Chapter 8

Sailing to a New Home: 1492-1690

In This Chapter

● Planting the United States, one state at a time

● Seeing how early Americans made a living

● Getting into the political, economic, and social minds of the early Americans

When Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492, he almost ended up in a great big stew. He landed half a world away from where he was heading (he originally intended to land in Asia, in the East Indies), and he got to the Bahamas but forgot his swimming suit. These missteps were forgiven after the Spanish found gold and realized that they’d discovered a whole new world, which was named for explorer-mapmaker Amerigo Vespucci. Maybe the song should say “God Bless Vespucciland,” but America sounds better. (See more about Columbus later in this chapter.)

When European nations established colonies in America, the Spanish chose first and went south, where they found gold and silver. The British had a little navigation problem getting through the Spanish Armada, but eventually they went north and found mostly rocks and swamps. Clearing their way through American Indians, the Dutch, and some mighty lean years, British settlers built homes and livings in unique ways in different colonies. These colonies forged a particular trend toward freedom, even while slavery grew. This trend helped make the New World a major influence on the whole world.

Don’t miss the forest for the trees. The AP exam concentrates on overall political, economic, and social (PES) trends, not so much on individual personal or state history. You need the whole story to have PES ammunition for writing essays. Don’t try so hard to memorize everything that you lose the big picture.

In this chapter, you discover history from Columbus through the establishment of all the early colonies, all the way to the Salem witch trials on the eve of the 1700s. Pay special attention to early U.S. colonial trends; questions about this period are bound to show up on the big AP test.

Europeans Settle into the New World

Explorer Christopher Columbus (1492) was a little late and a lot short. He originally intended to land in the East Indies, but after six weeks at sea, the East Indies were still a cool 10,000 miles away, and his sailors were beginning to get a little testy. Just when Columbus looked as though he may end up on the sharp end of a pike, over the horizon loomed history’s greatest consolation prize, the New World of North and South America.

The AP U.S. History exam isn’t going to dwell much on Columbus. He gets too much competition from Leif Eriksson and his voyaging Vikings of 1000 CE for first-discoverer naming rights. The AP likes to concentrate instead on What It All Meant. Columbus in 1492 was important because he represented the beginning of permanent settlement in the New World.

Finding the New World changes the whole World

The settlement that began with Columbus eventually changed nearly all the world’s continents in the following ways:

● North and South America through conquest and new communities

● Europe through gold and food from the Americas

● Africa through slavery and trade

● Asia, Australia, and the South Seas through commerce encouraged by New World discoveries

The New World was actually more of a team effort: Europe provided the money and the markets; Africa furnished a lot of the labor; and the New World produced gold and land for growing high-profit, bad-for-you crops like sugar cane and tobacco. Additionally, more than half of all the food grown in the world today originated in the New World. Fed by potatoes, tomatoes, corn, and beans first grown in the Americas, the population of Europe doubled. Although Africa suffered from slavery, it also benefited from new foods like cassava and sweet potatoes. For better or worse, the whole world became new.

In addition to colonization, the biggest impact that the European colonists had on the New World was the introduction of diseases against which American Indians had no defense. Within a few hundred years of the October morning when Columbus’ ship sighted land, as much as 90 percent of the American Indian population was dead. This situation made the conquest of America much easier for the Europeans, leaving room for settlement, not just military victory. Many of the American Indians whom the Europeans did meet were dazed and confused survivors of ancient cultures that had been lost forever. Tribes moved and intermingled, but they had limited resources for taking united action against the European invaders.

Settling in With the Spanish and Portuguese

Before colonizing America, Europeans had been fighting one another for hundreds of years. Due to some smooth-sailing explorers, Spain and Portugal were in the lead for international conquest moving into the late 1400s.

So that these two leading-explorer countries wouldn’t step on each other’s toes, the pope helpfully issued a decree in the year after Columbus’ first voyage, dividing the New World between Spain and Portugal. Because the pope’s line managed to miss pretty much all the land, leaving Portugal holding nothing but waves, the two countries got together and amicably signed the Treaty of Tordesillas (1494). This agreement moved the dividing line a few hundred miles west, so that Portugal at least got Brazil, plus a little bonus land in Africa and Asia. Spain got the rest of the “heathen” world and immediately got down to some heavy-duty conquistadoring.

Spanish explorers spent a lot of time in hot armor looking for gold. Some looked in all the wrong places in North America, but all managed to make some interesting discoveries:

● Vasco Balboa (1513) made it across Panama to become the first European to wade into the Pacific Ocean. He found pineapples and pearls.

● Ferdinand Magellan (1519) sailed west from Spain with five small boats and an international crew of Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, French, English, and German sailors. After making it around South America (the Strait of Magellan is named for him), he died in the Philippines, but a few members of his crew made it all the way around the world and home again in 1522 with a cargo of cinnamon and cloves.

● Ponce de Leon (1513) checked out Florida.

