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Robson, David, 1966-

Colonial America / by David Robson.
p. cm. -- (Understanding American history series)
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN-13: 978-1-60152-247-4 (e-book)
1. United States--History--Colonial period, ca. 1600-1775--Juvenile literature. I. Title.
E188.R65 2013

Foreword 4
Important Events of Colonial America 6
Introduction 8
The Defining Characteristics of Colonial America
Chapter One 12
What Events Led to the Colonization of America?
Chapter Two 26
Seeking Religious Freedom
Chapter Three 41
Quest for Commerce
Chapter Four 55
Growth and War
Chapter Five 70
What Is the Legacy of Colonial America?
Source Notes 81
Important People of Colonial America 85
For Further Research 88
Index 90
Picture Credits 95
About the Author 96


A merica’s Puritan ancestors—convinced that their adopted coun-

try was blessed by God and would eventually rise to worldwide
prominence—proclaimed their new homeland the shining “city upon a
hill.” The nation that developed since those first hopeful words were ut-
tered has clearly achieved prominence on the world stage and it has had
many shining moments but its history is not without flaws. The history
of the United States is a virtual patchwork of achievements and blem-
ishes. For example, America was originally founded as a New World
haven from the tyranny and persecution prevalent in many parts of the
Old World. Yet the colonial and federal governments in America took
little or no action against the use of slave labor by the southern states
until the 1860s, when a civil war was fought to eliminate slavery and
preserve the federal union.
In the decades before and after the Civil War, the United States un-
derwent a period of massive territorial expansion; through a combina-
tion of purchase, annexation, and war, its east–west borders stretched
from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans. During this time, the Indus-
trial Revolution that began in eighteenth-century Europe found its way
to America, where it was responsible for considerable growth of the
national economy. The United States was now proudly able to take its
place in the Western Hemisphere’s community of nations as a worthy
economic and technological partner. Yet America also chose to join the
major western European powers in a race to acquire colonial empires in
Africa, Asia, and the islands of the Caribbean and South Pacific. In this
scramble for empire, foreign territories were often peacefully annexed
but military force was readily used when needed, as in the Philippines
during the Spanish-American War of 1898.
Toward the end of the nineteenth century and concurrent with Amer-
ica’s ambitions to acquire colonies, its vast frontier and expanding indus-
trial base provided both land and jobs for a new and ever-growing wave

of immigrants from southern and eastern Europe. Although America had
always encouraged immigration, these newcomers—Italians, Greeks, and
eastern European Jews, among others—were seen as different from the
vast majority of earlier immigrants, most of whom were from northern
and western Europe. The presence of these newcomers was treated as a
matter of growing concern, which in time evolved into intense opposi-
tion. Congress boldly and with calculated prejudice set out to create a
barrier to curtail the influx of unwanted nationalities and ethnic groups
to America’s shores. The outcome was the National Origins Act, passed in
1924. That law severely reduced immigration to the United States from
southern and eastern Europe. Ironically, while this was happening, the
Statue of Liberty stood in New York Harbor as a visible and symbolic bea-
con lighting the way for people of all nationalities and ethnicities seeking
sanctuary in America.
Unquestionably, the history of the United States has not always
mirrored that radiant beacon touted by the early settlers. As often hap-
pens, reality and dreams tend to move in divergent directions. How-
ever, the story of America also reveals a people who have frequently
extended a helping hand to a weary world and who have displayed a
ready willingness—supported by a flexible federal constitution—to
take deliberate and effective steps to correct injustices, past and pres-
ent. America’s private and public philanthropy directed toward other
countries during times of natural disasters (such as the contributions
of financial and human resources to assist Haiti following the January
2010, earthquake) and the legal right to adopt amendments to the US
Constitution (including the Thirteenth Amendment freeing the slaves
and the Nineteenth Amendment granting women the right to vote) are
examples of the nation’s generosity and willingness to acknowledge and
reverse wrongs.
With objectivity and candor, the titles selected for the Understand-
ing American History series portray the many sides of America, depict-
ing both its shining moments and its darker hours. The series strives
to help readers achieve a wider understanding and appreciation of
the American experience and to encourage further investigation into
America’s evolving character and founding principles.

