Colonial Era Essay

Topics: Thirteen Colonies, Former British colonies, New England Pages: 5 (1982 words) Published: January 12, 2012
Between the years of 1600-1754, three distinct regions were formed in the new world. The three main English settlement areas were categorized into the New England, Middle, and Southern group of colonies and all had major differences and events that led to their own identity. Many people moved to these new colonies to start a new life, try to make a large profit, or even to escape religious restrictions. These three areas provided a new place for people or families to start over and control their own futures, and this played a major role in history.

First, the New England Colonies played a very important part in the establishment of a new world. Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Hampshire made up this area. The Pilgrims first came in 1620 and founded Plymouth Colony, but later on the Puritans founded Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1630. Later on in 1691 the two colonies were combined into what was now called Massachusetts. Roger Williams founded Rhode Island in 1636, and it became a center for outcasts. Rhode Island was known as a charter colony, which meant they were self-governed. Connecticut was founded in 1638 by Puritans from Massachusetts under Thomas Hooker. Other colonists established the colony of New Haven, but that was absorbed into Connecticut in 1662. New Hampshire was originally part of Massachusetts, but separated in 1679 to form its own Royal Colony. Overall, most of the settlers in the New England Colonies were English. Many families and religious dissenters came, and most of the Puritans who came were farmers or tradesmen. But later on, about 50% of those who came to New England were indentured servants. Within the economy, most farms were self-sufficient farms. The average New England farm was small, and produced food primarily for the family with little left over for sale. Main crop was corn, but also grown was barley, rye, and a variety of fruits and vegetables. An important part of the economy also was Fishing off the Great Banks of Canada. Lumbering and ship building made use of the many forests in New England. Commerce and shipping were very important there, and the most famous trade route was one of the triangular trade routes. Along with the dense forests that were rich in timber, there was also many fur-bearing animals and numerous streams and waterfalls. Many harbors and offshore waters teemed with fish. There was good farmland, but the growing season was short due to long and severe winters. Along with shipbuilding, fishing, and lumbering, whaling was also a somewhat large industry. Whale oil brought high prices because it was used for the fuel in lamps. Distilling was also a way some colonists made a living. Molasses imported from the West Indies was used to manufacture millions of gallons of rum that were later sold in the African Slave Trade. New England carried on extensive trade with Europe, West Indies and other colonies. Grain, wheat, lumber and fish were brought to the West Indies in exchange for sugar, molasses, and fruit. These products were transported to England in exchange for manufactured goods. Those goods were sent to the colonies to be sold. These features led to a pretty strong beginning of the New England Colonies, and then they excelled even more in the years to come.

Next, the colonies of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware made up what was known as the Middle Colonies. The English were irritated by the Dutch in New Netherlands, and they viewed the area as part of its North American claim. This was the barrier that separated New England from the rest of the English speaking colonies in the South. This divided the colonies and they were not happy about it. When Charles I became the king of England, he granted New Netherlands to his brother, James, the Duke of York. In 1664 an English fleet sailed to New Amsterdam and demanded the surrender of New Netherlands. Peter Stuyvesant was the governor at the time, and...
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