● Francisco Coronado (1540) spent years marching around the Southwest. Coronado found the Grand Canyon and millions of buffalo but nothing he could put in the bank.

● Hernando de Soto (1539), with 600 men in bright armor, checked out the middle South. De Soto ended up sunk in the Mississippi River, but after three years, a few of his men made it back wearing animal skins.

● Francisco Pizarro (1532) persuaded the Incan king to turn over his gold and then turned over his whole kingdom looking for more.

● Hernan Cortes (1519) took over the Aztec Empire, centered in Mexico City, happily trading the lives of his men and thousands of natives for gold. For variety, the mines in what’s now Bolivia produced tons of silver.

Soon, Spain and the rest of Europe were glittering with precious metal. New World treasure made Europe rich. Having money to explore, trade, and conquer made Europe even richer.

Bringing Christianity to the New World

The encomienda system assigned groups of American Indians to colonists who were supposed to Christianize them but who actually used them as slaves. Conquistadores signed agreements with the Spanish king, raised money from investors, and then marched off looking for plunder. Only about 10,000 of these mercenaries existed, but they had guns, horses, and no hesitation about killing anybody who got in their way. To turn a profit for themselves and their investors, the conquistadores were experts at getting American Indians to fight one another. Many sincerely believed they were bringing the gift of true Christianity to a savage world; any gold they picked up along the way must be their just reward.

A Black Legend historical theme popular in the 1900s said that the Spanish killed, raped, and looted for treasure, leaving nothing but suffering behind. Although some Spaniards certainly were cruel and greedy, Spain hardly had a monopoly on those bad habits. Spanish settlers who thought they were spreading the word of God founded missions and settlements in places that had no gold, including New Mexico and California. (Ironically, gold was discovered in California just nine days before Spain’s successor, Mexico, turned the territory over to the United States.)

Blending cultures and blending people

The conquerors also married American Indian women. The women converted to Catholicism, couples got married, and the Spanish-American Indian children were called mestizos. This wonderful mixture of cultures forms much of the population of Mexico, Central America, and South America to this day.

La Malinche was a native Aztec woman who accompanied Hernan Cortes and played an active role in the Spanish conquest of Mexico. La Malinche smoothed the way for Cortes as an interpreter and intermediary. She also was the mother of Cortes’ son, who’s considered one of the first mestizos. In Mexico today, people both love and hate La Malinche. She’s remembered alternately as a traitor, a sellout, a heroine who helped save at least some of the

Aztecs, and the symbolic mother of the new Mexican people. The Mexicans also celebrate Columbus Day as Dia de la Raza — the birthday of what they see as their whole new race of people.

Spaniards’ ideas of civilization often backfired on them. The Pueblo Revolt, also known as Pope’s Rebellion (1680), was an American Indian uprising in New Mexico that killed hundreds of Spanish settlers and priests. The American Indians rebuilt their sacred kiva (ceremonial chamber) on the ruins of the Spanish plaza in Santa Fe; Spain needed almost 30 years to regain control. In the New World as a whole, the influence of a Spanish culture willing to intermarry with native society is still evident from San Francisco 8,000 miles south to the tip of South America.

Dealing with pirates of the Caribbean

No more than 50 years after Columbus discovered the Bahamas, hundreds of small Spanish and mestizo towns had sprung up, especially near the gold and silver in Mexico and Peru. The Spanish founded the first universities in the New World, 85 years before the English got around to starting Harvard. In fact, the Spanish get the credit for the first permanent town in what would become the United States. They built a fort at St. Augustine, Florida (1565), way before Disney World came around. The Spanish fortified St. Augustine to hold off real-life pirates of the Caribbean.

All that Spanish treasure attracted fortune hunters with ships who didn’t mind stealing from the Spanish (who had stolen it from the natives anyway). Privateers (a name they preferred to pirates) operated from around 1560 to the mid-1760s. The period during which pirates were most successful was the 1640s through the 1680s. Caribbean piracy arose out of conflicts over trade and colonization among the rival European powers, including England, Spain, Holland, Portugal, and France. Most of the privateers who had permission from their governments to attack foreign ships were from Holland and England.

Because Spain controlled most of the Caribbean, most of the attacked cities and ships belonged to the Spanish Empire. Some of the best-known pirate bases were in the Bahamas (1715 to 1725), Tortuga (established in the 1640s), and Port Royal (after 1655). Among the most famous Caribbean pirates were Edward Teach (also known as Blackbeard) and Henry Morgan.

Having trouble with the neighbors

Closer to home, the Spanish were having trouble holding their European domination over the Protestant country of Holland. They sent their great fleet — the Spanish Armada (1588) — to invade and subdue England, Holland’s Protestant supporter.

In a battle just north of the English Channel, the English and Dutch attacked the armada.

Even though they were outnumbered, the attacking ships managed to scatter the armada and sink some of the ships. More armada ships were lost in storms that showed up just in time to help the defenders. When England and Spain finally signed a peace treaty in 1604, the English were free to move to unclaimed North America. Spanish power began a slow decline that lasted for more than 300 years.

