The Colonization Of The Chesapeake And Then New England

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As English settlers arrived in the Chesapeake and then New England in the seventeenth century, they disembarked their boats and marveled at the seeming abundance of the landscape. They arrived with hopes of recreating their “old world” and prospering from the merchantable commodities that were lying before them. However, English colonization did not occur in a vacuum, and the settlers soon discovered that their survival would be dependent upon a forged coexistence with the native inhabitants. Surrounded by Indian worlds, the colonists established unique regional identities, with the south becoming dependent upon the cultivation of tobacco and the use of slave labor, and the north establishing subsistence family farms and developing a commercial economy. This capitalist system eventually reshaped the colonies, leading to continued expansion that transformed the American landscape, destroyed the delicate intercultural diplomacy with the natives, and cemented territorial distinctions – creating “new worlds for all.” By the end of the eighteenth century, the Chesapeake had managed to closely replicate England by establishing a hierarchical society based largely around class. In Alan Kulikoff’s Tobacco & Slaves: The Development of Southern Cultures in the Chesapeake, 1680-1800, he attributes this development to the introduction of tobacco as a cash crop, and African slave labor. In the seventeenth century, many wealthy planters had come to dominate not only the tidewater
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