Important Events of
Colonial America
Jamestown is founded in Virginia by the colonists of the
London Company. By the end of the year, starvation
and disease reduce the original 105 settlers to just 54.

1565 1626
1519 The Spanish found Peter Minuit, a
Hernán Cortés the first permanent Dutch colonist, buys
conquers the Aztec European colony Manhattan from
empire in Mexico in North America Native Americans for
and begins the at Saint Augustine 60 guilders (about
Spanish conquest in what is now $24) and names
of parts of North Florida. the island New
America. Amsterdam.

1480 1520 1560 1600 1640

1492 1588
Christopher Great Britain defeats the
Columbus makes his powerful Spanish Armada and
first of four voyages to becomes the dominant world
the New World. power; Spain’s waning influence
provides an opportunity for the
English to develop permanent
settlements in the New World.

On November 13 the Mayflower lands
at Cape Cod, Massachusetts, with 101
colonists. Two days earlier, the Mayflower
Compact had been signed by 41 men from
the ship, establishing a majority-rule local

Roger Williams founds Providence, Rhode Island, after being
banished from Massachusetts for what its leaders considered
radical and dangerous ideas. Providence soon attracts other
6 colonists fleeing religious intolerance.
King Philip’s War begins in New England
between colonists and Native Americans,
resulting in 600 English colonial and
3,000 Native American deaths.

On July 4 the Continental Congress approves the
1754 Declaration of Independence, announcing that Great
The French and Britain’s 13 American colonies consider themselves a free
Indian War, and independent nation.
between France
and England,
erupts as a result
of disputes over
The First Continental Congress, a governing body consisting of 56
land in the Ohio
delegates representing 12 of the 13 colonies, meets in Philadelphia.
River Valley. It
rages for nine
years and results
in British control 1765
over most of The Stamp Act is passed by the English Parliament,
colonial America. imposing the first direct tax on the American colonies.
Calls for colonial independence from England soon follow.

1680 1700 1720 1740 1760 1780

1692 1773
Hysteria grips the village Angry colonists, incensed over a tax on
of Salem, Massachusetts, as tea, storm three ships in Boston Harbor
witchcraft suspects are arrested and pour 342 chests of tea into the water.
and imprisoned. Over the course
of four months, 150 people are
accused and 20 are executed.
In April the battles of Lexington and Concord
erupt after British soldiers attempt to destroy
colonists’ military supplies and are met with
resistance by Massachusetts militias. This conflict
marks the beginning of the Revolutionary War.

The Boston Massacre occurs as a mob
harasses British soldiers who then fire
their muskets point-blank into the
crowd, killing three instantly, mortally
wounding two others, and injuring six.


The Defining
Characteristics of
Colonial America
S ome Americans today may imagine that their nation was always
thus—that its “sea-to-shining-sea” geography always existed, its
power and influence predestined. But for hundreds of years before the
United States was founded, the greatest empires of the age—France,
England, and Spain—fought over the continent that maps now iden-
tify as North America. They battled one another for the right to claim
this vast and untamed land that, to them at least, seemed a new world.

Territorial Expansion
The first English and Spanish settlers in the Americas came looking for
gold, silver, and other valuable commodities, such as spices. But most
prized of all was the land itself. By carving out a colony and settling it,
New World inhabitants were laying claim to territory that their nations
could expand and exploit.
More land meant more settlers; more settlers meant larger towns and
cities. By growing populations and their areas of influence, European
nations could command greater respect and earn enormous wealth. Yet
expansion came at a cost: Wars between colonists and Native Americans
over land killed thousands and shattered an already fragile relationship.
More wars followed, between the Spanish and French, the English
and Spanish, the French and English. Each formed alliances with one

another and with the native tribes, hoping to score a definitive victory
in the battle for continental domination. The British eventually carved
out 13 colonies, while the French and Spanish laid claim to territory
further west and south. Yet the fight for land would remain a defining
characteristic throughout the colonial period.