Getting colonial with the English

Poor and distracted by local conflicts, the best the English could do to get into the exploration game was to send out a ringer. A captain the English called John Cabot (1497) (even though he was really an Italian named Giovanni Caboto) sailed along the coast of what’s now Canada. The exploration received funding from British businessmen eager to make a profit trading with the Spice Islands. When Cabot didn’t come back from a second voyage, England decided to put the whole exploration thing on the back burner for a while.

Spain and Portugal had a 100-year head start in colonizing Mexico and South America, but nothing much was happening north of there. The Spanish had sniffed around but hadn’t found anything glittering and immediately saleable. Then, at almost the same time, Europe came to stay in three corners of North America:

● The French built a fur-trading post at Quebec, Canada (1608).

● The Spanish built a mission at Santa Fe, New Mexico (1610).

● The English established their first permanent colony at Jamestown, Virginia (1607). Jamestown wasn’t England’s first shot at New World colonization:

● Sir Francis Drake (1580) had done so well as a pirate of the Caribbean that Queen Elizabeth I knighted him as a way of saying thanks for all the Spanish gold he brought back.

● Sir Walter Raleigh (1585) founded a short-lived colony of 100 men and women on Roanoke Island. The colony survived long enough for the birth of Virginia Dare, the first English child born in the New World. When a ship carrying supplies arrived after a 3-year absence, the crew found everybody gone, with houses and fortifications neatly removed. The only clue was the word Croatoan carved into a post of the fort and Cro carved into a nearby tree. The survivors of the colony may have gone to live with a nearby friendly tribe of Croatoan American Indians and intermarried.

The latter point, if it’s true, represents last major intermarrying the English did with the American Indians because, unlike the Spanish, the English brought their wives with them to America. The English did enough reproducing by themselves; in the 50 years up to 1600, the population of England increased by one third. At the same time, a change from growing crops to growing sheep displaced a lot of English farmers. People were looking for a place to go, and settling in America seemed like an ideal solution.

Staying on in Jamestown

The English went to Jamestown for all the wrong reasons. Their privately financed joint-stock Virginia Company wanted to find gold or at least a passage to the rich Spice Islands of Asia. The colonists were under some pressure to produce riches; if they didn’t, they could be abandoned in the wilderness.

Question: Who owned Jamestown?

Answer: A joint-stock company eager for profits owned the colony.

In the great tradition of brown-nosing, the name Jamestown paid tribute to then-ruling English King James I. The territory’s name, Virginia, honored the alleged lovemaking status of the previous ruler, Queen Elizabeth I, the Virgin Queen. (Imagine if people still named places for love status — say HotToTrot Land or Dreamyville.)

The Charter of the Virginia Company guaranteed the colonists basic rights as Englishmen. The colony had about 100 settlers to start, all of them men. They were too busy looking for gold to gather much food, so a lot of them died from hunger and the diseases that go with it.

In 1608, Captain John Smith took over and whipped the surviving colonists into shape with a simple rule: “He who shall not work shall not eat.” Earlier, Smith had been saved by the American Indian princess Pocahontas, who went on to marry another settler, help protect the colony, and visit England to meet the king.

Still, times were tough: Of the 400 settlers who had gone to Jamestown by 1609, only 60 survived the “starving time” winter. Twelve hundred English people lived in Virginia by 1625, but an additional six thousand died trying to live on this edge of the New World.

Forming and breaking alliances with the American Indians

Pocahontas tried to keep the peace, but after she died during her trip to England, the colonists and American Indians fought a series of wars. By 1650, the Chesapeakes had been banished from all the land around Jamestown; by 1685, few American Indians remained. This pattern repeated as English colonies came in contact with American Indians across North America: first cooperation, then conflict, and finally removal and severe population decline for the American Indians. As outlined in Chapter 7, disease often destroyed native people and culture before they ever saw a European settler.

American Indian tribes moved, made and broke alliances, and fought wars with one another for thousands of years before the Europeans came. The arrival of the settlers was like introducing an elephant into the living room; everyone had to shift around. Looking for land to live on, tribes moved hundreds of miles and fought other tribes. For some American Indians, this migration was good; they got guns from settlers and made good profits delivering furs and acting as scouts for the Europeans. Competition for shrinking hunting grounds led to increased American-Indian-on-American-Indian violence.

Lots of American Indians moved west toward the Great Plains as English settlements spread out from the East. Tribes like the Sioux, who previously led quiet lives on the edge of the forest, learned to ride escaped Spanish horses and became Great Plains buffalo hunters and raiders. The Iroquois Confederation in the northern colonies benefited from alliances and trades with settlers, and actually grew in power for 100 years. But for most American Indians, the arrival of Europeans was an unmitigated disaster. In a world governed by survival of the strongest, the concept of human rights was still a long way off.

