The Planting of English America, 1500 to 1733
What were the characteristics of the government and the economy in the Southern Colonies?
Since the area was not colonized by Spain and France, England established colonies along the southern Atlantic coast.
The earliest successful English colony in North America was Jamestown, founded in 1607 in what is now Virginia.
Jamestown colonists built a fort soon after they arrived. John Smith emerged as a leader of the colony.
The first English colonies were founded by investors who sought to promote English interests and make a profit.
After getting a charter, or certificate of permission from the king, they formed joint-stock companies, which allowed them to share the profit or divide the loss. In the 1580s, the first two English colonies in Roanoke failed, but in 1607, the Virginia Company, a group of wealthy London merchants, founded Jamestown
Early Jamestown colony life held promise and challenge.
Located on the Chesapeake Bay, the colony had fertile land and navigable rivers. Nearby swamps provided some protection from Indians but also bred mosquitoes that spread malaria. Colonists initially suffered from disease and
hunger; some early colonists refused to farm and instead searched for gold and silver.
The thirty Indian tribes living in the area had a powerful leader, Chief Powhatan, who tried to avoid confrontation and to contain the colonists. But the colonists wanted Indian land. War broke out in 1609.
Powhatan’s daughter, Pocahontas, was captured by the English. She later married Englishman John Rolfe.
Powhatan reluctantly made peace after four wearying years of war.
Jamestown began to thrive thanks to the cultivation of a new crop.
Led by John Rolfe, the colonists learned to grow tobacco, which was very popular in Europe.
By 1640, the Chesapeake area was the principal supplier of tobacco to Europe.
In 1619, the Virginia Company offered free land in Virginia to people in England.
According to the headright system, anyone who paid their own or someone else’s way to Virginia received 50 acres of land for free. Wealthy people amassed large plantations under this system.
In 1619, the Virginia Company allowed colonists to form the House of Burgesses, the first representative body in colonial America. It had power to make laws and raise taxes (subject to gubernatorial approval). Eventually, Virginia became a royal colony, but the House of Burgesses remained
Ownership Structure of English Southern Colonies
Most of the colonies – royal or proprietary – had governing elected assemblies which could make laws and raise taxes.
The colony belonged to the king of England.
The governor was appointed by the king.
The colony belonged to wealthy individuals who first raised and invested money to start the colony. The governor was usually a powerful individual in the group that started the
The colonist expansion in Virginia led to wars over land with the Indians.
1622: Indians killed nearly one third of the colonists. But the colonists defeated the Indians and took more land
1644: Intense fighting and disease killed hundreds of colonists and thousands of Indians
1670: The population of Virginia Algonquians fell to 2,000; the number of colonists increased to 41,000
The pressures of a growing settler population spurred Bacon’s Rebellion (1676) in Virginia.
Royal governor William Berkeley raised taxes and refused to exterminate the Indians.
Nathaniel Bacon organized colonists and attacked the Indians.
Then, Bacon marched on Jamestown, the seat of government, and burned it.
Bacon’s Rebellion Part 2
Bacon suddenly died and the rebellion collapsed
• A new royal governor was appointed; taxes were lowered, government was more limited, and westward expansion was protected
• Unintended consequence: expansion of slavery
By 1732, England had five colonies in the southern portion of North America.
Maryland was the only Southern colony founded for religious reasons.
Proprietary colony founded in 1632 as a refuge for English Catholics. Owned and governed by the younger Lord
Baltimore (Cecil Calvert), it allowed slavery, and tobacco was the main crop. The Toleration Act of 1649 guaranteed freedom of worship for only Christians
The Carolinas (named after King Charles II) were mostly tobacco and rice plantations. Inhospitable climate and geography hurt growth of colony.
1670 – Proprietary colony founded
1691 – Divided into North and South Carolina
1729 – Both became royal colonies
The beginnings of the Georgia Colony occurred in 1732.
Proprietary colony founded by James Oglethorpe as a haven for debtors. Poor growth due to dangerous border, land ownership limits, prohibition of slavery and liquor.
England hoped that Georgia would prevent the expansion of Spain’s Florida colony – a strategic buffer. Eventual liberalization of policies led to growth and prosperity
Changes later occurred in the Georgia Colony:
Settlers protested the strict rules
The colony became a royal colony in 1752
Laws against were abolished