, from you. You didn’t have to petition a king or a parliament for your rights – you had them inherently – and the only way anyone could affect those in-built rights would be if you, voluntarily, decided to give them up.
    • America is exceptional or better than other nations in every respect – economically, politically, socially, and militarily. Americans believe that the U.S. “is in some way a blessed and even providential national, one charged with a distinctive role in advancing the cause of liberty, equality, democracy, and prosperity in the modern world. As such, America is seen to have a ‘mission,’ a distinctive and definitive objective advanced by an actor on the historical stage.” (Patrick J. Deneen, 2012)
      • In other words, the United States is exceptional because Americans believe it to be exceptional. “Americans have always assumed that people everywhere share American political and moral ideas …. This underlies the idea that in every foreigner there is an American waiting to get out. It is an assumption that links the otherwise unlikely grouping of Woodrow Wilson, Ronald Reagan, William Jefferson Clinton, and George W. Bush and their mission to reform the world in the American image.” ( Hilde Eliassen Restad, 2012)

Goal #2: To understand the geographical claims of European nations in colonial North America

map of European claims in North America

California History-Social Science Framework (2016) – Who moved to and settled in North America and why did they choose to live where they did? Why did English settlers choose to live on the North Atlantic seaboard?

Americans seem to forget that when the first British colonists arrived on the east coast of North America, the Spanish and French had already made significant claims. And these foreign claims continued throughout the 17th Century. Indeed, by 1700, the Spanish, French, Dutch, and British were deeply involved in the great race for empire on the North American continent. And around the world, colonization and the creation of empires had become common place by the early 1700s.


  1. What is a colony?
  2. Why did English settlers choose to live on the North Atlantic seaboard?
  3. What European powers were already invested in North America at the time of the first English settlement in 1607?
  • Spain – The first Spaniards to arrive in the “New World” – the conquistadores – were interested in getting rich. And for 300 years, they were quite successful. Beginning in the 1500s, the mines in Spanish America yielded more than 10 times as much gold and silver as the rest of the world’s mines put together. By 1600, the Spanish already had a rich empire in North America which included most of current day California, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, Florida, and Texas, as well as parts of Louisiana and Mississippi. These riches made Spain for a time the wealthiest and most powerful nation on earth. But the Spanish also came here to save souls for the Catholic Church.
  • France – The French had established a strong trading colony in Quebec, had built a strong inland empire for fur trading throughout the Mississippi River regions, and had several settlements along important water routes. They came to North America to establish a strong fur trade.
  • Netherlands – The Dutch came to North America to strengthen their already strong global trading economy.
  • England – The English were among the last of the great European powers to gain colonial influence in North America. As the map below of world colonization by the mid-1700s indicates, Spain and France had a much greater foothold in the Americas than the English. So why did they come – to build a colonial empire, to fuel their empire with gold and other natural resourses they believed existsed in North America, and to spread the Protestant faith.

Map of world colonies 1700s

But remember, during the entire period of English colonization (1607 to 1776), the vast majority of America was populated by American Indians. Thus, it was not the European influences that were strongest in the 1600s – it was the influence that originated from hundreds of individual Indian nations.

Tribal map at time of contact

So, why did James I (1603-1625) seek a geographical claim to North America?

  1. England was recovering from over a decade-long war with Spain. And even though the English were victorious, they needed a way to boast their economy. What better way than to have a colony rich with natural resources to exploit?
  2. England had a serious surplus population and not enough food to feed them or prisons to house them.
  3. England wanted to expand their empire – and because they were late to the game of empire, “new” land and rich resources were still to be discovered in North America.
  4. The King had an economic motive based upon a new concept of economics – which brings us to our third goal for today.

Thematic Emphasis – The geography of North America greatly influenced our cultural, political, and economic history.

Goal #3: To examine the new economic model for the development of the English colonies

The New Economic Model for Colonizing British North America – Mercantilism, Corporations, and Capitalism

  • The idea of mercantilism was that the nation, not the individuals within it, was the principal actor in the economy. The goal of the economy, then, should be to increase the nation’s wealth.
    • Merchants believed that the world’s wealth was finite and that one nation could only grow rich at the expanse of another.
    • Therefore, the nation’s economic health was dependent upon merchants who extracted and imported wealth from foreign lands while exporting very little wealth from home.
  • Some merchants joined forces and formed chartered companies – or corporations. To meet their needs, merchants sought assistance from the king who, in turn, benefited from the expansion of corporations.
    • Corporations sold stock to people who wanted to make a profit on their investment in the economic activities of the corporation.
    • Each corporation acquired a charter from the King. The charter gave the corporation a monopoly on trading in a particular region.
    • The King was a shareholder in the corporation.
    • Thus, the goal of both the English king and the financial backers – those who owned the corporations – was to make money.
  • The corporate colonies, therefore, were ventures in capitalism – that is, they were based on an economic system in which the production and distribution of goods were privately or corporately owned and developed.

Thematic Emphasis – English America was a corporation before it was a colony.

