Growth of English Colonies Essay

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Growth of English Colonies

History would not be complete without the mention of the great migration waves of people from the Old World to the New World. The 1600’s were witness to a huge wave of emigrants from the Old World Europe to the North American continent (International Information Programs). The wave started with a few hundred English settlers to a virtual deluge of new settlers (International). These new settlers had many and diverse reasons and motivations in seeking a new life in the New World (International).

For the people that chose to settle in the province that would be New England, they were driven by the forces of the Reformation movement of Martin Luther (Henry Sage, 2007). The English among the Reformers needed to see the Reformation effect a “purification” of the English Anglican Church, hence the term Puritans (Sage, 2007). These Puritans divided among themselves their followers, one group recognizing the fact that they could live under the influence of the Anglican Church, while the other advocated for a complete break (Sage, 2007).

A few travellers were curious to discover new routes on the continent with the hope of finding treasure (Utah Education Network). Some of them, especially English settlers, came because of the scarce economic opportunities present in their native country (Utah). But the few that opted to separate totally from the Anglican Church, or “separatists” (Sage, 2007), chose to come to America under the auspices of the London Company (Sage, 2007). These were the Pilgrims who made the 1620 voyage on the Mayflower (Sage, 2007).

King James granted charter to a group of people in June of 1606 to establish a settlement in the Chesapeake region of the North American continent (Association for the Preservation of Virginia, 2000). The settlers, 104 in all, set sail with a directive to settle in Virginia, locate gold sources and an alternative route to the Far East (Virginia, 2000). The Virginia Company of London, the company under whose auspices the settlers went to Virginia, wanted to duplicate the successes of the Spanish (Encarta, 2008). In essence, Jamestown in Virginia was essentially a business venture rather than a settlement for a community (Encarta, 2008).

What gave Jamestown its character and its purpose could be seen in the composition of the entourage sent to the place (Encarta, 2008). The group in the Jamestown expedition comprised of silversmiths, goldsmiths and other workers with the intent of giving investors immediate returns on their investments (Encarta, 2008). The settlers in Jamestown, almost immediately upon their arrival, were under attack from the native Algonquian Native Americans (Virginia, 2000). As a result, the settlers transformed Jamestown into a fortress, with palisades and fortifications to ward off the attacks (Virginia, 2000).

While the Algonquians continued on their assault of the settlement, another tribe sustained the group with food by way of trade for iron and copper tools (Virginia, 2000). Ultimately, the leadership of John, Smith, the chief of the group, spelled the difference for the survival of the failed business venture (Encarta, 2008). On the other hand, the colony in New England was founded mainly by the “Separatists” of the English Puritans, determined to live their beliefs away from interference (Encarta, 2008). The religious extremists, as earlier stated, believed that the Anglican Church of England was beyond the reach of reform (Encarta, 2008).

In effect, the settlers in Massachusetts were settling in America not for trade, but to establish a society based on their strict orthodox religious persuasions (Sage, 2007). These Puritan settlers went to America for two reasons (Encarta, 2008). One, since it was their belief that God will ultimately destroy England for her sins (Encarta, 2008). Two, it was their intention to sustain their beliefs (Encarta, 2008). Unlike their counterparts in Virginia, whose population was being decimated by illness, starvation and the relentless attacks of the natives in the area, the population in Massachusetts grew (Encarta, 2008).

This was mainly due to a healthier lifestyle and the presence of many female settlers in New England that allowed for marriage and propagation of the settlers in the region (Encarta, 2008). The New England settlers were quite different in their treatment in their relations with the Native Americans in their area, securing peace agreements with them (Britannica, 2008). These treaties allowed the settlers to devote more of their time and efforts to the improvement and sustenance of their colony, strengthening their food stocks rather than working to defend themselves from attacks (Britannica, 2008).

References

Association for the Preservation of Virginia. (2000). History of Jamestown. Retrieved September 23, 2008, from http://www. apva. org/history/index. html Britannica. (2008). United States-settlement. Retrieved September 23, 2008, from http://www. britannica. com/EBchecked/topic/616563/United-States/77684/Settlement International Information Programs. (n. d. ). Outline of U. S history. Retrieved September 23, 2008, from http://usinfo. state. gov/products/pubs/histryotln/ MSN Encarta. (2008). United States history.

Retrieved September 23, 2008, from http://encarta. msn. com/encyclopedia_1741500823_5/United_States_History. html Sage, H. J. (2007). Colonial New England. Retrieved September 23, 2008, from http://www. academicamerican. com/colonial/topics/puritannewengland. html Sage, H. J. (2007). Puritan New England. Retrieved September 23, 2008, from http://www. sagehistory. net/colonial/topics/NewEngland. htm Utah Education Network. (n. d. ). United States Colonial History. Retrieved September 23, 2008, from http://www. uen. org/themepark/liberty/colonial. shtml

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