Pocahontas John Winthrop
During the seventeenth century two colonial systems existed in North America and in the Caribbean. Island and Southwest borderland provinces governed by Spain continued to flourish and provide an interesting counterpoint to colonies established by the British. Before 1660, most British provinces began as private ventures (with charters from the king), but the motives that brought them into being were as varied as the sociopolitical systems they developed. After 1660, proprietary colonies became the norm, and charters indicated a closer tie between the owners of the colony and the king, who granted them. As a result of this colonization effort, by the 1680s England had an unbroken string of provinces stretching from Canada to the Savannah River and holdings in the West Indies. As the colonies matured, their inhabitants began to exhibit a concern for control of local affairs and an independence of interests that eventually came to trouble the British Empire. It was a time when colonists began to sense that they were both English and American, a dual personality that was to lead to trouble and confusion on both sides of the Atlantic. The problem was that at the time, the American colonists were developing attitudes and institutions distinctly, England, fully aware of the potential of its colonies, began to tighten its control of its possessions.
Brinkley, Alan (2007). American history: A survey. New York, New York: McGraw Hill.
The Atlantic Coast to 1660
1517 Martin Luther initiates the Protestant Reformation in Germany.
1509-47 Reign of Henry VIII witnesses the beginning of Protestant Reformation in England.
1553-58 Queen Mary returns England to the Catholic Church.
1558-1603 English economy, culture, and sea power flourish under Queen Elizabeth I.
1580 Sir Francis Drake circumnavigates the globe under the flag of England.
1585-90 Roanoke, first English colony in America, struggles to survive and then disappears.
1588 English navy defeats the Spanish Armada.
1606 The French found New France.
1607 The English plant their first successful colony at Jamestown, Virginia.
1609-10 Virginians suffer during the "starving time."
1612 John Rolfe introduces tobacco to Virginia.
1620 Separatists found Plymouth Colony in New England and adopt Mayflower Compact.
1622 Indian attack, led by Opechancanough, devastates Virginia.
1624 Virginia loses its charter and becomes England?s first royal colony.
Dutch found New Netherland.
1630 Puritans found Massachusetts Bay Colony.
1638 Swedish found New Sweden.
1653-59 Oliver Cromwell heads the English Protectorate after the execution of King Charles I.
Religion: Religion or its absence played an important role in the settlement of all the North American colonies. Religious freedom was not a dominant feature of the early colonies, but Rhode Island was founded with that as a principle. The many denominations founded in the post-Reformation era assured that diversity would characterize religion in the Americas.
Demographic Changes: The contrast between success in New England and Virginia is most evident in demographic data. New Englanders emigrated in family groups, settled in a relatively healthy climate with compact settlement, and enjoyed a long life expectancy. In contrast, Virginians were mostly male, settled in a disease-ridden environment with dispersed settlement, and suffered high mortality. Immigration continued throughout the seventeenth century and westward migration continued as the century progressed.
American Identity: The Puritan idea of creating a "city on a hill" as an example to a corrupt England embedded a sense of mission into the American identity. The Puritans wished to transmit their idea of utopia to the rest of the world. Other distinct characteristics established during this early period were slavery, democratic foundations, and ethnic and religious diversity.
American Diversity: Although England sponsored settlement in the North American colonies, settlers came from throughout Europe, the Caribbean, and Africa to live with Native Americans. Africans quickly became an underclass upon which a system of white superiority was based throughout the colonies. The Scots-Irish, resistant to authority in their European homes, settled in western frontier areas away from imperial and colonial control. In the middle and southern colonies a variety of people from mainland Europe settled and created a heterogeneous population.
Environment: The abundance of land differentiated America from Europe. It led Americans to use and then abandon resources rather than to conserve and reuse them. Coastal lands were abandoned and farmers moved to the west. Population growth and the clearing of lands eliminated forests and created pollution in the increasingly densely populated seaports.
George, J. & Brown, J. (2007). AP achiever: Advanced placement american history exam preparation guide. McGraw Hill.
The economic, religious, and social developments that led Europeans to colonize new lands; the differences between Spanish, French, and English colonization; and the difficulties they encountered as a result of the varied climates and topographies.
As the American character begins to take shape in the early seventeenth century, English settlements develop in New England and Virginia. Their personalities are dramatically different. Professor Miller explores the origins of values, cultures, and economies that have collided in the North and South throughout the American story.