Monday, January 28, 2013

So, What Made The New England Colonies Different?

After having written about both the New England colonies and the Chesapeake colonies, what are some ways in which the New England colonies were different?

The New England colonies differed greatly from those of the Chesapeake in many ways. The Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay colonies were unique in that, unlike the Dutch, French, Spanish, and the Jamestown settlers, the Puritans and Separatists came to North America in family units. Although all of the early settlers faced hardships, the New England colonists came prepared to stay for a long period of time--they built proper shelter, they learned to farm and fish in the new climate, and they built a comraderous relationship with the Natives who occupied the area.

The Spanish and the settlers of Jamestown sought three things when they came to the Americas: God, glory, and gold. They were sent to search for gold and make their respective mother countries rich, they were expected to convert the Natives to the respective religions, and they wanted to make names for themselves (thus, glory).

The French and Dutch were primarily interested in trade and making moolah, although the French did make attempts to convert the Natives to Catholicism.

So, that's about it. Stay tuned for more posts soon!

Additional Expansion in British North America

In the era leading up to the French and Indian War, the British were known for their land expansion in North America. In this blog post, I will discuss the expansion that was occurring in Pennsylvania, the Carolinas, and a brief description of the Transatlantic "Triangle" slave trade.

  • In 1681, King Chalrles II grants William Penn and his family a huge tract of land as a payment of debt. Penn, unlike other land grantees, bought the land from the indigenous residents and attempted to work in partnership with them. Pennsylvania was much less violent than other English colonies in its early settlement.
  • Pennsylvania was religiously liberal (the colonists had freedom of conscience and worship) and was politically inclusive by the standards of the time.
  • Virtuous citizens were the foundation of Penn's society.
  • An elected assembly, inclusive suffrage laws, and relatively inexpensive land meant that most Pennsylvania free men could vote in local elections.
  • Pennsylvania was a major exporter of grain to the Caribbean and had a deep water port (Philadelphia). The population grows rapidly and attracts people from all over Europe--particularly German-speaking Protestants.
The Carolinas
  • The Lord's Proprietor (which I'm going to refer to as LP for the remainder of this post)
    • Sugar planters from Barbados have gotten exceptionally rich off of the sugar trade in the 1640s and 1650s.
    • They are the wealthiest men in the kingdom. When Charles II comes to power, the LP will get whatever they want, politically speaking.
    • They bankroll the Second Anglo-Dutch War; Charles II gives eight of them huge land grants in North America (and they act as a barrier to Spanish northward expansion).
    • Carolina--a huge land grant--included the present states of North and South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas, a small part of Missouri, most of Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona, the southern half of California, the southern tip of Nevada, the northern part of Florida, and a slice of northern Mexico. Wow, that's a lot of land!

  • Making Carolina Pay
    • The LP created a vertically organized set of businesses that connect all aspects of their Atlantic trade interests--some in Africa, some in England, and some in Barbados.
    • They invested in shipping lines, they were given a monopoly on the slave trade, and they began to import massive numbers of slaves to the Caribbean and mainland; they bought sawmills for the pine trees on their land in Carolina (and used timber and pine tar to build more ships); they opened gun works and cloth works in England (so they could manufacture the goods that they would trade in exchange for African slaves); they bought rice and beef from planters in Carolina and fed their workers in the Caribbean.

Before I give you some information about the "Triange Trade" (also known as Trans-Atlantic Trade, Atlantic Trade, Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, and Atlantic Slave really can't go wrong here), I would like to pose a question. I will not be giving my answer, it's just something to think about for in/when you read this, learn about this subject in school, or study it on your own: Which came first: slavery or racism?

The "Triange Trade" Develops
  • Bristol became the second largest city in England--merchant capital--importer of all colonial goods (rum, sugar, tobacco, etc), source of English colonial credit, huge naval base, slaving ships, armories, and textile works.
  • Africa--slaves are exchanged for guns, cloth, and rum
  • Caribbean--slaves are purchased and sugar is produced to be sold elsewhere
  • Coast of mainland North America--slaves are purchased, tobacco is planted and harvested, sugar is turned into rum, and English goods are dropped off
The Royal African Company shipped about 100,000 Africans to North America between 1672 to 1689. After they lost the monopoly in 1692, Bristol merchants imported slaves even faster.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Colonies in Crisis continued...

Continuing from the previous "Colonies in Crisis" post...