Goal #4: To engage in an indepth exploration of the first British colonial settlement – Jamestown

Photo of Jamestown today

California History-Social Science Framework (2016) – Why did Jamestown settlers have a high mortality rate? Why did so many sesttlers die and how did they eventually reverse this trend? Why was tobacco grown on large plantations? What type of work force was required? What was the social life of the plantation? Why did indentured servitude start and how did it transition to slavery?

When I was growing up, I never learned about Jamestown – not that it was the first British colony, not that it was a corporate colony, not that it was even a colony. My history teachers were silent on the topic. Instead, I learned about the Pilgrims and because they were our first topic in American history, it was generally understood that they were the first permanent British settlers in North America. It was years before this changed and even longer before I understood why. Does anyone want to take a guess?

So today we are going to begin our discussion of the colonies with a detailed power point on Jamestown. It will be posted on the HCOE website created for AMPU and you will be able to access it and use it in any way you wish.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Why did Jamestown settlers have a high mortality rate?
  2. Why did so many settlers die and how did they eventually reverse this trend?
  3. Why did indentured servitude start and how did it transition to slavery?
  4. Why did the colonists begin to grow tobacco? Why was it grown on large plantations?
  5. What type of work force was required to grow large tobacco crops?
  6. What do you think the social life was like on plantations for all the inhabitants?

Jamestown Chronology:

