Issues of Early American Settlement

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In the early settlement of America, disease and forced labor played a significant role. In the Spanish colonies from Florida and Southward, smallpox took an enormous toll on the conquerors and the native peoples. The so-called “black legend” regarding the Spanish and Portuguese was actually somewhat true, but also somewhat misleading. The concept held that “the conquerors merely butchered or tortured the Indians (‘killing for Christ’), stole their gold, infected them with smallpox, and left little but misery behind.” (Kennedy, p. 23) All of this was actually true – but that wasn’t all the conquerors did, and is therefore the error of the “black legend”. The Spanish and Portuguese conquerors built an enormous empire that spanned two continents. It was not just bad traits that they brought with them – they brought good things too, like culture. Soon, their culture would be integrated into the native societies, including the conquerors’ language, laws, and religion.

Later, during English colonization of the Eastern seaboard, disease played a large roll in the South – disease was apt to grow rampant in the warmer climes. As far as development, growing the economy through the means available (namely tobacco) meant that more labor would be needed. The Native Americans did not prove to be reliable labor because they mostly died when having come in contact with diseases their immunities were unprepared to conquer. Indentured servitude became commonplace, since slaves were then too expensive and England had a surplus of displaced farmers. By the end of the 18th century, around 100,000 indentured servants had been brought to the region by Chesapeake landowners. (Kennedy, p. 67)

The founding of the New England Colonies in comparison to the Middle Colonies is like night and day - as night and day are still upon the same Earth, so the differences between the founding of the Northern and Middle Colonies are upon the same premise: religion. The...
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