When studying the history of the United States, it is important not to neglect pre-state era of the states. At those times, however, one could not speak of states. A term “colonies” is applied for references to the territories out of which the United States later emerged. In this essay a brief comparison of two of such colonies will be undertaken. The colonies are Chesapeake Colonies and New England Colonies.
In this paper it will be shown, that though both colonies ended up forming one state, they had a very different history prior to foundation of the United States. Here are just a few illustrative examples.
The Chesapeake colonies were located near Chesapeake Bay. Later on these colonies turned into the Commonwealth of Virginia and later on – Maryland. In the Chesapeake Colonies tobacco was, probably, the most important factor of prosperity. Other plants were also cultivated in these lands, but nothing could overtake the success of tobacco. The plant was easy to grow, and at the same time it was tobacco was gaining popularity, thus could be sold in increasing volumes and at more attractive prices. This is what made the colonies very prosperous. The colonizers attempted to use the slave work of Native Americans at the plantations, as the demand for working force was constantly growing with the growth of the industry. However, the Native Americans were not readily accepting such a “generous” offer, and exploiting them turned out nearly impossible. This is why the colonizers had to turn their attention to work force, imported from African continent. And as a result, the African slaves, forcefully brought into the colonies, left a significant impact on the agricultural tradition of the region.
The New England colonies consisted of several territories. They were Connecticut, Province of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island colonies and Providence Plantations also belonged to New England Colonies. These colonies belonged to the famously known thirteen colonies. Captain John Smith is known to be the author of the very term “New England”. This term was first used in his book, published as early as 1616. For him this term stood for the lands on North American continent, which stretched from Long Island to the very Newfoundland.
Throughout the beginning of XVII century there have been several attempts to colonize those lands. The attempts were undertaken by the English and the French colonizers. However, all the attempts failed due to first of all severe weather conditions and the colonizers’ being not prepared for such a challenge, as well as their inability to find common language with local population. Dutch settlers were luckier in 1614, and by 1623 they have managed to put the Dutch New India company into operation. The company was mainly trading fur. However English colonizers managed to persuade the Dutch to leave the land and transfer the rights for it to the English.
Thus, as it has been clearly shown above, though the colonies ended up forming one multicultural and multinational country, their historical development was very different and even contrasting in some instances. This difference is important to be kept in mind both by historians and by politicians. The people of two regions will get to understand each other better if they do know and understand each other’s history and the events, which have led to certain results and outcomes. For instance, Chesapeake colonies have from the very beginning been a multicultural region, where both English colonists and African people lived together. In the middle of XVII century there was equal quantity of both. For New England colonies realities were a little different and the cultural environment was significantly more even.