  • 1606 Jamestown is settled by the Map of james RiverVirginia Company which began as a joint stock company.  Any “adventurer” who could pay 12 lbs, 10 shillings could purchase stock.  The Company hopes to increase its profits in this corporate venture.
    • King James grants the Virginia Company a charter to the “New World”.  According to the first historian of the Virginia Colony, “The chief Design of all Parties concern’d was to fetch away the Treasure from thence, aiming more at sudden Gain, than to form any regular Colony.” The charter proclaimed that “all and everie the parsons being our subjects which shall dwell and inhabit within everie or anie of the saide severall Colonies and plantacions and everie or anie of theire children… shall have an enjoy all liberties, franchises, and immunities as if they had been abiding and borne within this our realme of England.”  This portion of the Charter provided the authority for the first legislative assembly as well as provided the source of one of the colonists’ greatest grievances during the Revolution – England had failed to grant the colonists the same rights as those citizens residing in the mother country.
    • In December, 144 men and boys leave England on three boats: Susan Constant, Godspeed, and Discovery.  104 settle in Virginia and 39 are crew members.
  • 1607 In May, 104 settlers choose an island on the north shore of what they call the James Map of original fortRiver to build a settlement.  (One person perished on the trip.)  Upon arrival, the written instructions of the Virginia Company decrees the colonists “were not permitted to manure or till any ground.”  Instead, they were to trade with the Indians for gold and work at bringing in a profit for the Company.
    • In June, the first fort is finished, a “triangle-wise having three bulwarks at every corner like a half-moon, and four or five pieces of artillery mounted in them.”  (John Percy.) This is a drawing of James Fort (c.1609) by Pedro de Zuniga, a Spanish ambassador. The sketch shows a flag-like projection which is more probably an enclosed garden. The three sides and circular bastions at the corners are common to all three descriptions of the early fort. The two dots are most likely guard outposts.
    • Mid-year, one settler, who is named “JR” by late 20th Century archeologists, dies under mysterious circumstances.  Full skeletal remains were found located within the first wooden palisade, indicating this young man died within a few months after arriving in May 1607.  He had a lead bullet embedded in his lower leg. Photo of JR skeletonPainstaking investigation indicates he was shot at fairly close range and died of the injury.  We know from the diaries of John Smith and John Percy that a great deal of civil unrest existed from the wretched living conditions, the disappointment that the settler were not going to get rich, hunger, and disease – so it is clear he died at the hands of a fellow settler.
    • Colonists meet Powhatan, the leader of the united Powhatan Indian confederacy in the area.
    • By the fall, 67 of the original settlers are dead.
  • 1608 In January, the original fort is destroyed by an unknown cause.
    • Smith begins to train volunteers to fight “amongst the trees” against any native attackers.  Skirmishes between the Powhatans and the colonists began on a regular basis.  Kidnappings and prisoner exchanges become more common.
    • Smith leads the first colonial offensive in Virginia and destroys a series of native towns and canoes along the James River.  Although no one died in this attack, it was a costly and  painful loss for the Indians.
    • In April, supplies and between 40-60 new colonists arrive from England.
    • In the fall, the first women arrive in Jamestown.  (By the following year, about 100 English women lived in Jamestown.  The men were in Jamestown for over a year before an English woman arrived, two years before a significant number arrived.  Although there are no official marriages recorded between the English and native women, a Spanish visitor reported in 1612 that as many as “… 40 or 50 of the men had married with the salvages.”)
    • On September 10, Painting of John SmithJohn Smith becomes the leader of the colony and begins a “food for work” program proclaiming, “You see now that power resteth wholly in my selfe: you must obey this now for a law, that he that will not worke shall not eate (except by sicknesse he be disabled), for the labours of thirtie or fortie honest and industrious men shall not be consumed to maintain an hundred and fiftie idle loiterers.”
    • In late September, another ship arrives from England with new instructions from the Virginia Company that describe a new mission:  First, the colonists must find something in Virginia of major value (gold, passage to the Pacific, or the lost Roanoke Colony); and second, Captain Newport was to place an English crown on Chief Powhatan’s head thus rendering him a loyal prince of King James.  Newport attempts to carry out the coronation, but once Powhatan realizes that the crown means subjugation to the English king, he forbids his people to bargain with the English for food.  Thus, the colonists face winter without the necessary grain they needed to survive.
  • 1609 Smith returns to England after a serious injury and the colony begins to deteriorate.
    • The “Starving Time” begins.  Supplies are low, nobody had planted enough corn to last through the winter, and there is not enough to eat.  They turn to eating “doggs, Catts Ratts and myce” and some resort to boiling boot leather.  Conditions are so desperate that one man “did kill his wife, powdered her, and had eaten part of her” before leaders discover his actions and have him executed.  At the beginning of the year, 500 colonists live in Jamestown; by the year’s end, 60 survive.  Those who do survive are “so Leane that they looked Lyke Anotamies Cyreing owtt we are starved We are starved… “
  • 1610 In March, 60 colonists out of the 500 who had arrived, are still alive. In June, the small number of survivors abandon Jamestown, only to meet the new governor, Lord Delaware, who orders them back, provides provisions to reinvigorate the colony, and places all colonists under martial law until the end of the year.
  • 1611 Captain Samuel Argall kidnaps Pocahontas, daughter of Powhatan, and holds her for ransom.   Argall offers her freedom in exchange for English prisoners held by Powhatan.  Pocahontas is held first in Jamestown and then in other Virginia settlements where she becomes educated in the Christian faith.Painting of Pocahontas
  • 1614 Pocahontas is baptized, christened by the name of Rebecca, and marries John Rolfe, a successful tobacco planter. Rolfe cross-pollinates Indian tobacco with seeds brought over from England to make a sweeter tobacco that suits the taste of Europeans.  He begins sending tobacco to England.
  • 1616 Virginia colonists export 2,300 pounds of tobacco to England.
    • Rolfe takes Pocahontas and their young son, Thomas, to England. Seven months later, in March 1617 on the voyage home, Pocahontas dies, possibly of pneumonia.  The ship returns to England and Pocahontas is buried in a churchyard in Gravesend.
  • 1617 Only 400 of the 2,000 settlers who had arrived remain alive; only 200 are trained or fit enough to farm.  Most have trades – especially in the lumber, glass, and pottery services. Virginia colonists export 18,839 pounds of tobacco to England.
  • 1618  Virginia colonists export 49,528 pounds of tobacco to England.
  • 1619 The first Africans arrive in the “New World” as indentured servants. Two officials in Jamestown purchased them in exchange for food and supplies.
