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Through The Careful Reading Of American Colonies

1435 words - 6 pages

Through the careful reading of American Colonies, written by Alan Taylor, it is clear that there are vast differences as well as a number of similarities between the European competitors as they began to colonize the Americas but diversity can also be found within the colonies they would create. American Colonies shows a close relationship between climate, the state of the economy, and the development of slavery. The varying climate within the Americas proved to have an enormous impact on the source of revenue a colony would rely on to support its economy and this choice of trade would then quickly affect the need for slaves or lack thereof.
It is helpful to have an understanding of the variation of the climate within the colonies since it greatly influenced the development of the economy and, eventually, slavery. The climate of the homeland of each of the European competitors is also important to the way in which they settled the colonies as well as what they would appreciate when they began in their production or trade. The Chesapeake was fortunate to have rich soil that was ready to be farmed as well as a long growing season. However, they also suffered from hot and humid temperatures that often triggered diseases such as malaria. The colonists of New England found a much colder and less plentiful environment but it did create a much healthier setting for colonial life. The land of New England was similar to England, full of hills and dense forests, stony soil, and a short growing season (159). New France had harsh, long winters and a short growing season. They continued to be an expense to France since they were unable to produce many demanded goods for their homeland. New Netherland’s climate “was more fertile and temperate than New England, but far healthier than the Chesapeake” (246). The West Indies on the other hand, included several small but fertile sub-tropical islands that attracted many of colonists because of their potential to earn a large profit.
Each colony in the Americas had its fair share of difficulties within their economy. What the colonists chose to rely on as a source of revenue was of utmost importance in creating a stable economy, whether it was the production of sugar, tobacco, cotton, or possibly even the trade of fish or fur. Through the discussion of climate and location, it becomes clear all colonies could not effectively produce or trade the same goods. For instance, the Carolinians were at first dependent upon the trade of deerskins and the use of Indian slaves in their economy. Alan Taylor points out that both deerskins and Indian slaves were “diminishing commodities” that were beginning to lay a “flimsy economic foundation for their new colony” (236). The Carolinians, according to Taylor, recognized that they needed to “develop a valuable agricultural staple for export” in order to create a stable economy (236). They were then able to cultivate and specialize in rice, becoming the “English Empire’s great...

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