Setting up as offshore sugar daddies

As the first wave of settlers left Britain, twice as many English pioneers went to the West Indies as came to the rocky, swampy shores of North America. They didn’t go because they had timeshares; they went to grow sugar, the other bad-for-you big money-maker of the New World. Although they could grow tobacco in their Virginia backyards, sugar cane required large plantations and thousands of workers. New World slavery really got its start in the West Indies. While small farmers were working their own land in the mainland colonies during the late 1600s, West Indies plantation owners were busy importing more than 250,000 enslaved people from Africa. Before long, blacks outnumbered whites four to one.

The inhuman Barbados slave code (1661) required that slave owners dress their slaves. That was about it. The code denied slaves even the most basic right guaranteed under English common law: the right to life. It allowed slaveholders to do whatever they wanted to their slaves, including mutilating and burning them alive for punishment, without fear of the law.

Plantation owners were so busy growing sugar that they squeezed out most of the small farmers who grew food for the islands. These farmers moved to the North American colonies, bringing a few slaves and the slave code with them.

Germany and Italy didn’t start colonies in the New World because these nations didn’t even get themselves organized until the late 1800s. The English settlements along the American coast grew because they had more settlers who came to stay. The French were either happy at home (the food was better) or would have left if the king hadn’t forbidden them to go to America (like the French Protestants). The Spanish and Portuguese saw the New World as more of a money mine than a place to start a new life. The English began to settle down and build some permanent family homes in the New World, whereas Spanish colonial administrators just sent money back to the central government in Europe. When English colonies were mostly self-governing in politics and religion, Spanish colonies were ruled centrally from the mother country.

Question: What were some differences between the Spanish and English colonies?

Answer: The English operated politics and religion locally (instead of reporting back to the central mother country like Spain) and used their New World settlements to build personal wealth rather than sending everything back to Europe.

Establishing the Future States:

The American Colonies

If you were choosing where to settle in the new colonies during the 1600s, you probably wouldn’t pick the Northern colonies for their climate or chances of supporting your shot at tobacco riches. What the North had was a place to raise a family and own your own land. As the country grew up, the Northern colonies made up for what they lacked in agricultural riches with smart money from commerce and industry. Meanwhile, they also offered the purifying search for spiritual truth.

Maryland, Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia all developed as large plantation colonies focused on growing and exporting agricultural products. Whereas independent North Carolina and reform-born Georgia protected the rights of small farmers, the economic system of the South favored large landowners. With lots of slaves and not many citizens, developing a system of schools or even alternative types of religion was hard. The standard Church of England dominated the South and collected taxes to ensure its support. By growing tobacco, rice, and eventually cotton, the South made a lot of money for a limited number of rich planters. These planters controlled politics because nonlandowners couldn’t vote. Because big planters weren’t interested, the South had virtually no industry and no public school system until after the Civil War.

Pennsylvania, New York. and New Jersey came to be known as the bread colonies because they grew grain for the rest of the Eastern Seaboard. But their industry wasn’t all agriculture. They had forests of big beautiful trees to cut down, and the lumber from these trees built houses, businesses, and ships. All these crops and construction opportunities gave business to the growing ports of New York City, Philadelphia, and Albany. The middle colonies were midway between small-farm New England and the big-plantation South. Government fell midway between the superdemocratic town meetings of New England and the autocratic rich-man’s government of the South. The middle colonies weren’t middle in freedom. Especially in Pennsylvania, people enjoyed religious freedom and a cosmopolitan tolerance for minorities.

Pilgrims, Puritans, and Massachusetts: Leading the way

America was built in the smoke from the great fire of the Protestant Reformation. A German priest named Martin Luther (1517) broke with the Roman Catholic Church, which had ruled Christianity since the late Roman Empire. Luther said that individuals had to have a personal relationship with God and the Bible; priests and popes couldn’t tell them what to think or sell them a ticket to heaven. In his Institutes of the Christian Religion (1536), John Calvin went further. Calvin said God had already chosen who would go to heaven and who would burn in hell; this theory was the predestination of the elect. God knew everything, and no amount of good works would change his mind.

Conveniently for English believers, King Henry VIII (1533) had just kicked the Catholic church out of England over his multiple-marriage issue. As England scrambled to piece together its own church, religious beliefs were up for grabs. This confusion drove both radical Protestants (who didn’t think the English church was changing fast enough) and out-of-favor Catholics (who felt it was changing too fast) to the New World for a little spiritual breathing room.

First out the door were the most radical Protestants, a small group of Separatists who wanted nothing to do with the new Church of England. They headed in the opposite direction from America and spent 12 years in Holland. The Dutch were tolerant of their religious rights, but the Pilgrims didn’t like that their kids were assimilating to the Dutch lifestyle. After a short stop back home to load some supplies on a little boat about 35 steps long called the Mayflower, 50 Pilgrims and 52 other settlers sailed for Virginia.