    • In July, the first representative assembly in the “New World” begins.  The Virginia Company orders the people of Jamestown “to establish one equal and uniform government over all Virginia” and to provide “just laws for the happy guiding and governing of the people there inhabiting.”   This is an attempt to give Englishmen in American certain rights and privileges, common to the mother country, that were guaranteed in the company charter; it is not intended to establish self government.  This first meeting is the beginning of the Virginia General Assembly and a forerunner of the U.S. Congress.
    • The first recorded laws concerning indentured servitude are passed in Jamestown during the first General Assembly.  Indentured servitude in Virginia allows English servants to be bought and sold freely, used as gambling stakes, transferred to another master through a will, and taken by the sheriff for satisfaction of his master’s debt.
    • The Virginia Company adopts a new policy for luring colonists to Virginia that allows individuals to own land for the first time since the settlement began.  Colonists who arrived before 1616 would receive 100 acres apiece “to be held by them and their heirs and assigns forever.”  Those who arrived later received 50 acres.  Tradesmen who chose to practice their trade rather than farm received four acres and a  house.  Investors, including investors who lived in the colony,  received additional land if they paid ship passage for indentured servants.  Indentured servants received their allotment after their service was completed.
  • 1620  A large number of women arrive in Jamestown – women recruited to become wives of the settlers.  This decision is indicative of a growing recognition that Jamestown must be more than just a commercial settlement and that in order to have a prosperous colony, it must be populated with families, women and children – and not just eager adventurers in constant need of supplies from home.  As the Treasurer of the Virginia Company,Sir Edwin Sandys wrote in 1620, “… the plantation can never flourish till families be planted and the respect of wives and children fix the people on the soil.”
  • 1622  In March, Powhatan’s brother, Openchankanaugh leads a devastating assault on colonial Virginia which became known as the first Anglo-Powhatan War.  More than one-third of all the colonists – 300 men, women, and children – are killed in one day.  Survivors are ordered to move into eight fortified settlements, one of which is Jamestown.
  • 1624  Due to colonial strife and low profits, King James I dissolves the Virginia Company and proclaims the Virginia settlements a royal colony.  Jamestown becomes part of the royal colony of Virginia.
    • John Smith publishes A General Historie of Virginia in which he includes narrative and sketches that cannot be verified by anyone living at the time. .
  • 1625 Jamestown population is 1,218 people out of 8,000 total who had immigrated over the past 19 years.  Of those, 942 were males, 276 were females; 60 percent were between 15-25 years of age – only 8% was 40 years or older; 40 percent were indentured servants.  All 23 black residents are servants.
  • 1640 The earliest recorded case of enslavement occurs when the General Court for running away tries three indentured servants.  The two white servants are punished by an additional four years of service.  The only black servant is forced to serve his master for the rest of his life.
  • 1643 Government becomes bicameral, forming two separate houses similar to the English Parliament.  The General Assembly becomes largely independent of England.
  • 1644   The second Anglo-Powhatan War takes place in Jamestown.  Somewhere between 400 and 500 colonists are killed.
  • 1646  Opechancanough is captured and killed.  The General Assembly boasted that the natives were “so routed and dispersed that they are no longer a nation, and we now suffer only from robbery by a few starved outlaws.”
  • 1661 Virginia institutionalizes slavery.
  • 1662 The General Assembly of Virginia passes a law, “All children born in this country shall be held bond or free only according to the condition of the mother.”  Thus, if the mother is enslaved, the child will be enslaved.
  • 1667 The General Assemblyof Virginia passes a law, “The conferring of baptism does not alter the condition of the person as to his bondage or freedom; that divers masters, freed from this doubt, may be more carefully endeavor the propagation of Christianity.”  Thus, a Christian could enslave another Christian.
  • 1669 The General Assembly of Virginia passes a law, “If any slave resists his master… and by the extremity of the correction should chance to die, that his death shall not be accompted a Felony, but the master… be acquitted from molestation since it cannot be presumed that proposed malice… should induce any man to destroy his own estate.”
  • 1676 Nathaniel Bacon Bacons Rebellioin illustrationand his black and white followers rebel against the stern rule of Governor William Berkeley and his handling of the frontier Indians.  Bacon’s troops attack and burn Jamestown in September, but Berkeley escapes to the Eastern Shore.  Bacon dies of dysentery soon thereafter and the rebellion ends without its leader. The aftermath results in the hanging of several dozen survivors and the loss of much of the General Assembly’s independence.
  • 1699  The capital of Virginia moves from Jamestown to Williamsburg.
  • 1893  The Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities (APVA) purchases 22.5 acres to preserve and interpret the site. Between 1893-1903, the first excavations uncovered the first Jamestown Church and the APVA rebuilt a replica.
  • 1934  Jamestown becomes a National Park on 1,500 acres, with all but the 22.5 owned by the APVA run by the National Park Service (NPS).
  • 1957 Virginia hosted an eight-month-long celebration known as the “Jamestown Festival” to commemorate the 350th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown. To boost tourism for the 350th aniversary, Virginia built the Jamestown Festival Park less than one mile away from the APVA Historic Jamestown site operated by the NPS. The Festival Park included an reconstruction of the second fort (1610) and reproductions of the three ships bringing the first settlers to Jamestown in 1607.
  • 1990 The Jamestown Festival Park was renamed Jamestown Settlement.
  • 1994  The first phase of the APVA’s Jamestown Rediscovery Project begins on the 22.5 acres it owns on the island.
  • 1996, APVA archaeologists found the remains of the first Jamestown Fort.
  • 2006 APVA – NPS Historic Jamestown – opened the Archearium Museum in 2006, which illustrates the archaeological story of 1607 Jamestown.
    • Jamestown Settlement opened a large exhibition hall
  • 2007  The 400 year anniversary of the founding of Jamestown was celebrated throughout Virginia.
  • 2012 The skull and other bones of “Jane”, found in a garbage pit dating to 1609, indicate that the 14-year-old died from starvation. A close investigation discovered over 20 hack and chop marks indicating that she was a victim of “survival cannabalism.”
  • 2017 The APVA site – Historic Jamestown – operated by the National Park Service exists a mile away from the Jamestown Settlement.
    • Historic Jamestown – operated by the National Park Service – is the site of the original Jamestown Fort built in 1607, the ongoing archaeological digs, and the Archearium Museum containing many of the 20,000 artifacts unearthed in the course of the APVA project.
    • Jamestown Settlement – a commercial endeavor – is the site of many recreated parts of Jamestown , its living history museum, and many reenactments of life in Jamestown.
    • The important thing to recognize is that the 46-acre Jamestown Settlement site is a living history museum with recreations of the Jamestown Fort, Powhatan Indian Village, and three ships; it is not the actual site of the original settlement. The original settlement is down the road at Historic Jamestown. Both compete for visitors.

