Essay On The Chesapeake Colonies

1514 Words 7 Pages
In the late 1400s, when Christopher Columbus stumbled across North America, the world was altered. Many countries established colonies, but the only ones that stuck were the English colonies. Jamestown was first, and 12 others followed. Everyone had different reasons for migrating and the culture of these colonies showed that. Although New England and the Chesapeake region were both settled largely by people of English origin, their reasons for settling, their government structures, and their daily life/families and were very different and caused their societies to develop in very different ways.

The people of New England and the people of the Chesapeake region settled for entirely different reasons. New England started when the Pilgrims traveled
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The New England life was healthy and relatively safe. They had very few diseases due to the clean water and cooler temperatures. They had a tightly knit society based around small villages and farms and they grew in an orderly fashion. They had new towns legally chartered and the proprietors moved to their designated place and began laying out the town. Towns that had more than 50 families were required to provide elementary education. The New England life revolved around family. Women married early, usually in their early 20s, and had babies approximately every 2 years from marriage until menopause. Each woman reared an average of 8 children, and many women feared pregnancy due to the high death rate when giving birth. There were very few premarital pregnancy cases, which showed strong family ties. Families were very strong, and due to the prolonged life expectancy (an average of 10 years longer than in the Old World), most children grew up knowing both of their parents and both sets of grandparents. There were also laws in place to protect women in abusive relationships. Authorities could and did intervene in cases of abuse. Also, although most women gave up property rights upon marriage, there were laws to give property rights to widows. Divorce was not a popular thing in New England, due to how important family was to them. There were special …show more content…
Things were very different in the Chesapeake region. Malaria, dysentery and typhoid ravaged their communities. Their life expectancy was 10 years less than in the Old World and of those born in America, only half were expected to make it past their 20th birthday. Of those survivors, they weren 't expected to live past their 50th birthday! Their families were few and fragile. Many children didn 't grow up knowing both of their parents and almost none knew any of their grandparents. Men outnumbered women 6 to 1 in 1650 and by 1700 women were still outnumbered 3:2. Eligible women were not single for long and many girls were impregnated before marriage. Due to the low life expectancy, women had rights to their husband 's estates and could retain a separate title to their property. These laws were put in place for widows because these cases were so common. Soon the people born in America began developing immunity to the diseases and families started to grow, but still were unimportant. Life in the Chesapeake region revolved around the plantations, specifically around tobacco. A hierarchy of wealth and status developed as the tobacco industry grew. The Great Planters were at the top of the ladder with gangs of slaves and vast domains of land. They ruled the economy and virtually monopolized political power, regardless of the fact that they were a very small group of people. Next on the social ladder was the small farmers. They lived on

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