The Reasons Of The Chesapeake And New England Colonies

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The Chesapeake and New England Colonies were originally settled in the early 1600’s. The motivations behind these settlements led to their subsequent economies and societies which became part of the foundation of these successful colonies. The Chesapeake Colonies needed cheap labor for their tobacco plantations and the New England area sought freedom to practice religion without restrictions from the English crown.

The Virginia Company initially colonized the Chesapeake area of Jamestown as a search for gold and as an exploration of the area’s natural resources. The company realized that for the colony to survive it would have to forget their search for gold and instead find a profitable economy. Tobacco became Virginia’s substitute for gold. This new crop enriched a growing class of tobacco planters and many members of colonial government. By 1624, more than 200,00 pounds of tobacco were grown and by the 1680’s, crops totaled 30 million pounds. There was a get rich quick mind set and a frantic rush for land and labor. Despite the severe conditions of the fields and a high death rate, the colony still attracted immigrants. Of the 120,000 English immigrants, 3/4 came as servants. Jamestown became an agrarian society with extensive farmlands along the region’s rivers.

Because the plantations were widely dispersed, this new agrarian society had few town centers and little social unity. The high demand for male labor in the fields meant that men outnumbered women four or
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