Goal #5: Characteristics of the First Colonists at Jamestown and Plymouth

  • Most were young – over half were 25 years and under.
  • Most were male.
  • Most arrived alone – only 1/3 came to America with their families
  • Almost half were either indentured servants or slaves.
  • Very few were wealthy and most were of the “middling sort” – neither very rich nor very poor.
  • While all knew they could not immediately own land in many of the North America colonies, they knew they had a chance to improve their economic and social standings in a way that they could never accomplish in Europe.
  • The vast majority were English, Scot, and Irish.
  • Most worshiped in the Anglican Church; a smaller number were Calvinists.
  • These characteristics remained largely the same throughout much of the colonial era, with three exceptions:
    • More women arrive.
    • More families arrive.
    • More convicts arrive after the British Transportation Act of 1718 – about 50,000 convicts were shipped to the colonies, largely for non-capital offenses against property.  Almost 2/3 of them went to the Chesapeake Bay colonies.  (This number is far less than the 132,308 convict men and 24,960 convict women transported to Australia after the Americas outlawed transportation in 1776.)
  • Many who settled in New England were Puritans and Separatists

Meet the Puritans painting

The Puritans and Separatists – The Debate. After the Protestant Reformation, the biggest religious debate was about the proper way for a Christian to gain access to the will of God.

  • For Catholics and more conservative Protestants, the traditions of the church contained valid, time-honored additions to what was found in the Bible.  Given man’s fallen condition, no individual could presume to question the ancient, ceremonial truths of the established church.
  • For the Puritans, the church had been corrupted through centuries of greed and abuse.  Only the Bible provided a reliable account of Christ’s time on earth and the Old Testament contained a rich storehouse of vital truths.  If something was not in the scriptures, it was a man-made distortion of what God intended.

The Puritans  who began arriving in Boston in 1630  wanted to “purify” the Church of England.  Thus they..

  • Refused to sing hymns written by man, did not kneel while taking communion as there was no evidence that the apostles had done so during the Last Supper, did not make the sign of the cross when Puritansuttering Christ’s name, and did not recognize the system of bishops that ran the Church of England.
  • Began their congregations with a covenant (a term they took from the Bible) between a group of believers and God.  In turn, each congregation elected their ministers, all of whom were university-trained and who could be voted out by the congregation.
  • Believed that ever since the fall when Adam broke his covenant of works with God, man had been deserving of perpetual damnation.  God had since made a covenant with Christ and upon fulfillment of that covenant, offered grace to a small minority of people known as the Saints.
  • Believed that because the identity of the Saints had long since been determined by God (predestination), there was nothing anyone could do to win salvation.  No one could be entirely sure about who was one of the elect, but if a person was saved, he or she naturally lived a godly life.  Thus, their conduct might indicate whether or not they were saved.
  • Recognized states by which he or she might experience knowledge of redemption: God revealed to individuals the heights to which he/she must aspire and then the recipient experienced a profound sense of inadequacy and despair that served as a prelude to redemption or “saving grace.”

The Separatists (also known as the Pilgrims)  who settled Plymouth Colony in 1620  were Puritans who believed that the Church of England was not a true Church of Christ.  Thus they…

  • Took their cue from Paul’s admonition to “come out among them, and be separate.”
  • Believed painting of landing at Plymouththat if they were to remain true to their faith, they must form a church of what were known as visible Saints – members of the elect who upheld each other in the proper worship of God.
  • Excommunicated members of the congregation if they strayed from the true path and failed to correct themselves.
  • “Prophesied” after each sermon about religious doctrine in which they worked as a congregation in a passionate search for the truth.

Both Puritans and Separatists were…

  • Never sure where they stood in the eyes of God which contributed to constant introspection and the desire to achieve.
  • Subject to an essential tension between their inward, spiritual lives – am I serving God or am I going to hell – and their outward, secular lives – I need to make more money and I can only do that by focusing on material means.

Thematic Emphasis – Freedom is never free.

Goal #6: To explore the governance, economy, and social structure created during the 17th Century within each of three British colonial regions:  the New England Colonies, the Middle Colonies, and the Southern Colonies

California History-Social Science Framework (2016) – What was daily life like for those that settled in the southern colonies as opposed to New England? Why did seaport cities become more prominent in New England and the Middle Coloies, and what effect did this have on commerce in the regions? Why did planations dominate in the South while family farms flourished in New England? How did people work in the colonies? Why was New England settled as a religious refuge? How did New England compare to Virginia in terms of economy, political organization and social groups?

The 13 British colonies were founded and settled in many different ways. Additionally, the governance, economy, and social structure of each developed around the geographical realities of each colony. In turn, these geographical realities led to the gradual formation of three regional groups of colonies.map of 3 colonial regions

  • New England Colonies – Massachusetts (1620), Rhode Island (1636), Connecticut (1636), New Hampshire (1638).
  • Middle Colonies – New York (1664), Pennsylvania (1682), New Jersey (1664), Delaware (1638).
  • Southern Colonies – Virginia (1607), Maryland (1632), South Carolina (1663), North Carolina (1663), Georgia (1732).
  • Thematic Emphasis – The geography of North America greatly influenced our cultural, political, and economic history or Geography Matters!

