After the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588, the British were free to explore and colonize the Eastern seaboard of America


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After the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588, the British were free to explore and colonize the Eastern seaboard of America.

  • After the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588, the British were free to explore and colonize the Eastern seaboard of America.

  • Different reasons led to the colonization of America by the British.

    • 1.) The first was overpopulation caused by the Enclosure Movement in England to close off farmland for pasture land for sheep due to the profitability of wool.
    • The displaced tenant farmers moved into the cities (mostly London) causing overpopulation in the urban centers. Making the Americas a perfect place to send the overpopulation.


2.) The second was a change in business practices known as the joint-stock company (a collection of investors who pool their money for large business ventures).

    • 2.) The second was a change in business practices known as the joint-stock company (a collection of investors who pool their money for large business ventures).
    • Most of these companies financed the different colonization ventures of the British in America.
    • 3.) The third was a change in national economics with the creation of Mercantilism (that a nation becomes powerful and wealthy by having large stores of Specie [hard money such as gold and silver] and gains this by the creation of colonies controlled by a parent nation to trade with so the wealth stays in the nation).


4.) The fourth was a sense of national Patriotism (love and devotion to one’s nation) and intrigue (curiosity) in the colonization of America.

    • 4.) The fourth was a sense of national Patriotism (love and devotion to one’s nation) and intrigue (curiosity) in the colonization of America.
    • In Richard Hakluyt’s book Voyages he described America as the New Eden or perfect utopia to get people to want to go there.
    • In Hakluyt’s book Discourse Concerning Western Discoveries, he stated that England should be at the forefront of the exploration and colonization of America because of national pride.


5.) The final reason was after the Protestant Reformation and different events within England many people were looking for a place as a safe haven to worship their religion freely.

    • 5.) The final reason was after the Protestant Reformation and different events within England many people were looking for a place as a safe haven to worship their religion freely.
  • The two main reasons the British colonized America were for Gold and God. Either to become wealthy through the creation of cash crop colonies, or to escape religious persecution.



The British wanted to plant the first colonies in America as military outposts to attack Spanish shipping along the Spanish Maine.

  • The British wanted to plant the first colonies in America as military outposts to attack Spanish shipping along the Spanish Maine.

  • Sir Humphrey Gilbert was granted a charter (permission to colonize an area) in 1578 to colonize America, but his attempts failed in Canada and in New Found land.

  • Gilbert’s brother Sir Walter Raleigh received his bother’s charter, and explored the east coast discovering what is today North Carolina.



Raleigh named the new land he claimed for England Virginia in honor of Queen Elizabeth I receiving the Virginia Charter to colonize the area.

  • Raleigh named the new land he claimed for England Virginia in honor of Queen Elizabeth I receiving the Virginia Charter to colonize the area.

  • In 1585 Raleigh established a small colony on the island of Roanoke off the coast of North Carolina.

  • After several attempts to make the colony prosper, it finally failed in 1587.

  • The colony was found with no people on it, supposable after a run in with the local Croatian Indians earning it the name of the “Lost Colony.”



In 1606 the Virginia Company of London was granted a charter by James I to colonize the area of Virginia.

  • In 1606 the Virginia Company of London was granted a charter by James I to colonize the area of Virginia.

  • The Susan Constant, Godspeed, and Discovery sailed up an inlet of the Chesapeake Bay they named James River and settled on James Island founding the settlement of Jamestown with a defensive fort called James Fort.

  • The early Jamestown colony had many problems that almost led to its failure.



During the colony’s first winter a member of the ruling council Captain John Smith was able to make an alliance with the local Powhattan Confederacy leader Opechancanel.

  • During the colony’s first winter a member of the ruling council Captain John Smith was able to make an alliance with the local Powhattan Confederacy leader Opechancanel.

  • Opechancanel’s daughter Metoaka (Pocahontas) aided the settlers by providing them with food to make it through the winter.

  • During the winter of 1609 and 1610 the alliance with the Indians soured and John Smith left, this caused the settlers to go through what was called the “starving time.”



In the summer of 1610 the new governor of Jamestown, Thomas West (Lord De La Warr) arrived on the Providence to resupply the colony.

  • In the summer of 1610 the new governor of Jamestown, Thomas West (Lord De La Warr) arrived on the Providence to resupply the colony.

  • De La War established harsh laws and forced the settlers to farm to make the colony self-sustaining (able to care for itself) and give the investors some profit.

  • The colony did not become a profitable venture until John Rolfe in 1613 started a tobacco plantation of Orinoco Tobacco (Caribbean style) making it all the craze in England and Europe.



The success of Tobacco cultivation and advertisement of the colony in England, Jamestown became the first permanent English settlement in the New World.

  • The success of Tobacco cultivation and advertisement of the colony in England, Jamestown became the first permanent English settlement in the New World.