After two months of bobbing across the Atlantic, the Mayflower crew landed 700 miles north of where they were aiming, on a peninsula now called Plymouth in a land now called Massachusetts. Before they even got off the ship, the settlers signed the Mayflower Compact (1620), agreeing to make decisions by the will of the majority. From this simple agreement and the open town meetings that followed came a feeling for participatory democracy that now has a history of almost 400 years in the United States. The Pilgrims had great leaders: a short non-Separatist soldier named Myles Standish (also called Captain Shrimp) and William Bradford, an eloquent self-taught scholar who could read five languages. More than half of the Pilgrims died the first winter, so when they brought in a good harvest the next year, they really did have a happy Thanksgiving. Their little Plymouth colony never had more than a few thousand people; late in the 1600s, it merged with the Massachusetts Bay Colony a few miles to the north.

The Massachusetts Bay Colony (1630), which would become Boston, was settled by Puritans who didn’t think they actually had to leave the Church of England to follow the word of God. They came to America to escape political repression, a bad economy, and restrictions on their religion. They got off to a strong start with almost 1,000 well-equipped settlers arriving on 11 boats. They also had an excellent leader in John Winthrop, who served for 19 years. Around 20,000 more settlers arrived during the first 12 years of the colony, although twice as many headed south for the warm breezes and easy sugar living of Barbados.

Question: Were the Puritans Separatists?

Answer: No. They wanted to purify the Church of England from within.

The Bay Colony offered freedom but no easy living. All freemen who belonged to the Puritan church could vote. That meant about two out of five people — a much higher percentage of voter participation than anyplace else at the time. The catch was that to be in the church, you were supposed to have had a conversion experience that identified you as one of the visible saints. In other words, God had to pick you to go to heaven before you could go to church. And yes, you took a test. Prospective church members had to explain to an interview panel how they knew God had chosen them (without sounding stuck-up, of course).

Question: Why did the Puritans leave England?

Answer: They left to escape political repression, recession, and religious restrictions.

Back in the early days of Puritan orthodoxy, the freethinking Anne Hutchinson (1638) took on the leaders of the Bay Colony. She actually may have been more spiritual than the leaders were, because she felt she had a direct revelation from God that if predestination were true, everybody had a duty to follow his or her own conscience. Leaders banished her from the colony for challenging their religious authority; she happily left with her whole family. Roger Williams (1635) was another purifying spirit. He said the Congregationalists (a more modern name for the church that started with the Puritans) should make a complete break from the corrupt Church of England, treat the American Indians fairly, and not try to legislate religious behavior. Hounded out of Massachusetts, he helped found the new colony of Rhode Island (discussed later in this chapter) to protect freedom of thought and expression.

Question: Why did Anne Hutchinson get in trouble with the leaders of the Bay Colony?

Answer: She challenged their religious authority.

Freethinking Rhode Island

Helped by sympathetic American Indians, Roger Williams fled to what would become the colony of Rhode Island (1636) in the midst of a bitterly cold winter. He built the first Baptist church in America and established complete religious freedom of thought, even for Catholics and the Jewish. Nobody had to believe a fixed creed; no one had to go to church or pay taxes to support a state religion. These freedoms sound normal now, but they were rare at the time.

Rhode Island also started with universal male suffrage; any man could vote. This right was limited later, but from the start, Rhode Island was a progressive beacon in an already-freedom-loving country. The colony grew with people who didn’t fit in other locations, including Anne Hutchinson and her family. Critics from other colonies called it Rogues’ Island. Originally highly unofficial, Rhode Island somehow managed to win a charter from Parliament in 1644; a statue of the Independent Man tops its statehouse.

Connecticut comes to order

The Connecticut River valley is one of the few really fertile spots in New England. A mass migration of Puritans from Boston settled near the river, and some Dutch and English immigrants followed. In an open meeting, the new colony drafted the Fundamental Orders (1639), the beginning of a modern constitution. So-called substantial citizens were to democratically control the new government. The Connecticut colony was soon joined by another attempt at godly government in New Haven. Together, these colonies mark the small beginning of the migration of American settlers to the west.

Puritans versus Pilgrims: Telling them apart

To remember the difference between Puritans and Pilgrims, just remember that Puritans wanted to purify the Church of England from within. Pilgrims thought they had to be grim Separatists and leave the established church on a long pilgrimage to find a godly place to live.

Puritans believed (rather like modern fundamentalists) that the whole purpose of government was to enforce God's laws. Still, they cut some slack. Congregations hired and fired their own ministers; thus, they could have local control over what the church was saying. Contrary to what people think now, the Puritans were actually heavily into food, drink, songs, and married love. A "Protestant ethic" supported willpower and hard work, but after the responsibilities were taken care of, nothing was wrong with having fun. Because they never had to answer to any central dogma, the Congregationalists eventually evolved into the most liberal Protestant denomination.