Geography of the 13 colonies: If we examine the geography of the eastern seaboard, we have clear clues about what economic activities arose in each colonial region, what the colonists did for work, and how commerce effected each region. As we read this map, we will find the answers to our questions:

  1. How do you think daily life differed from those who settled in the southern colonies as opposed to those who settled in New England?
  2. Why do you think seaport cities become more prominent in New England and the Middle Colonies, and what effect did this have on commerce in the regions?
  3. Why do you think planations dominated in the South while family farms flourished in New England?

Map of geographical differences between colonies













The New England Colonies. – Plymouth (eventually part of Massachusetts), Connecticut, New Hampshire, Rhode Island.

Government. Three of the New England colonies began with corporate charters (Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island), and the fourth was a proprietary colony (New Hampshire). The New England colonies experienced much independence from Britain during their early years. By the 1690s – when all of the New England colonies were Royal Colonies under control of the Crown – each colony still retained much control through two vehicles:

  • Central governments, which were representative and responsive to the needs of the majority, and consisted of a governor and bicameral legislatureOfficials were annually elected by white, free men who were church members and had sought salvation.
  • Local government town meetings where all white male Church members who owned property gathered regularly to consensually decide matters of local importance.

Geography. The New England colonies were hilly and mountainous with many rivers and densely-timbered forests; the soil was rocky. The climate was the coldest within all three colonial regions because it is so far north; it had long, harsh winters and the shortest growing season. Map of New England coloniesThe abundant natural resources included fish, whales, trees, and furs.

Society. New England was the most homogenous of all the colonial regions with the vast majority of colonists being white Protestants. Society was also:

  • Hierarchical – prominent families owned the best land; inequality was believed to be God’s will.
  • Structured around Religious beliefs and values – religion determined social structure and maintained social order in a community where church and state closely related. Calvinist religions thrived throughout New England.  In every colony but Rhode Island, civil law required every settler to attend worship services on the Sabbath and every taxpayer to contribute to the support of the clergy.
  • Characterized by clustered settlements which encouraged the growth of strong vital communities and a rigorous sense of local order.
  • Composed of five groups: small farmers, craftsmen, merchants, servant, Indians.

Economy. New England’s economy was characterized by:

        • Small, family run farms and small household manufacturing endeavors. Farmland – typically 100-150 acres per family – consisted of fields adjacent to the clustered dwellings in town.
        • Self sufficient families who grew and produced most of what they required for survival.
        • Small towns surrounded by adjacent fields.
        • Division of labor. The farm economy was rigidly controlled by division of labor within the family: men were responsible for field work; women were responsible for housework, gardening, dairy, hen house, etc.  The reliance upon family farming meant little need for servants or slaves.
        • Manufacturing and exporting their natural resources

The Middle Colonies – New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware.

Government. Because New York was settled by the Dutch, Delaware by the Swedes, and New Jersey and Pennsylvania by the English, their governments initially developed according to the requirements of the mother country. By the 1660s, all came under control of England.  People lived in small settlements throughout the colonies which encouraged the growth of small towns run by county governments.The most democratic and inclusive of all colonial governments arose in Pennsylvania under the leadership of the Quakers and William Penn – all free men could vote, not just landholders and/or members of a recognized church.

Geography. The Middle Colonies had a wide variety of land types which included flat land with rich soil, coastal plains that spread to the Appalachian foothills, and many navigable waters The climate was milder than New England allowing for a longer growing season The abundant natural resources included timber, fur, and rich farmland.

Society. The Middle Colonies were the most diverse of all three regions. As such, they were:

  • Multicultural – people from many parts of Europe map of middle coloniesand Africa lived in the Middle Colonies. The population was culturally, linguistically, and spiritually diverse.
  • Somewhat equal for white men – almost every white, adult male owned land
  • Diverse in religious beliefs and cultural values. People in the Middle Colonies displayed more tolerance than the other two regions.
  • Composed of four groups: small farmers, craftsmen, merchants, service providers

‘ Economy. The Middle Colonies’ economy was characterized by:

  • Commercial enterprises with small farmers growing diversified crops and craftsmen and merchants providing many services and resources. By the 1630s, the Dutch had created a strong commercial economy throughout the Hudson valley and the Swedes had created an independent fur-trading community in the Delaware River Valley.
  • Small farms in rural areas and many service providers in the growing cities.
  • Manufacturing which included iron ore products – tools, kettles, nails and plows.
  • Trade – exported agricultural products and natural resources and imported European manufactured goods.

The Southern Colonies – Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia.

Government. Virginia was a corporate colony governed by a royal charter  giving the Virginia Company complete control over colonial governance until 1624 when Virginia became a royal colony; Maryland was a proprietary colony which gave its Catholic owners, the Calverts, the right to appoint all governors and to control the government. North and South Carolina and Georgia also began as proprietary colonies.

Geography. The geography of the Southern colonies included rivers with deep water estuaries and natural ocean ports. The geographyof the lower southern colonies included broad, coastal plains with rich soil. The climate was the warmest within all three colonial regions, and it allowed for map of southern coloniesthe longest growing season within the three colonial regions – 7 months. The natural resources included rich farmland and fish.

