Colonies

Tobacco in Jamestown

Key concepts you will learn about at this station:

Free Enterprise/Free Trade -The development of business and trade supported by the idea that government should not restrict business and trade activities.

Jamestown was settled in 1607, but within a year, in 1608, most of settlers had died from malaria or dysentery. Not only was the population dwindling, but England relied on the colonies’ economic exploits in order to keep supporting colonization. However, economically speaking, Jamestown was due for failure. They had tried silk making, glassmaking, lumber farming, sassafras, pitch and tar, and soap ashes, but were unable to find any success. Jamestown was almost sure to fail as an English colony if it had not been for a discovery by John Rolfe; tobacco farming.

Tobacco was native to North America and the West Indies, and up to that point, the Spanish had control of tobacco farming and the tobacco market. Although Virginia at the time did grow a small amount of tobacco, it was the Spanish variety that was favored by the English. Rolfe, who was married to the daughter of the Powhatan chief, Pocahontas, learned how to dry and cure the tobacco leaf, so that it smelled “smoked pleasant, sweete, and strong.”  Upon returning from a visit to the Caribbean, he planted tobacco and cured it the way he learned from Pocahontas, making the new crop of Virginia’s cash export crops. This in turn made Jamestown an important colony for the economy of Great Britain.

The life of an indentured servant

Key concepts you will learn about at this station:

Economic Opportunity -The strong belief that in America opportunities are available to better a person’s economic situation.

The many new opportunities in the English colonies called to many Europeans, some of whom were not able to afford the travel to the new world. Because of this, in return for food, shelter, and a paid trip across the Atlantic, they agreed to be indentured servants. Indentured servants agreed to work for their employer for about five to seven years, after which they were free to go live their own lives. From the 1630s to the time of the American Revolution, nearly one-half to two-thirds of all white immigrants in the New World were indentured servants.

The life of an indentured servant was not easy. He or she could not marry without permission of their master, and they were often subject to harsh physical punishments. If a female indentured servant became pregnant, her term of indenture was lengthened, to make sure she served out her entire term of service. Some indentured servants were also taken unwillingly from Europe, and made to work in the colonies without their consent.

 

Unlike slaves, however, indentured servants were guaranteed to be released from bondage eventually, at which time they would receive their “freedom dues” payment and become free citizens. The right to an indentured servant’s labor could be sold, meaning that they would have to work for another master, but the person as a piece of property could not be sold.

The house of burgesses

Key concepts you will learn about at this station:

Republicanism – People have a voice in government.

In 1619, the elected representatives from the Virginia Colony met to create what would become America’s first legislative body, the House of Burgesses. This democratically elected law-making body met from 1619 until the American Revolution, when the Virginia Constitution created a new General Assembly that replaced it. Many of America’s Founding Fathers were members of the House of Burgesses, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Richard Henry Lee, and Patrick Henry.

The following is a report on the manner of proceedings in the General Assembly convened at Jamestown.

 

 

The fight for new york

Key concepts you will learn about at this station:

War – In order for America to gain independence and maintain or expand its borders, war became inevitable

Negotiations – Often America had to negotiate in order to acquire territory.

New York, the state that contains the largest city in the United States, wasn’t always New York. The original English colonies were often grants of land from the English monarch to one of his constituents, and in this case, the king had awarded his brother, James, the Duke of York, a grant of land in the Americas. The problem was that part of this area was already claimed by the Dutch, who called it New Netherland.

In 1664, the English sent a fleet of warships to New Netherland to gain control of the land from the Dutch, who surrendered quickly. Seven years later, in 1673, the Dutch attempted to take back New Netherland, but after a year of fighting, the land was firmly in the hands of the English. The English renamed the area New York, after the king’s brother.

 

 

 

Population of the us colonies

Key concepts you will learn about at this station:

Economic Opportunity -The strong belief that in America opportunities are available to better a person’s economic situation.

The following tables illustrate the estimated population of the US colonies, from 1610 to 1780.

Year       Population

1610       350

1620       2,300

1630       4,600

1640       26,600

1650       50,400

1660 75,100

1670 111,900

1680 151,500

1690 210,400

1700 250,900

1710 331,700

1720 466,200

1730 629,400

1740 905,600

1750 1,170,800

1760 1,593,600

1770 2,148,100

1780 2,780,400

 

 

Differences between the colonies

Key concepts you will learn about at this station:

Diversity -There are a variety of people in America.

Labor Systems -The establishment of various systems of labor used in American business.

Economic Opportunity -The strong belief that in America opportunities are available to better a person’s economic situation.