When America declared independence for England in 1776, it consisted of just 13 colonies that stretched in a curved strip along the east coast. The population was mixed and mixed, consisted of many nationalities and was characterized by social contrasts. Although America’s national identity was just beginning, it had already written its first chapter of history in these 13 colonies.
The Lost Colony
It is a common misconception that the colonization of America began with the Pilgrims and their ship, the Mayflower. In fact, England began its first attempt at settlement under Queen ELIZABETH I in 1584. SIR WALTER RALEIGH organizes the crossing of 115 men, women and children to the still completely unexplored country. They should research the settlement conditions and provide information. The settlers settled in what is now North Carolina and founded the village of Raleigh. Governor was JOHN WHITE, who was traveling with them and soon had to travel to England because of a gunshot wound. When he returned in 1590 it was Raleigh deserted and abandoned. To this day it is not clear what became of these first settlers. Raleigh was declared a Lost Colony.
The founding colonies
Seventeen years later, with King JAMES I in power, England tried again. Under the leadership of CHRISTOPHER NEWPORT, three ships landed in Chesapeak Bay at the beginning of the year. The newcomers settled down and founded their first town on May 14th that year, which they named Jamestown in honor of King. Life in Jamestown was tough and the early settlers were ill-prepared. There was a famine.
The situation only got better when CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH took command and introduced strict rules: If you don’t work, you get nothing to eat, was one of them. SMITH also made contact with the Indians and learned new forms of cultivation from them, including the previously unknown maize. JOHN SMITH became famous for his travel reports on his land exploration tours. And for his description of the capture by the Indian chief POWHATAN and his encounter with his daughter POCAHONTAS.Although SMITH had succeeded in creating somewhat stable conditions in Jamestown, chaos and anarchy broke out there when he went to England in 1609. Not until tobacco growing was discovered as a form of economy and thus a source of income opened up that not only brought the settlers barter but also export income, calm returned.
In 1616 England began its organized settlement measures. Interested parties could buy into so-called charter companies, which worked in a similar way to stocks. For the money paid together, the company owners received land from the king that they could colonize and cultivate. The first of these companies was the Virginia Company, in whose name Jamestown was founded. The colony was after the English “virgin” (virgin) named I. Queen ELISABETH. In 1619, the settlers in Virginia were granted English state rights (The Rights of Englishmen). They were also allowed to manage themselves. In so-called Assemblies were the freemen, all white men with land ownership, allowed to run their affairs. The supreme jurisdiction, however, remained with the crown, which was represented by governors. In 1619 90 women were also brought to Virginia. The continued existence of the population in the new home was assured.
Those who were without money but eager to come to America had the opportunity to travel there as an indentured servant. The Indentured Servants were given a free passage and some land guaranteed. In return, they undertook to work for the companies for several years free of charge. In this way, large plantations and cultivation areas could be developed and cultivated in a short time. The first slaves brought to America by Dutch ships in 1619 were also indentured servants with all rights and duties. As is well known, that soon changed for the worse for them.
In 1620, according to findjobdescriptions, when Virginia was already full of life, the pilgrims reached America in the famous Mayflower. The religious association, persecuted in England for its radical interpretation of the faith (Seperatists), arrived off the coast of Cape Cod in November and established the first settlement in New England. The Pilgrims eventually settled in Plymouth. For them, too, the beginnings were hard and arduous. They would not have survived the first winter without the help of Indians who brought them food. A year later, they celebrated a festival of thanks with the indigenous people, at which they “returned” food. To date, November 26th will be Thanksgiving remembered that day.
Also persecuted for their religion in England, the Puritans (Non-Seperatists), from whom the Pilgrims had split off, settled in Massachusetts some time later. They had secretly bought into the Massachusetts Bay Company and thus officially acquired land.Massachusetts became a popular destination for the persecuted as a place of religious freedom. It became the nucleus for new faiths and with them for new colonies. ROGER WILLIAMS e.g. B. Puritanism in Massachusetts did not go far enough. He publicly called for an even “purer” interpretation of the faith – and was expelled from the colony by the citizens. Together with like-minded people he moved north and founded the city of Providence (Providence), which became the capital of the new colony of Rhode Island. WILLIAMS and his followers strictly separated government and religion. They were the first to make religious freedom compulsory in America.