Chesapeake Vs. New England Colonies Essay

764 words - 3 pages


Today, the United States of America is a very racially and religiously diverse society. We saw the seeds of diversity being sown in the early days of colonization when the Chesapeake and New England colonies grew into distinctive societies. Even though both regions were primarily English, they had similarities as well as striking differences. The differentiating characteristics among the Chesapeake and New England colonies developed due to geography, religion, and motives for colonial expansion.
     Virginia, the Chesapeake Bay area, was not interested in long-term colonization in America. Most emigrants bound for Virginia were young males, only a handful of women came across the Atlantic to the Chesapeake colonies. At this time, men out numbered women 5 to 1, later this ratio only reached 5 to 2. Because of the shortage of women, 70% of Chesapeake men never married. Thus not producing any children to add to the colony’s population. In 1607 the English were originally looking for gold, and silver, they also wished to find the cure for syphilis and the western passage to India. After additional people had arrived in 1609, nearly 80% of Jamestown’s population had died. John Smith referred to Jamestown as “a misery, a ruin, a death, a hell,” then the colony started producing and exporting tobacco. King James’ comment to this was, “no one can build a colony on smoke,” but Jamestown did. In 1640, Jamestown began to export three million pounds of tobacco to England annually. This number grew considerably in 1660, when Jamestown was exporting over ten million pounds to England annually. To cultivate these tobacco crops the Chesapeake Bay colonist utilized slave labor, and the use of indentured servants. The use of indentured servants soon died out when Virginia, forbid the whipping of white servants. In the Chesapeake colonies, religion was not as strict as in New England. In these colonies there were a number of small optional religions, this was very different than the ways of the New England colonies.
     Unlike the Chesapeake, the New England colonies were greatly interested in their long-term colonization efforts. A man by the name of John Winthrop led the Puritans, which composed the New England colonies. He believed...

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