Why did the English want the Hudson Valley?
  • Security--the Hudson Valley was the backdoor to Massachusetts Bay and they had a very heavily armed military power (Five Nations of the Iroquois) on the border.
  • Territory--the English were interested in expanding their territory. They out-numbered the Dutch and were already setting up towns in Western Massachusetts, but they wanted more land.
  • Trade--the port at the end of the Hudson could provide military and trade advantages; there were also bountiful beaver populations which the English could make money by hunting them, skinning them, and selling their pelts to make hats and other clothing items for the people over in England.
  • Food production--the Hudson could be used to export food to the English landholdings in the Caribbean Islands.
The First Anglo-Dutch War (1652--1654): A Global War with Local Effects
  • The Dutch West India Company (DWIC) realized that the English of Massachusetts Bay out-numbered them greatly and were looking to take control of the Hudson Valley.
  • The Dutch strengthened the upriver site of Fort Orange (which had been is serious disrepair) and repaired the wall around their settlement in the New Amsterdam (the wall is where Wall Street in New York City gets its name).
  • The DWIC also stepped up its munitions trade with the Mohawks, depending on them to be a "wall of flesh" against the English.
  • Dutched tried to prove that they are actually in control of the Hudson Valley by the leading attacks on the Esopus Indians (located near modern-day Kingston, NY)--this decade of warfare goes so badly for the Dutch that they demonstrated their weakness and ineptitude, not their strength.  
The International Rivalry Heats Up: England and the Netherlands Go At It Again in the 1660s
  • In 1660, King Charles II is invited back to power at the death of Cromwell. Charles had been a refugee for 12 years and lacks administration experience.
  • With a weak king in charge of a nation, there are sure to be many problems. Poplation is still divided as a legacy of the recent Civil War, unemployment (although getting better) is still high; the kingdom is broke and he needs money but cannot tax. England has lost ground in a colonial race to claim North America and Africa because of Dutch gains.
  • He needs friends to keep him in power and money to finance the war.
  • The people who were in a position to loan him money were merchants with extensive investments in the Caribbean.
  • In exchange for loaning money, they want:
    • more land in the Caribbean
    • lands on the mainland on which to grant freedom dues for former indentured servants and on which to grow crops to feed their workers
    • unlimited access to slave trading in Africa (controlled by the Dutch)
    • secure shipping lanes for their global investments
  • All of these conditions argue for war with the Dutch. Again, a global war with local effects. In 1664, the English take the Hudson.
English Takeover and its Effect
  • The Dutch lose the Hudson as part of the Second Anglo-Dutch War in 1664
  • The Puritans living on Long Island rowed over to take over Manhattan without firing a single shot.
  • The resident population is not interested in loyalty--they want to make money and believe that they can do that jst as well with an English colonial governor as they have been doing with a Dutch colonial governor.
  • The reason for the name New York was because the colony of New Netherland was given to James, Duke of York.
  • At first, the English administration leaves the Dutch property and trade laws in place, which was especially good for frontier tradespeople and tenant farmers. This lead to pluralism (diversity if views), but with soldiers to protect them and not being terribly loyal to the Dutch government anyhow, this was a profitable and fairly easy transformation for people used to doing international business in other nation's territories.
Long-term Consequences of the Anglo-Dutch Wars for North America
  • The English consolidate coastal areas of middle North America; they are able to get vital naval building supplies and can thus better control the shipping lanes.
  • The imperial contest in North America will hereafter be between the Spanish (Florida and west of the Mississippi River), the French (Mississippi Valley, Great Lakes, and Canada), and the English (mostly centered within 100 miles of the Atlantic coastline).
  • The Dutch will remain an international powerhouse, but not in North America. They will be redirected to the more lucrative areas of the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean.
  • The Dutch lost control of the monopoly on the African slave trade. The English will develop the Royal African Company and many more slaves will be directed from Africa to colonial America.
  • Although they have not been good at it in the past, the English now have to manage diversity of all kinds.

I think this is a good place to stop with this particular blog entry, and I hope it keeps you yearning for more historical knowledge but also tides you over until the next entry. I cannot guarantee that I will be able to post it soon, as I start classes for the spring semester on Monday, but I hope to have the time to post entries on a semi-regular basis.

Monday, January 7, 2013


I logged in for a minute to see when I posted my last entry since I knew it had been a while, and just wanted to say that I think it's amazing this little blog has received almost 52,000 views! To my followers and to the others who have stopped by and checked out this blog, thank you for your support! It's almost midnight and I'm exhausted, but there WILL be at least one new (and relevant) post here tomorrow!

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