Freedom of Religion
Wealth and influence were prized by nations in the seventeenth cen-
tury, but these were not necessarily what drew individual colonists to
the Americas. In the early 1620s a small group of devout English men
and women made the pilgrimage to the New World to escape religious
oppression and to worship God according to their stark view of reli-
gious scripture.
“By sailing to the New World,” says historian Nathaniel Philbrick,
“they hoped to re-create the English village life they so dearly missed
while remaining beyond the meddlesome reach of King James [the
British monarch] and his bishops.”1 The bleak landscape these Pilgrims
found upon arrival and the hardship they endured tested their strength:
Many of them died within the first few months. Still, the survivors
pressed on, constructing modest shelters, rationing what little food
they had, and practicing their faith according to their beliefs.
Members of other religious groups sought religious and cultural
freedom as well, from Roman Catholics in Maryland to Quakers in
Pennsylvania. Each of them believed that Colonial America offered
them the best chance to practice their faith openly, without fear of per-
secution. Although believers sometimes did encounter prejudice and
intolerance, the colonies guaranteed a religious freedom most of them
had never experienced before.

Seeking a Better Life

What many colonists in the Americas shared was a firm desire to bet-
ter their lives, to rise as far and as fast as their ingenuity, hard work,
and dedication would allow them. Whether they abandoned their old

The 13 Colonies
(and dates of first
permanent settlements)

lives to make their fortune or to worship without fear of oppression,

most colonists simply wanted the chance to improve their lives. Some
agreed to work as virtual slaves to earn passage to the Americas. These
indentured servants, beholden to their employers for nearly a decade,
believed the trade-off well worth it.

Others, meanwhile, were brought to the colonies against their will.
Thousands were kidnapped from their African homelands, placed on
ships, and sold in crowded markets in cities such as New York, Charles-
ton, Savannah, and Boston. Slave owners used this human “property”
to till their fields, build their houses, and care for their children.
Despite the blight of slavery, thousands of others made the trip to
North America of their own free will. Political uncertainty and eco-
nomic hardship in their own countries encouraged Germans, Irish, and
other immigrants from Europe to seek opportunity in the British colo-
nies. In time this diverse population of colonists would revolt against
their English rulers and fight a war to create their own country, conse-
quently earning the right to call themselves by a new name: Americans.

Chapter 1

What Events Led

to the Colonization
of America?
W hen worlds collide, the result is unpredictable, scattershot, and
often dangerous. As the great powers of Europe began coloniz-
ing the continents of North and South America in the mid-sixteenth
century, few people could have imagined where the enormous invest-
ments of time, money, and backbreaking effort would lead. Nor upon
arrival did early explorers and colonists expect to be greeted by people
with established cultures and ways of life. The collision of these civi-
lizations would have profound effects on both the Europeans and the
native populations.

Europe Faces Competition

Europe in the fifteenth century was a mixture of old and new. Only a
century before, Europeans suffered through the Black Death, or bubonic
plague, which had devastated the continent and killed nearly one-third
of the population. Life expectancy in the 1400s was short—40 years
on average. Housing was dark and dingy, cities were waste strewn and
claustrophobic. At the same time, the continent was in the midst of an
intellectual and artistic explosion known as the Renaissance. Everything
from mathematics to philosophy to science was being transformed by
people such as painter and inventor Leonardo da Vinci, political theo-
rist Niccolò Machiavelli, and astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus.

