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Life in american colonies




                                 Life in american colonies

 

The 13 english colonies in America:

Massachusetts (1629), New Hampshire (1629), Rhode Island (1636), Connecticut (1636) = New England

New York (1664), New Jersey (1664), Delaware (1664), Pennsylvania (1681) = central colonies

Virginia (1607), Maryland (1632), North Carolina (1663), South Carolina (1663), Georgia (1732) = southern colonies



To found a colony in America you needed a charter from the king and a lot of money. Therefore, there were some private trading companies like the London Virginia Company, the Plymouth Virginia Company and the Massachusetts Bay Company.

They made contracts with people who were willing to settle in America but who hadn't enough money. They had to work 7 years for the company and then they were free (indentured servants).

One of the first settlers were the Pilgrim Fathers. They were Puritans who fled from England and decided to immigrate to America. The sailed on the Mayflower to Cape Cod, after the landing in 1620 they founded Plymouth Plantation and signed a contract which guaranteed the democratic routine in their settlement.

The settlers found dense forests in America and the sea was full of oysters (Austern), shrimps (Krabben), cods (Dorsch) and lobsters (Hummer). In the forests they found turkeys, quails (Wachteln), squirrels (Eichhörnchen), pheasants (Fasane), wild gooses and plenty of red deer. Fruits, nuts and berries grew wild.

The colonists grew corn and different types of cereals from Europe like wheat, rye (Roggen), barley (Gerste), or oats (Hafer). Moreover they grew potatoes, pumpkins, tomatoes and peanuts. To export flour they built mills > became most important branch of industry in New York.

In 1612 they cultivated tobacco in Virginia for the first time. It was very successful, so they layed out large plantations and slaves had to work there. Tobacco became the main product of Maryland and Virginia.

South Carolina specialized in cultivation of rice and preparation of indigo because of its warm and humid climate.

Fishing and the shipbuilding industry was very important in New England.

They built up a iron and steel industry near Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey because there existed ore (Erz).

The government in London took measures against the boundless trade and so a three-way trade developed.

The first colonial parliament convened in the church of Jamestown, Virginia in 1619. The colonies had a governor who was supported by a council, they were appropriate for judgement and legislation. Some important acts were the Maryland Toleration Act (1649) which guaranteed religious freedom and the Virginia Bill of Rights (1776).

The Pilgrim Fathers and the Puritans in Massachusetts lived at the beginning in simple huts (Hütten) but soon they began to construct simple half-timbered houses (Fachwerkhäuser) with a little garden. The settlers ate mainly pork and hominy (Maisbrei) but also deer and fish.

Corn was the main constituent of their meals, they made mush (Maisbrei), pudding and bread. Corn was so valuable that they even payed with it.

In their settlements they had a meeting place where they met to pray and for the weekly Bible study. The school lessons took here place, too.




Villages with 50 or more families had to pay a teacher and villages with 100 or more families had to install a latin school. In the south there were almost no school lessons because the plantations were too far away from each other. In poorer families the parents had to teach their children.

The first college was founded in 1636 in Massachusetts, the Harvard College, named after John Harvard who donated his library to the settlers. Some other well-known colleges are the Yale College in Connecticut (1701), the College of New Jersey 1746 (now Princeton University) or the King's College 1754 (now Columbia College) in New York. The pupils were taught reading, writing and calculating. In some higher schools they learned classical languages, history or literature.

The first public library was established in 1653 in Boston. In 1690 the first newspaper, the Public Occurences, was edited in Boston.

The widestspread confession was the Calvinism, the base of the Puritanism. The Puritans were very busy because success of their work was a sign of divine approval. The Catholic Church was established in Maryland, Rhode Island was founded by Baptists and the Quakers settled mainly in Pennsylvania. The Quakers also tried to convert the Indians.

The relationship between the Europeans and the Indians was not only marked by cooperation and peaceful trade but also by fights. As the Indians didn't understand the importance of own property they were often expelled, killed or subjected and enslaved. England had to install troupes to protect its settlers from attacks.

The relationship between the mother country and the colonies was marked by jealousy of the economical success of the colonies. So England made a lot of laws to impede the colonies:

Wool Act 1699: prohibits intercontinental transport or export of wool

Hat Act 1732: prohibits transport of beaver fur (Biberpelz)

Iron Act 1750: prevents the institution of blast furnaces (Hochöfen) and rolling mills (Walzmaschinen)

Sugar Act 1764: import duties on sugar, textiles, coffee, wine

Stamp Act 1765. fees for issue of documents and taxes on newspapers (repealed in 1766)

Townshend-Acts 1768: import duties on glass, lead (Blei), paint, paper and tea

The colonists were angry and that led to the Boston Tea Party 1773 (British settlers threw a big amount of tea in the sea to protest against the mother country and its laws) and finally to the American War of Independence 1775 - 1783.

In 1783 the colonies were finally independent.










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