Chesapeake Colonies

594 words | 2 page(s)

England made the decision to colonize North America for a multitude of reasons. There was the competition with Spain to become a world power, the opportunity to import raw materials their nation did not possess and the markets to sell their products in. Also, there was the rise of the number of the poor in England and the desire of some their citizens to pursue religious freedom. The two areas they concentrated on where the Chesapeake Bay and the shores of New England. Eventually both these distinct arenas blended to cast off the English yoke of dominance during the Revolutionary War, but these areas were distinctly different and also similar. Their variations, however, stemmed from the very reasons the settlers decided to attempt the hazardous journey across the Atlantic Ocean. For those of the New England colonies, their primary concern was religious freedom, while the Chesapeake Bay colonists were to further their positions in life financially, politically and to improve their positions of social standing. (Digital History, Web)

The Chesapeake settlements encompassed Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey with the first successful colony being established by the British at Jamestown in 1607. These inhabitants set foot on North American lands in pursuit of wealth through precious metals, furs and that long sought after route to the Far East. As a result of their aims, the group nearly was rendered extinct because they did not spend their time procuring food or adapting the new environs. They were in pursuit of wealth they could carry with them back to the mother country. They only reason they survived was due to the aid of the Powhatan Indians, who taught them how to cultivate corn and tobacco.

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The Massachusetts Bay Colony, Plymouth, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New Haven comprised the New England settlements. These populations were predominantly of the Puritan faith and sought succor from persecution for their religious choice. During the reign of Henry VIII, the Anglican Church broke away from the Catholic Church, so the Protestant beliefs came to dominate the religious landscape in England. There were, however, a group of people that were much more radical in their faith that were classified as “Separatists” as well as Catholics that felt displaced in their quest to continue to their lifestyle. These individuals were the ones that traveled to New England and their aims were not of a financial nature, unlike their Chesapeake Bay colleagues. They wanted to worship freely without any constraints from the English government and pursued economic activities that were similar to the country of their birth. (Digital History, Web)

As the colonies developed, the constitution of their populations also was extremely different. The New England colonies arrived to pursue religious freedom, but became very closed minded towards others that did not share their viewpoint. The Chesapeake colonies, however, began to import African-American slaves for the financial gain of working their large agriculture endeavors in tobacco and cotton. The lifestyles, viewpoints and accomplishments of both sets of colonies were vastly different to say the last but that was a result of the reasons they settled in North America. The only true similarity developed into a common bond when the colonies fought England for their independence. That would be they had established their own civilizations, with their own values and no longer felt a bond with England. Although they did possess such variation, ultimately, they felt a commonality when it came time for the birth of a new nation, because they shared the thought of no longer being subjects of the British Crown. (Digital History, Web)

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