Middle Colonies of US
The New England, Middle and Southern Colonies in British America
After the victory in the French and Indian wars, England gained control over all thirteen English colonies on the east coast of North America. They emerged in the seventeenth and eighteenth century and formed three distinct geographical regions: the Puritan New England (Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut), Middle colonies (New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware), and the Southern colonies (Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia). On the whole, these colonies seem to be similar; however, there are distinctive features that have made each of them develop in its way.
Even though the British government ruled the colonies under one policy of mercantilism, the economic development of these regions differed. The New England colonies considerably benefited from the Atlantic Trade System, exporting rum to the Caribbean. The Puritans earned their livelihood from the fur trade, fishing, shipbuilding, and agriculture. Since the rocky soil covered the whole area of the Puritan colonies, there was subsistence farming instead of a staple crop. Although the Middle region did not have rich farming land as well, it flourished economically through grain trade and agriculture. Unlike the Middle colonies, the economic situation in the Southern part of North America was fragile, though there was rich soil suitable for growing crops. The economy mostly relied on plantations, where indentured servants grew staple crops and tobacco.
All thirteen colonies of North America were religiously diverse. Religion was a strong aspect of life for the Puritans. Building their communities in such a way that everyone would live in town, they believed that it would be easier to access the Congregational Church (officially established), which the Puritans visited strictly every Sunday. Additionally, each Puritan township was obliged to pay taxes to provide financial backing for the church and the minister. The Middle colonies were of miscellaneous religions, including Catholics, Quakers, and Jews. The Southern colonists practiced various religions as well, embracing Anglicanism and Catholicism.
Social organization in the colonies was overall the same with some minor differences in each of the three regions. The family and the local community were considered the key institutions. For example, New England colonists lived in close-knit communities, which promoted the democratic system. Since education was of utmost importance for them, they established public schools for both sexes, namely, the Massachusetts Bay Colony and the Harvard College. The Middle colonies were overpopulated by incoming immigrants, who settled in port cities, hoping to earn some money. For this reason, there was a multitude of international marriages. However, it was difficult to find a marriage partner for those, who lived in the Southern part, due to increased mortality rates and the uneven gender ratio. These colonies were mostly rural with farmlands and few small towns. Throughout the Middle and the South regions, there were assemblies to administer the colonies.
New England had all chances of flourishing and yielding some profit. The Puritans formed a stable society with strict rules and a democratic system at the same time. This system allowed keeping citizens disciplined and law-abiding. Judging by their emphasis on education, the colonists were literate and educationally developed people. Such societal organization seemed to be advantageous and was likely to succeed. Moreover, if to compare the North with the South, it was easier to survive in New England with a life expectancy from 65 to 70 years.
The thirteen colonies had virtually a similar way of life and social order. However, because of the geographical location and the climate, the economy of the New England, Middle, and South parts distinctly differed. Religious stratification is another contrastive feature. While the Puritans belonged to the Congregational church, the colonists from the mid-Atlantic and the South regions practiced Catholicism, Protestantism, and Anglicanism. New England was mostly an urban territory with townships, whereas the Middle and the southern colonies were rural. Assemblies governed each of the colonies separately.
The Way 1492 Changed the Lives of People in Europe, America, and Africa
1492 was a turning point in the history of the United States. That year two Spanish monarchs financed an exploration voyage of a sailor, Christopher Columbus. Since Europeans had not been aware of this continent by 1492, the expedition triggered the birth of the New World, after which European exploration and colonization swiftly expanded. As a result, Columbus tied together two separate worlds and partially set in motion forces that had the most profound impact on the future history of Europe, America, and Africa.
Owing to European colonization, the entire Western Hemisphere came under the control of the European nations, causing changes to their economy, science, and everyday life. In the process of colonization, American diseases, for instance, syphilis, rapidly spread eastward and increased mortality rates. In respect of the economic aspects, the continent profoundly influenced European trade and economics, exporting precious metals and new agricultural staples. The rise of capitalism was another by-product of the contacts between the eastern and western worlds. During the period of the Columbian Exchange, such products as pineapple, potato, chocolate, and maize went East across the Atlantic Ocean. Moreover, the encounter contributed to the development of geography and navigation techniques. They also predetermined intercultural relations as well as the confrontation and development of ideological and philosophical views.
European exploration and colonization had both beneficial and detrimental implications for the Western Hemisphere. In the nineteenth century alone, a flood of newcomers of various nationalities settled in the Americas, searching for wealth and power. Since Europe was a source of diphtheria, influenza, malaria, and bubonic plague, they brought along the diseases, for which the peoples of the Americas had no immunity. The epidemics caused a considerable loss of the native population in the Western Hemisphere. Significant depopulation entailed the extinction of indigenous languages and cultural heritage. However, explorers gave North America multiple languages, such as Spanish, French, and English. Furthermore, Americans needed Europeans as allies for resources and technology to overcome their traditional enemies. The East and the West had some other areas of cooperation, for instance, the transportation of weapons, farm tools, and domesticated animals, which improved the economic state of both continents in the long run.
After a decline in the native population in the Americas, Europe began to import Africans through the large commercial slave trade. By the end of the eighteenth century, the number of black slaves had increased dramatically. Coming from their African homelands, they streamed into port cities. The settlement of the Americas with black people led to their cultural integration with the indigenous population. On the other hand, the same Colombian Exchange enabled the transfer of supplies, plants, animals, and technology tools to Africa.
To my way of thinking, European exploration and colonization were rather positive factors, which indicated people's desire for progress and scientific development. Even though colonizers ravaged the pristine nature, social and economic organization, and the culture of indigenous residents, they also connected two separate worlds to collaborate for prosperity. Since exploration was inevitable and there was no progress without sacrifices, people had to accept losses as well as victories.
To conclude, the encounter of the New World transformed life in Europe, America, and even Africa. Because of immigration, people spread diseases that caused a significant decline in the population. It also led to the extinction of some languages and cultures. However, the Columbian Exchange between the East and the West provided goods trade, including people. Being enslaved, a large number of Africans moved to the Americas, settling their territories and forming new societies. The cooperation of Europeans and Americans was mutually beneficial, especially when the latter needed an ally.
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