ENGLAND’S FIRST COLONIES: VIRGINIA VS. MASSACHUSETTS BAY
I. Motives for Colonization
- Nationalistic Rivalries
• Early period of exploration: eng. And spain were allies… therefore England did not want to get
into that mess
• Following the war, England was all FAIR GAME SUCKAHS. It would also weaken spain in
order to attack them from other fronts
• English colonization: early modern period: era of the post protestant reformation who’s
church was more important. I’m cooler than you – in a nutshell.
• Compete with others to see who can convert more ppl to their faith. Aka native American
• Some people settling are running away from prosecution based on their religious beliefs
• General economic desire…
• England: new source of economic structure for the country
o Main source collapsed in the mid 1500s… prior was selling cloth etc. in Holland. This
• They’re going to need new means of importation and exportation
- Population Pressures
• Crazy population boom in England!
• Yo, where is this money coming from? Contract out colonization by issuing licenses and charters
to private groups, and establish colonies in England’s name… but use their own personal funds.
o First go: 1580s. epic failure. People are dying, natives are hostile, etc.
II. Jamestown (Virginia & the Chesapeake)
- Origins and Settlement
• 1607! Swamp land… malaria! First group of people start popping off.
• Virginia company – private investors granted ability to establish colony in her name. Queen
Elizabeth I = Virgin Queen, therefore Virginia Company
• Capitalist ideologies root all the way back from this period!
• Why else did they all start popping off? Most of the people were of higher class, so they refused
to do any manual labor. EPIC FAIL. Starving themselves out, disease
• So how do they survive? Offered aid by Powhatan (Algonquian)
o Rather than fight and drive them away, the settlers could be turned to his own advantage,
especially against fights against his enemies - The Real Story of Pocahontas (Powhatan; John Smith; John Rolfe; wereowance;
• When the initial amount of aid is seen as not being enough, they send an embassary to
“negotiate” aka Cpt. John Smith
• Obviously not impressed. Takes him captive, beats him up, and is about to execute, when his
daughter asks to spare his life. She then returns as an embassary.
o John Smith was a derp because he thought he was way more good looking than he
actually was… she was also 12.
o Actually the enactment of a ceremony – werowance. Designed to express a chiefs
supremacy and adoption of a subordinate.
Was never going to execute. Showing not only dominance but willingness to
adopt them into the tribe as subordinates
o Pocahontas was actually kidnapped, Cpt Wolfe decided he would marry her. NOT
ENOUGH WOMEN. Also political motives. first to marry under the banner of
Christianity. Forcibly baptized against her will.
• Without powhatan’s aid, they would not have survived.
• When he dies, his brother hated the English, so he decides to evict the settlers
o Launches a war party raid.
• Ongoing series of Algo-Powhatan war… colonists develop strategy – wait until before corn
harvest, then attack.
• Still unable to uproot the colonists. Why? TOBACCO!
• Grew wild in that area of the world. Discovered that they could grow and tend it.
o Becomes a fad in Europe, therefore sells at a crazy fast rate.
• 1620, fewer than 1000 colonists, shipped crazy amount!
• Becomes the first official royal colony in north America. 1644
o Royal colonies were created only when they became successful. Most were proprietary
colonies – private interests
• Wealthy members refused to pay taxes unless they were to people they had elected in their own
colonial governments – shared authority was unique.
• Inequality within the colony. Thus, development of slavery.
IV. The Origins of Slavery
- A Servant Society (at first) (indentured servants)
• Labour intensive crop. 9 months of the year from start to finish.
o Initially not enough labour to do the work, although slavery is not the first thing to come
• Britain in the west indies, borrows the idea of slavery. 1620s, few slaves imported into Virginia.
Most did not think slavery was viable for them – too expensive to buy a slave that would
probably die o What they pererred were servants. To encourage them to go over, anyone who could
afford their own land and passage free 50 acres of land. This appeals to a lot of the serf
o Wealthier ppl would pay the passage of the poor people, in return = indenture. In
exchange for paying for passage, will work for as long as the indenture states.
o Agree to this because it is a contract – will not end. Clause states that they will get own
land if your indenture is up.
• Servants died from combination of disease, mistreated. No control over their lives. Could be sold