  • Due to the success of the colony and people spreading onto mainland Virginia, the head of the Virginia company Edwin Sandys allowed the settlers to form their own colonial legislative body called the House of Burgesses (representatives).





To entice new settlers to come to Virginia the head of the company developed the headright system.

  • To entice new settlers to come to Virginia the head of the company developed the headright system.

  • The headright system allowed a land owner 50 acres of land extra for every person brought to America.

  • This led to indentured servitude where a person sold themselves into servitude for five to seven years for passage to the new world.

  • The person who the “servant” sold themselves to was known as a patron.



Three types of English colonies developed in America: Charter, Proprietary, and Royal.

  • Three types of English colonies developed in America: Charter, Proprietary, and Royal.

    • A Charter colony was a grant to a private company (joint-stock) to establish and run a colony.
    • A Proprietary colony was a grant to an individual or group to establish and run a colony, usually friends of the king.
    • A Royal colony was a colony that the king established or had total control over.


The success of Jamestown and other British colonies led to four great migrations (to move to a new area) to America by the British.

  • The success of Jamestown and other British colonies led to four great migrations (to move to a new area) to America by the British.

    • 1.) Puritans (1630s to1660s) religious group that moved into the New England area.
    • 2.) Cavaliers (1640s to 1680s) wealthy Englishmen who moved into the Coastal area of Virginia known as the Tidewater.
    • 3.) Quakers (1660s) religious group that moved into Pennsylvania
    • 4.) Scotts-Irish (1710s -1775) were people from the Ulster Plantation of Ireland that moved into mountainous regions and South.


Along the Eastern coastline three distinct colonial regions developed; New England, Middle, and Southern.

  • Along the Eastern coastline three distinct colonial regions developed; New England, Middle, and Southern.

    • 1.) New England was made up of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Plymouth.
    • 2.) Middle was made up of New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware.
    • 3.) Southern was made up Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.


During the reign of Queen Elizabeth, the Puritans were a reform sect of the Anglican Church (Church of England) to “purify” it from Popery (Catholic like actions or teachings).

  • During the reign of Queen Elizabeth, the Puritans were a reform sect of the Anglican Church (Church of England) to “purify” it from Popery (Catholic like actions or teachings).

  • The Puritans divided into two groups of Congregationalists (believe each church should be independent and autonomous), conformists (stay in England and fix it) and separatists (move away and form own communities).



The Pilgrims were a group of separatist Puritans also known as Brownists (followers of Robert Browne) who isolated themselves on the Scooby Manor Plantation in England.

  • The Pilgrims were a group of separatist Puritans also known as Brownists (followers of Robert Browne) who isolated themselves on the Scooby Manor Plantation in England.

  • The Pilgrims then moved to Amsterdam, but wanted to leave due to the “evil” influences of the Dutch.

  • In 1620 the Pilgrims led by William Bradford got a charter to found the Plymouth Colony in the northern Virginia Colony.



The Pilgrims traveled over the Atlantic Ocean on the Mayflower (another ship the Speedwell was ditched because it had a leak) with 121 people (most “strangers”) following John Smith’s “Map of New England” landing in Cape Cod Bay.

  • The Pilgrims traveled over the Atlantic Ocean on the Mayflower (another ship the Speedwell was ditched because it had a leak) with 121 people (most “strangers”) following John Smith’s “Map of New England” landing in Cape Cod Bay.

  • The Pilgrims first made the Mayflower Compact (first document of equal government founded by the people and God, not a king) to govern over the new colony.

  • The Pilgrims then settled in an area called Patuxet which was an old Indian village that was killed off by disease found by Myles Standish (military leader). [Aka mythical Plymouth Rock.]



The first winter was terrible killing off most of the settlers due to scurvy (vitamin C deficiency) and other problems.

  • The first winter was terrible killing off most of the settlers due to scurvy (vitamin C deficiency) and other problems.

  • The first Native the Pilgrims came into contact with was Samoset who said “Welcome Englishmen” in English.

  • Samoset informed them of the local Indian tribe, the Wampanoag led by their Sachem (chief) Massasoit and a Patuxet survivor living with the Wampanoag named Squanto.



Squanto helped the Pilgrims make a peace treaty with the Wampanoag and taught the Pilgrims how to plant, cultivate, and harvest corn.

  • Squanto helped the Pilgrims make a peace treaty with the Wampanoag and taught the Pilgrims how to plant, cultivate, and harvest corn.

  • In 1621 the pilgrims held a three day celebration with the Indians known as a Harvest Festival which became known later as the First Thanksgiving.

  • The actual first thanksgiving day was a day of prayer and fasting in 1623 to thank God for the arrival of new settlers.

  • Thanksgiving did not become a holiday until George Washington made it one in October 3, 1789.







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