Society. Southern society was the most biracial of the three regions. Additional characteristics included:

  • Inequality – social, economic, and political inequality. The minority of European colonists consisted of free men and women; initially the majority consisted of laborers -indentured servants – and slaves, who by the early 1700s, were a significant proportion of the southern population.
  • Social stratification according to wealth as dictated by English tradition:  plantation owners; smaller landowners, merchants, and craftsmen; the servants; Indians; and slaves.
  • Five groups: landowners (large plantation and small farmers); merchants and craftsmen; servants; Indians; and slaves.

Economy. The Southern Colonies’ economy was characterized by:

  • Single crops – profitable, single crop farms growing tobacco, indigo, rice, hemp, and later on, cotton.
  • Slave labor. The quest for huge profits, which depended upon a constant source of cheap labor,  created an enormous slave population.
  • Rural areas with sparse settlements
  • Exports of agricultural goods

Goal #7: To think about the political, social, religious, economic, and geographical differences of the three colonial regions.

California History-Social Science Framework (2016) – What was daily life like for those that settled in the southern colonies as opposed to New England? Why did seaport cities become more prominent in New England and the Middle Coloies, and what effect did this have on commerce in the regions? Why did planations dominate in the South while family farms flourished in New England? How did people work in the colonies? Why was New England settled as a religious refuge? How did New England compare to Virginia in terms of economy, political organization and social groups?

map of colonial regional comparisons

Political differences: The British colonies initially were founded as either corporate colonies or as proprietary colonies.

  • Corporate colonies were issued a charter that the King granted to corporations and their stockholders. The charters stated that the king would appoint the colonial governor who arrived in in the colony with a set of instructions from the British Board of Trade. Each colony had its own legislature made up of a crown-appointed council of important citizens and an elected assembly. The assembly passed laws, but they had to be approved by the English government before they could go into effect.
    • Corporate colonies were Virginia, Plymouth (absorbed into Massachusetts in 1691), Rhode Island, and Connecticut.
  • Proprietary colonies were grants of land provided by a charter that was given to individuals or groups. These were used either to settle areas with British subjects at the proprietors’ expense or to help the Crown to repay a debt to, or bestow a favor upon, an important person. The land was titled in the proprietors’ name, not the king’s. The proprietors could appoint all officials; create courts, hear appeals, and pardon offenders; make laws and issue decrees; raise and command militia; and establish churches, ports, and towns. Proprietors had the opportunity to recoup their investment by collecting quitrents—annual land fees—from the settlers who had purchased land within these colonies.
    • Proprietary colonies were South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Maine (absorbed into Massachusetts in 1691), New Hampshire, Delaware, Pennsylvania.

In the mid-1600s the English crown began to convert the colonies from either corporate or proprietary status to a third type of colony –royal colonies. The main purpose of a royal colony was to benefit the English Crown. Thus, power was gradually taken away from the governors who thereafter were appointed by the king. Thus, colonies which had originally had a great deal of freedom with their governance, gradually lost such independence. Only Rhode Island and Connecticut were not converted to royal colonies and remained self-governing during the colonial period.

In terms of governance, there was a great deal of difference:

  • The Southern Colonies were ruled by the plantation elite who developed a political system that honored local laws and customs based upon their elite, socially-stratified beliefs.
  • The Middle Colonies were ruled by small town governments, each reflecting the diversity of settlement.
  • New England colonies were ruled by religious leaders through small town meetings

Social differences:

  • The Southern Colonies developed a socially-stratified society based upon English tradition. Society was bi-racial – white and black.
  • The Middle Colonies developed a highly diverse society based upon many diverse languages, religions, and cultures.  Society was multi-racial.
  • New England colonies developed a homogeneous society.  Society was mono-racial.

Map of colonial ethnic groups

Religious differences:

  • The Southern Colonies lived largely by the Anglican faith.  A few Quaker, Baptist, and Jewish communities arose, but their congregations were relatively small. Maryland began as a Catholic proprietary colony but never was able to attract a significant number of Catholics. Religion played almost no role in politics and the economy.
  • The Middle Colonies practiced a great deal of religious tolerance, accepting the beliefs of Quakers, Shakers, Presbyterians, Baptists, Anglicans, Congregationalists, Lutherans and Catholics.  Religion played a minor role in politics and the economy.
  • The New England Colonies largely practiced a strict Calvinist faith.  Religion dictated the political, economic, and social lives of most colonists.Map of colonial religions

Economic differences:

  • The Southern Colonies quickly became known for its plantation economy based on single crops – mainly tobacco and rice –that required slavery to bring in substantial profits.  The economy encouraged the growth of widely-dispersed, isolated settlements.
  • The Middle Colonies were more economically diverse, hosting small farmers, craftsmen, and merchants – all who depended on some sort of profit for their living.  This led to the growth of a diverse economy that required a large number of indentured servants.  The economy encouraged the growth of small, dispersed, but inner-connected settlements.
  • The New England colonies were economically homogeneous, hosting small, self sufficient farmers living on family-run farms and a few merchants.  The led to the growth of a homogeneous economy that depended on family and community labor rather than unfree labor. The economy encouraged the growth of close-knit, well-ordered, cluster towns.