Dutch treat in New York and New Jersey

The practical Dutch actually got where everybody else thought they were heading: to the East Indies. For 300 years, the Dutch had a profitable colony far from home. Casting their eyes across the Atlantic, they sent Henry Hudson (1609) exploring up the great Hudson River and eventually into Hudson Bay. While he was starting up what would later be called the Hudson River, his navigator wrote down the American Indian name for an extended island they passed. The American Indians called it “island of many hills,” or Manhattan. Later, the Dutch thought they’d made a great deal when they bought the island from the American Indians for a chest full of flashy trinkets. However, the American Indians had the last laugh. They didn’t really own Manhattan; they’d just stopped by to fish.

New Amsterdam (1623), the Dutch city that would become New York City, wasn’t a beacon of liberty. The Dutch ran business for a profit and had no real interest in religious tolerance, free speech, or voting in the colony they called New Netherland. The Dutch had trouble with American Indian attacks in New Amsterdam, so they built a high wall. The street that ran along that wall is called Wall Street. The uptown country on Manhattan reminded them of a place in Holland, so they named it Harlem. They had to boot out a small Swedish settlement (1655) on the Delaware River, but then the Dutch themselves were booted when the English came, first as settlers and then in warships.

In 1664, the surrounded and already-profitable Dutch peacefully surrendered New Netherland to the English, who renamed it New York after an island off the British coast. Ownership of New Jersey came along with New York when the English took over from the Dutch. The large landholding tradition of New York state discouraged heavy settlement of the inland area during the early colonial period. Upstate New York was still a frontier when the Revolution came.

Question: Why did the Dutch found New Netherland?

Answer: The Dutch had commercial and mercantile goals: They wanted to make money.

Quaking in Pennsylvania and Delaware

After the Catholics lost control of England, the religious cat was out of the bag. Among the many sincere groups that tried to discern the word of God were the Quakers. They called themselves the Religious Society of Friends, but everybody else called them Quakers because they allegedly became so full of the Holy Spirit that they quaked. They had no mandatory beliefs and no preachers; Quakers took turns speaking in their Sunday meetings when the spirit moved them. They refused to fight or join the military and tried to live peaceful lives.

This Christian behavior made everybody hate them. William Penn was a serious-minded English boy from a family with money. He decided to become a Quaker and worked to get a colony where Quakers could live in peace. Amazingly enough, King Charles II owed Penn’s father some money, so he gave William a choice piece of land that the king called Pennsylvania (1681). Penn tried to change the name because it sounded too egotistical but eventually settled down to attract good settlers. He carefully laid out Philadelphia, “the city of brotherly love,” which quickly became the largest and most beautiful city in the colonies.

The Quakers treated the American Indians so fairly that some tribes from the South tried to move to the colony. Unfortunately, Pennsylvania had only a minority of Quakers, so trouble soon began. The government was fair, with freedom of religion, no church tax, and a representative legislature elected by all male landowners. The death penalty was levied only for treason or murder; by comparison, more than 200 offenses could result in beheading in

England at the time. Within 19 years of its founding, Pennsylvania was the third-richest colony in British America. After the English ousted the Dutch from New York, the future Delaware became the Lower Counties of Pennsylvania and got to be an independent area in time to be the first state to ratify the Constitution after the Revolution.

Merry Maryland

The rich English Catholic Lord Baltimore founded Maryland (1634), conveniently located up the Chesapeake Bay from Virginia. He hoped to make a profit and provide a haven for his fellow Catholics, who were still heavily discriminated against in England. He was thinking of vast feudal estates, but colonists didn’t want to come unless they personally got to own some land. Tobacco was growing before long. To work the fields, the Maryland settlers imported indentured servants, generally poor white Englishmen who agreed to work for 4 to 7 years for free in exchange to a ticket to the New World. In the early days, three of every four English immigrants to the Chesapeake Bay came as indentured servants.

Sadly, only 40 percent of the indentured servants lived to win their freedom; the early death rate from disease was that high. As indentured servants died out in the late 1600s, Maryland began to import larger numbers of slaves. Even with servants working and slaves on the way, Maryland managed to make a stand for freedom with the adoption of the Act of Toleration (1649). The act guaranteed freedom of religion to everyone, Catholic or Protestant, as long as they believed in Jesus. Tough luck if you were Buddhist or Jewish, though; the act threatened nonbelievers in Jesus with death.

Smokin' Virginia

When he wasn’t bankrolling failed colonies, Sir Walter Raleigh liked to smoke a pipe. Back then, people called it drinking tobacco, but by any name, the habit has always been hard to quit. Smoking really took off in England after John Rolfe, the husband of Pocahontas, figured out a way to grow smoother-tasting tobacco in the Jamestown colony. He made so much money that pretty soon people were planting tobacco in their front yards and even in the street. As the market for the “bewitching weed” grew, colonists pushed for more land to grow it on. With more land, they needed more labor: Virginia finally had an economic hit.

