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Chesapeake vs. New England Colony Development

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Chesapeake vs. New England Colony Development

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  • September 18, 2008
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The English colonists who settled in New England and Chesapeake areas created societies with very different characteristics. Despite most of the colonists coming from the same mother country, the settlers traveled to America for separate reasons and thus maintained different lifestyles, which shaped the nature of each society. Since the English emigrants who colonized New England region came with their families and were motivated by religious observance and settlers of the Chesapeake came for economic reasons, two unique societies emerged by 1700.

Most of the settlers in New England were Puritans who left England during the Great Migration beginning in 1629. They did not agree with the principles of the Church of England and felt the need to purify themselves. As a result, hundreds of Puritans embarked on the journey to the New World, bringing along their families and deep-rooted piety to set up the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Their society was an attempt to create the model for an ideal community, enriched with religiosity and unity. In fact, the first governor of the colony, John Winthrop, referred to the community as a “city upon a hill”. He believed that the families had to knit together as one in order to achieve success in religion and business dealings. Even though religion was extremely important to the Puritans, commerce was also significant for they made decent profits for harvesting crops. Soon, towns and cities formed in the concentrated area.

Colonists of the Chesapeake Bay arrived in Virginia in the early 1600’s with the main purpose of acquiring wealth. Because almost all of the emigrants were men, family life was not very common. However, one common feature during the early years of the colony was the lust for gold. Captain John Smith, one of the first leaders of the Virginia colony, claims “there was no talk but dig gold, wash gold, refine gold…”. Soon, wealth became associated with the cash crop of tobacco. Plantation economy flourished in the...