The settlers of the Chesapeake region of America were an extremely fascinating bunch. Despite many hardships, they set the stage for the American South for the next two centuries, and achieved a lot with precious little. It is simply amazing to think of how anyone could have stayed alive in a foreign land surrounded by the unknown, with no friends and family to help and guide them.
The majority of the colonists that moved to the Chesapeake region of Maryland and Virginia were laborers, that owed years of work to pay off their expense for relocating to the New World. They consisted of young men for the most part, with only a small number of females in the beginning years. Unfortunately, many of the new colonists didn't even live to see their freedom; disease befell a huge number of them very shortly after arriving. While New England colonists lived a long life much like we do today, colonists of the Chesapeake region simply did not have that same fortune.
The end of the century showed life expectancy rates increasing, and although other factors played a part in this, it is also known that more and more women settlers were arriving in the region. Where this could be simply a coincidence, it definitely could not have hurt! I am sure happiness in the home coupled with financial success played a large part in the colonists' increasing longevity.
The majority of freeman and laborers alike grew what was in demand at that time -- tobacco. Some men were successful, but most lived in near poverty. Freemen rarely worked for others, choosing to try to cultivate their own crops. In result, the region was very unorganized, and every man was for himself. Towns were not needed, nor were they present in this time, as planters had no need to trade their goods with other planters for profit. Families were not common in those days, as women were few and far between, and childbirth was extremely dangerous. There was also no need for schools; too many...
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