Just in time, a ship appeared off Jamestown and sold a cargo of 20 Africans to work for hungry Virginia planters. It was still a year before the Pilgrims came to New England seeking freedom. In the same year the slave ship arrived, London authorized the House of Burgesses (1619) in Virginia to be the first representative government in the New World. America was already on a two-track system.

Carolina, North and South

The colony of Carolina officially adopted a version of the Barbados slave code in 1696. Carolina (1670) was the third middle colony in a row named in honor of the then-current English ruler: Charles II had replaced Charles I, who lost his head. The colony served as a supply station for the hugely profitable sugar plantations of the West Indies. Carolina even tried its hand at supplying slaves. Over the objections of its London proprietors, the colony shipped as many as 10,000 American Indians to the cane fields of the sugar islands. Carolina learned to grow rice with the help of West African slaves; by 1710, the colony had more Africans than whites.

Carolina divided into North and South in 1691. North Carolina people were small farmers who often just claimed land, built a cabin, and planted a few crops. They were rugged individualists, hiding out between the landed aristocracies of Virginia and South Carolina. The North Carolina folks were even accused of harboring pirates along stormy Cape Hatteras, the “graveyard of the Atlantic.” When the local Tuscaroras attacked a North Carolina town, the settlers fought a bloody war and ended up selling hundreds of the American Indians into slavery. The survivors traveled north looking for protection and became the sixth tribe in the Iroquois Confederacy.

Reforming Georgia

Georgia (1733) was the last of the original 13 colonies and the only one founded in the 1700s. Named for the foppish King George II (new king, new colony name), Georgia was a buffer against the Spanish in Florida and the French in Louisiana. The colony had as a founder James Oglethorpe, a fair-minded reformer who used his own money to develop a land that would let debtors get a new start. Oglethorpe helped design the beautiful city of Savannah, banned slavery, and fought off Spanish attacks. He invited reformers to visit, including the young John Wesley, who would go on to found the Methodist Church. Over his objections after he left the colony, Georgia allowed slavery in 1750. Oglethorpe lived long enough to be a friend of the American Revolution in England.

Early Challenges to the New Colonies

The early days of the colonies were far from smooth sailing. Settlers had problems with American Indians, autocratic English government, diseases, slavery, the economy, and even witchcraft. The following sections summarize topics that may come up on the AP exam.

American Indian troubles

American Indians resented being driven off their land, and they fought back from time to time with vicious attacks. Shortly before the Pilgrims arrived, an epidemic swept through the New England coastal tribes and wiped out three-quarters of the native people. With no strength to repel even the weak Pilgrim settlement, the local American Indians were friendly. Squanto (1620), who had been kidnapped by an English ship’s captain years before, greeted the Pilgrims in perfect English and helped them through to the first Thanksgiving.

As the settlers pushed the American Indians off their land over the next 50 years, the son of the chief who had welcomed the Pilgrims lost his patience. The settlers called him King Philip because they couldn’t be bothered to learn his American Indian name, Metacom. Backed by an alliance of fed-up American Indians, he launched King Philip’s War (1675). By the time the war ended a year later, his forces had attacked 52 towns and destroyed 12. One out of ten settlers of military age was a casualty; women and children were carried off by American Indians. Even Plymouth itself, site of the Pilgrims’ landing, fell victim.

Bacon’s Rebellion of 1675 had tied down the Virginia government, the only other significant English presence in North America. Canada was still mostly French and rooting for the American Indians. The New England colonies had to defend themselves on their own.

In the end, the settlers fought together through the New England Confederation (1643) and held on. In the south, the first capital of Virginia, Jamestown, was burned in 1676, but the government eventually regained control. Although nightmare fears of Indian attacks lasted for years, actual Indian power in New England ended with the death of Metacom. For the first time, settlers in separate colonies began to think of themselves as Americans.

Locals get together; England cracks the whip

The first colonial union was the New England Confederation (1643), a partnership of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Plymouth, and two Connecticut colonies for mutual defense and problem solving. The colonists were proud of that.

Years later, the royal government in London imposed a very different Dominion of New England (1686). The head of the new dominion was Sir Edmund Andros. His job was to enforce the law, especially the Navigation Act (1660), which made it illegal to send anything to the colonies that hadn’t first passed through and been taxed by England. This Navigation Act and the later Molasses Act of 1733 supported a policy of mercantilism that forced colonies to buy and sell with their mother country so that the mother country could make a profit off the colonies.

Question: What did the Navigation Acts (1660) and the Molasses Act (1733) support?

Answer: These acts furthered the policy of mercantilism.

The colonists hated Sir Edmund, and he responded by closing down meetings, schools, the courts, and the press, and revoking land titles. He issued taxes without consulting the local assemblies. The colonists were on the verge of revolt. Fortunately, the English did the revolting for them. In the Glorious Revolution (1689), they dethroned the unpopular James II and brought on the mellower William and Mary. Sir Edmund was caught trying to sneak out of town dressed as a woman; the boots sticking out from under his dress gave him away. He was booted back to England.

