Differences Between New England and Chesapeake Settlers

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When first English settlers began arriving in America in the 1700's they mainly settled in two regions - New England and the Chesapeake. Even though both groups of people were English by origin, they had developed two very different societies. Each group had it's own beliefs and expectations of what they will find in this new world, and the results of their settlement were very different as well.

When the ship headed for Virginia left England in 1635, it was filled mostly with men in their twenties and thirties. The ship's name - "Merchant's Hope" very much explains the reason for which these people were heading to the New World. They were looking to find gold, silver and other riches there. Almost all of them had left their families in England to go forth with this opportunity for profit. These people did not think about permanently settling there, and very few of them had prepared for this trip as a whole. Over half of the people had died during the trip.

Captain John Smith said "There was no talk…but dig gold, wash gold, refine gold, load gold…", (History of Virginia). This statement basically summarizes what was happening in Virginia after the ship had arrived. Even though there was no gold found, many people established such industries as tobacco and indigo growing. Others desperate with their search for gold were not able to survive, and many of them died during the long, harsh winters. Soon after class differences developed among the settlers of Virginia. The Tidewater plantation owners had become very rich. They produced huge amounts of tobacco, and had a lot of indentured servants. The plantation owners had been the only lawmakers and voters in the colony. They passed laws in their own favor, but increased taxes for the farmers. They also protected Indian rights to maintain a prosperous fur trade.

On the other hand, Piedmont farmers had been left with smaller, less productive tobacco farms. They had very few indentured servants. They had no...
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