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The English Colonies Of Chesapeake And Massachusetts Bay

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Published: Tue, 02 May 2017

Europe during the seventeenth century was a time of many struggles, pain, death and turmoil. The Thirty Year War raged through out most of the land created by religious beliefs that were paid by many lost lives. The Protestants and Catholics fought for their way to worship and yet by all the death and blood shed only seemed to have lost their humanity. Though no one can really pen point the real reason the war started, the Thirty Year War proved to be one of the most devastating in Europe’s past. While this religious conflict raged throughout most of Europe, England had several problems of their own to deal with. Money was very small due to funds being sent out for the war and English Parliament was fighting with King Charles I. England pulled out of the affairs of the other European nations to try to deal with their own messes. Then civil war broke out and many English men wanted to flee the war and death. The sound of the “New World” was sweet music to so many ears. A new world, a new life, a new beginning, many different men chose to leave their home in England for a new start in North America. Some of the reasons leave their homeland for a new one was for religious beliefs, for freedoms not given on English soil and for the dream of wealth. Two such colonies that were very well known in history were the Chesapeake Bay and New England’s Massachusetts Bay Colony. Both colonies had similar plans for something new, but due to their ideas, religion, belief, location and design; Chesapeake Bay and Massachusetts Bay settlements became two very different settlements.

Chesapeake Bay was located in the middle region of the Atlantic Coast and was the start of what we know today as Virginia, North Carolina and Maryland. The location had great promise for ports that would prove the founders correct by creating a wonderful shipping lane and docks. The land had natural resources that made the area great for farming and in this case tobacco crops were grown that made many men wealthy. Even though the first settlers of this area chose a low environmental terrain plagued with mosquitoes that lead to malaria, typhus, dysentery, and eventually death the continued presentence of the colonist eventually became profitable. King James I established the Virginia Charter and then the English joint stock company called the London Company or later the Virginia Company had the goal to start the settlements in Virginia, so they funded voyages to the new world. There also were rumors of great treasures and wealth that drew in many men in search of riches and glory. But in the wake of many disappointed adventurers and the death of those who tried to make it near the fishing areas a new idea arose. With the people almost dying out the thought of farming came to those left and for those still in England. With most of the settlers being from money and aristocracy they did not want to get their hands dirty. Many of the indentured servants who had come over first had died so importation of African slaves became big to help start large plantations. Tobacco was the plant of choice and large areas were sectioned off for individuals to start these large farms. The land had over two thousand miles of waterways that allowed the inhabitants to transport the goods back to England and truly become an unexpected treasure. The settlers here were in it for the money and it was all about them self. Greed was number one here not family, not God, not neighbor, and certainly not England. Most were men who came for the dream of becoming wealthy or wealthier than they already were, so there were no family concepts. They had a local government with an Anglican church to hold some civil culture but religion and being neighborly were completely out of the question in the minds of the settlers of the Chesapeake Bay.

The Massachusetts Bay colony was one of the New England colonies. The settlers of this area came from England to get away from what they believed to be a corrupt and bad church and to escape a civil war. They fled the country, floated across the Atlantic and settled the part of the New World that will later be known as Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Connecticut. Started by the owners of the Massachusetts Bay Company this settlement was lead and settled by mostly Puritans. They were a religious group, who had strong beliefs in purifying themselves and had the hope to start new family life in a new land. They brought their families and came with many domesticated trades that helped make strong growing towns. The Puritans believed in unity and togetherness, they were a close nit group that had practical ideas and wanted to be independent from England. Lead by a man by the name of John Winthrop, the people had the idea from the New Testament of being known as a “city upon a hill”. This meant that by being a group of people who stood together in religious, political and business ideas that they would grown as a light for all the world to see. They farmed small crops to share amongst themselves and surrounding settlements and most coming from poor situations in England were very happy to live in peace together. Along with religion, commerce too was important so some trade with England did happen; the colony grew and became successful. The settlers of the Massachusetts Bay colony had a common goal and purpose, which was their strength, that God had made a covenant with them and they where going to live by His word. All was to live in peace and prosperity working together as one and living under God’s law.

So both groups of settlers came for a new life in the “New World”. The Chesapeake people were there for wealth and to prosper, a new life for self gratification and growth. Coming from England’s aristocracy and spoiled society , these men wanted away from the government to make themselves shine and not to share their wealth with anyone. . . While the Puritans who settled the Massachusetts Bay area where there for a new life to begin together in a future they believed deemed by God. They came from poor backgrounds fleeing a tyranny of what they felt was religious government persecution. Two very separate communities starting out with the same dream of newness and yet accomplishing different goals by two very different means of what it really means to be a “New World”.


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