HIS271Y1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: East India Company, Indentured Servant, Crown Colony

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18 Apr 2012

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Lecture 2: Wednesday September 21st, 2011
England’s First Colonies:
Virginia VS. Massachusetts Bay
1. Motivations for Colonization
o Nationalistic Rivalries
England and Spain were at war with each other so that is
how they play into motives for colonization
o Religion
Various crowns are trying to convert the native peoples of
the Americas in order to add more power to their
controlling religion
o Economic Desire
Economic need from England’s standpoint
England needs to gain wealth for their crown and so begin
to form trading companies (East India Trading Company)
and tried to control the goods from certain geographic
This helped to further develop England’s seafaring
o Population Pressures
Population of England and Wales increased by 2.5 million
people over a 150 year period of time
Pushed people to consider colonization need
more space
However, they lacked the ability to finance these aspects
of colonization
So they issued subcontracts to individuals who
would use their own money but the crowns
blessings to colonize in the Americas
Failings of settlement because the people didn’t
know how to farm and feed/take care of
2. Jamestown (Virginia & the Chesapeake)
First successful settlement 1607
Occupies the geographic area of the Chesapeake Bay
Origins and Settlement
o A group of private investors known as the Virginia Company
sought out Queen Elizabeth’s blessings to set up a
o The first few years were rocky and almost failed
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o Only about 35 of the hundreds of people who sailed in 1607
were alive 9 months later people were dying because it was a
swampy area prone to Malaria and other diseases
o Most of the people believed that manual labour was beneath
them and so refused to do the work
Many assumed that the natives would feed them and do
the work for them
o Powhatan Algonquin Chief did end up deciding to help the
English so that they would not all die
He thought that instead of fighting with the English, he
would be able to get them to help protect the Algonquin
from their enemies allies
Wanted to make them subjects under him, use
them for trade relations
The Real Story of Pocahontas
o The colonists deemed Powhatan’s help insufficient
o They sent Captain John Smith to get more help from Powhatan
He is captured, beaten, and about to be killed when
Pocahontas stops her father which allows Smith to go free
and Pocahontas continues to help the English settlers
Pocahontas saved Smith because it was all a ritual called a
werowance represents Powhatan’s power and his
willingness to accept the English settlers
o Pocahontas was held captive and held at ransom for 8
Englishmen and weapons. John Rolfe decided to marry her.
Their marriage was strategic in that if their relationship
improved the Chief would give them more aid. Rolfe was the
first to marry a native and had her convert so he could marry
her under Christian tradition
o In 1619 when Powhatan dies, Opechancanough takes over
He has a different view of the settlers and thinks they are
greedy. Come 1622 he decides to organize an uprising to
try and kill off as many settlers as possible
He kills 347 colonists but fails to dislodge the colony at this
o Colonial leaders wanted to attack back and developed a strategy
of waiting until just before the corn harvest to attack and
destroy an Indian village without crop. This backfires on the
colonists in terms of food that would have come to them
o By 1644 the Virginian Colony had been established and wouldn’t
be uprooted
o The Virginia Company eventually hit upon a solution that did not
only allow the colony to survive, but to thrive.
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o Is a wild plant
o The early settlers realized that if you took care of the plant and
cultivated it, it would grow better, faster, more and then could
be grown and harvested regularly
o Within 5 years the colonists put together one shipment to send
back to England to show what they had found. That one ship of
tobacco sold at an outstandingly high price
o By 1620 with fewer than 1000 colonists, Virginia is able to ship
16,000 pounds of tobacco to England
o After the 1622 massacre, the English crown decided to revoke
the charter granted to private citizens. It is then made a
royal/crown colony
Becomes the first crown colony of the British empire
o Most colonies England starts off with as proprietary’s but then
become crown colonies
o The wealthy tobacco planters refused to pay taxes to England
unless the taxes were decided upon by elected representatives
of their own elected assembly
This is an example of the crown ultimately running
everything, however, a local government holding some
o In the case of Virginia, reliance on tobacco not only makes it a
successful crown colony, it leads to inequality throughout the
colony. Over time that inequality turns into slavery
3. The Origins of Slavery
Tobacco requires attention and diligence for 9 months of the year
including growth and shipping for sale
Efforts to enslave natives failed because the natives escaped quickly and
knew the territory much better and so were able to effectively run away
Beginning in 1619 a few planters used slaves that were brought from
Slaves were too expensive to risk considering that few newcomers (both
Black and White) were able to survive due to disease and starvation
A Servant Society (at first)
o To get people to Chesapeake the crown offered a head right (50
acres of land went to every person who paid passage either for
themselves or for someone else)
Wealthy people would pay for poorer people to come to
Virginia and Maryland and they would use the poor people
as servants
o These servants would work until their passage was paid over
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