Chart of economic pursuits in coloniesMap of colonial industries

Geographical differences:

Map of geographical differences between colonieschart of colonial geographic regions

Discussion Questions:

  1. What was daily life like for those that settled in the southern colonies as opposed to New England?
  2. Why did seaport cities become more prominent in New England and the Middle Colonies, and what effect did this have on commerce in the regions?
  3. Why did planations dominate in the South while family farms flourished in New England?
  4. How did people work in the colonies?
  5. Why was New England settled as a religious refuge?
  6. Why were the Middle Colonies so much more diverse than the New England and Southern Colonies?
  7. Were there any economic pursuits practiced in all three colonial regions? How and why did the geography favor such pursuits?

Goal #8: To reflect upon the similarities among the three colonial regions

While each colony and colonial region differed from one another, from the very beginning, the regions also shared some important similarities.map of global trade in colonies

  1. Most of the colonies were business enterprises financed by private companies or individuals. Most were expected to produce a profit.
  2. The colonists isolated themselves as much as possible from the Native Americans and created enclosed societies that were transplantations of the English world they left behind.
  3. The colonists believed themselves to be racially, culturally, and spiritually superior to Native Americans, as well as the slaves they imported from Africa.
  4. Each of the colonies developed class distinctions, largely between rich and poor, free and unfree, educated and uneducated.

In addition, there were two very important similarities, both of which bring our story full circle:

  1. The geography of the eastern seaboard influenced where people settled, what they did for a living, and how they were involved in commerce.
  2. From the beginning, the colonists were part of a global trading network. They could not effectively isolate themselves from the world around them – a world populated by Native peoples, as well as European colonists, explorers, traders, and missionaries. They were tied by trade to Europe, the Mediterranean, and Africa, as we can see by this map of colonial overseas trade.

Conclusions: Early British Settlement in the 13 Colonies

  1. Within the first century of European colonization in America, individual colonists had created strong governments, were involved in a wide array of agricultural and industrial activities, and had established societies that would forever shape the growth of the American continent. Theme: Ordinary and extraordinary people make history.
  2. Three types of colonial governments existed within the 13 colonies
    •  Royal colonies where the English monarch appointed governors and their councils.
    •  Proprietary colonies where the owners of the land determined the direction of government.
    •  Corporate colonies where corporations and their stockholders determined the direction of colonial government and economy.
  3. The geographical of North America’s eastern coast influenced the political, social, and economic growth of three distinct colonial regions – New England, Middle, and Southern. Theme: The geography of North America greatly influenced our social political, and economic history or Geography matters!
  4. Capitalism and corporations came to the colonies with the first colonists.  Because England initially left colonization to corporate and individual private initiative, a capitalistic economy quickly emerged whereby small farmers, artisans, merchants, and aristocrats worked for profit.  In time, some Americans created commercial monopolies that needed a constant source of dependent labor to augment their wealth.  Theme: “English America was a corporation before it was a colony”or Capitalism and corporations shaped our colonies.
  5. The primary mode of economic activity in colonial America was farming. The types of farming varied between the three colonial regions. In the Southern Colonies, the plantation economy that arose around tobacco made many large farmers wealthy, but it also required cheap and abundant labor – labor that began in Virginia with indentured servitude and within decades, evolved into the enslavement of Africans. Themes: Freedom is never free and Progress is not always progressive.
  6. Some amount of industrial production had also begun in the form of household manufacturing whereby families produced articles for their own use; and commercial industries for profit – fishing, lumbering, shipbuilding, flour milling, iron manufacturing.  All such industrial production had two things in common:
    • they took advantage of the cheap and abundant natural resources; and
    • they used simple manufacturing processes that required little capital to convert raw materials into crude products.
  7. A great deal of political, cultural , socio-economic, religious, racial, and national diversity already existed in America by the end of the 17th Century. Rather than creating a “melting pot” of peoples who blended into a distinctly American personality, such diversity created a bubbling cauldron of cultural, racial, and social differences which resulted in many conflicts during these early decades – conflicts between:
    • Protestants and Catholics
    • Religious dissidents and traditional forms of religion
    • European settlers and the indigenous peoples
    • Socioeconomic differences between people of different social and economic classes
    • People of different colors and nationalities
    • Theme: The diverse nature of American society makes us unique among nations or Americans are uniquely diverse people.
  8. Within the first few decades of settlement, European colonists began eliminating American Indian nations, as well as dispossessing and unempowering the American Indians who survived.  While beyond colonial boundaries, Indians still outnumbered the colonists, their social and economic power within colonial borders had diminished.
  9. A small but powerful spirit of tolerance arose in colonial North America within the Quaker community of Pennsylvania.
  10. Throughout all the colonies, there were very small but vocal voices of resistance that arose in response to the social, political, and economic status quo – Bacon’s Rebellion is the earliest example. Theme: Controversy, conflict, cooperation and compromise shaped our political world.







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