Disease and money

The Chesapeake area was a money-maker but not a very healthy place to be. The colony history earlier in this chapter discusses the short life of indentured servants; that short life went for everybody in early Virginia and Maryland. Half the people born in the early years didn’t live to see their 20th birthdays. Few of those who lived past 20 made it to 50, and women were lucky to see 40. Most marriages ended in the death of a partner within 7 years. Without many parents or any grandparents for moral guidance, more than one third of girls were pregnant when they got married.

Meanwhile, the money kept rolling in to those who survived to spend it. The Chesapeake Bay already shipped 1.5 million pounds of tobacco a year in the 1630s; by 1700, the colony shipped 40 million pounds a year. Both Virginia and Maryland employed the headright system (1670) to encourage the importation of servant workers. Whoever paid to bring in a servant received the right to 50 acres of land. Hungry for land and labor, big planters brought some 100,000 indentured servants into the region by 1700; most of those servants didn’t live long enough to serve out their contracts. In all, these indentured servants represented three quarters of all newcomers to the region in the 1600s.

Early rebellions

Leislers Rebellion (1689) was an uprising in colonial New York City in which militia captain Jacob Leisler seized control of lower New York from 1689 to 1691. The uprising, which occurred in the midst of Britain’s Glorious Revolution, reflected colonial resentment of the policies of King James II. British troops sent by James’ mellower successor William III restored royal authority in 1691.

Virginia’s governor, William Berkeley, had a good thing going. To keep his profitable fur-trade monopoly with the American Indians flowing smoothly, he looked the other way when American Indians killed settlers on the frontier. In Bacon’s Rebellion (1676), a group of about 1,000 planters took on the American Indians; they then drove Berkeley from his capital at Jamestown and burned the place. After Bacon died of all-too-prevalent natural causes, Berkeley defeated the rebellion and hanged the surviving leaders. This small rebellion sent a wake-up call to the big planters; they needed to find workers who lived longer and couldn’t fight back. The answer was slaves.

Slaves in the land of the free, Part I

Only about 5 percent of the 8 million human beings stolen from Africa to be enslaved in the New World during the 1600s and 1700s went to the colonies or their successor, the United States. One-third of the slaves went to Brazil; most of the rest worked the sugar plantations of the Caribbean.

As late as 1670, slaves made up less than 10 percent of the population of Southern plantations. That started to change in a big way as indentured servants died off. By 1750, half the population of Virginia was African. Many slaves in the Deep South died from hard work in the rice and indigo fields (cotton came a century later) and had to be replaced with new imports. In the Chesapeake Bay, the very place that killed so many white indentured servants, slaves lived much longer. By the mid-1700s, the slave population of this area was capable of sustaining itself without the new importation of human beings.

Slaves brought more than just labor to the New World. Without call-and-response singing, the rhythmic ringshout dance, hand drums, and the banjo, all of which came from Africa, America may still be doing the minuet. Long live rock-and-roll!

Slaves fought back when they could. A revolt in New York City in 1712 cost the lives of a dozen whites and 21 Africans. The Stono Revolt (1739) saw 50 self-liberated slaves marching toward Florida to be free, only to be stopped by the militia.

New England living

In contrast to the middle Southern states, New England added 10 years to the average life span of new settlers. The first generation of Puritan colonists lived an average of 70 years — pretty close to a modern life span. Because of this unprecedented longevity, some say New England invented grandparents, who were still around to play with the kids. Family morality is reflected in the low premarital pregnancy rate, again in stark contrast to the experience in the South. Massachusetts started the first college, Harvard, in 1636, just 8 years after the colony’s founding. It took Virginia 83 years after staking out Jamestown to get around to starting the College of William and Mary in 1693.

Witches and religion

With all this goodness came a little New England fanaticism. The Puritan light burned bright, but it also could be blinding. After about 40 years of accepting only the select, Puritan churches had to offer a Half-Way Covenant (1662), which opened church attendance to people who couldn’t prove they were among God’s elect. As time went on, the doors of the churches opened wider, perhaps sometimes even admitting sinners.

At about this time, a new type of sermon began to appear — something that speakers called a jeremiad after the always-scolding Old Testament prophet Jeremiah. Preachers thundered about the wrath of God and the hellfire that awaits the sinner, just as though sinners walked among the elect. This kind of angry shouting soon showed its ugly face in the town of Salem, north of Boston.

A group of teenage girls, under the influence of voodoo talk by a West Indian slave, claimed to have been bewitched by certain older women in the town. This claim triggered a hysterical witch hunt that led to the legal murders of 20 people. Most of the victims were hanged, but one was pressed to death under a huge rock. The girls claimed they could see devils in the courtroom ceiling, and Puritan judges believed them.

The Salem Witch Trials (1692) helped save other people by introducing the pejorative term witch hunt into the language. When ordinary people say that the government is going on a witch hunt, they unconsciously refer to a hard time in colonial America.

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