Despite many advances in technology and science, Christian Eu-
rope felt economically threatened by an ever more powerful enemy:
Islam. Muslims in North Africa, Central Asia, and the Balkans had
accrued power and wealth over generations. Most Europeans viewed
the Ottoman Turks, the predominant Islamic power in southeastern
Europe and the eastern Mediterranean, as a direct and dangerous threat
to their survival. For the preceding 300 years, European armies had
fought to win back Christian holy lands in the Middle East in a se-
ries of expeditions known as the Crusades. With the blessings of the
Christian popes, vast European armies had marched into battle begin-
ning in 1095, often slaughtering thousands of innocent Muslims in the
process. Despite what they considered a divine mission, the Christian
soldiers suffered catastrophic defeats at the hands of Muslim armies
during the Crusades. Since 1187, their holy city of Jerusalem had been
under Muslim control. And in 1453 the Turks captured the Greek city
of Constantinople and threatened to advance further, into the heart of
Europe itself.
Financially, Muslim societies greatly profited from their control of
vital trade routes to Africa and the Far East. From there they brought
back gold, ivory, silks, spices, and other valuable items that were in
high demand and could command even higher prices. Europeans de-
sired and purchased these expensive goods, all of which passed through
the empire of the Turkish sultan, or ruler, thus making the sultan rich-
er and Europeans poorer. Europe’s leaders sought a new way of doing
business. They “hoped to weaken their enemy and enrich themselves,”
says historian Alan Taylor, “by seeking an alternative trade route by sea
to bypass Muslim merchants and Turkish tax collectors to reach sub-
Saharan Africa and East Asia.”2
This economic struggle was fed by the development of the print-
ing press in 1440, which in a few short years allowed books to reach
millions of increasingly literate Europeans. Book shops were stocked
with tales, both true and fantastical, of the opulence and wealth of
China and India. One of the most popular tomes recounted the 24-
year Asian odyssey of thirteenth-century Italian explorer Marco Polo.
According to author Laurence Bergreen, “The Travels of Marco Polo

A printing press is put to use in this sixteenth-century engraving. Books
spread and literacy grew with the invention of the printing press in
the mid-1400s. Access to stories of all sorts, including those of explorer
Marco Polo, helped build interest in the world beyond Europe’s borders.

inspired Europe to conceive of trading with the kingdoms of Asia, and

of exploring the world.”3 Specifically, Polo’s story would fire the imagi-
nations of a new generation of young navigators who, in the coming
decades, would change Europe’s fortunes forever.

Technology Transformed
Christian Europe’s desire to compete in peace and in war with their
Muslim counterparts was, by the 1490s, at its height. Through advances
in military technology, the Europeans challenged their Islamic enemy.
“European rulers began to commission ever bigger guns and learned
to mount them on ships,” says historian James W. Loewen. “Europe’s
incessant wars gave rise to this arms race, which ushered in refinements
in archery, drill, and siege warfare.”4
European craftspeople also further developed once primitive navi-
gational tools such as sextants, and cartographers began creating more
detailed and accurate maps of the known world to help guide those
who took to the high seas. And take to the seas they did. Thousands
of young men found new lives and careers on the water. They sought
their fortunes by joining commissions on ships that would take them
far beyond the coastal towns of Europe.
At the forefront of this nautical transformation were the Iberians.
Tucked in the corner of southwestern Europe, the kingdoms of Ara-
gon, Castile, and Portugal produced hearty seamen who sailed along
the Iberian Peninsula, which provided easy access to North Africa and
the Mediterranean Sea. The three kingdoms were strengthened in 1469
when the marriage of Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand united Ara-
gon and Castile and created a new nation, Spain.
Working with Portugal, which remained independent, Spain also
developed an interest in doing what other Europeans had thus far failed
to do: discover a sea route to Asia. But so far, a sailor with enough
knowledge, skill, and will had yet to appear. That was about to change.

Plans of Columbus
Christopher Columbus was born in Genoa in northwestern Italy in
1451, the son of a wool weaver. Bright, serious, and a devoted Chris-
tian, Columbus studied the Bible in-depth and in time formed his view
of the wider world and its people based on his understanding of bib-
lical passages. These ideas directly informed his dream of finding an
ocean route to Asia. There he hoped to convert the native populations

to Christianity and recruit them to help defeat the Muslim armies. Co-
lumbus also wished to find gold in great abundance. In his mind the
two goals were closely linked. “Gold is most excellent,” he later wrote.
“Gold constitutes treasure; and he who has it does all he wants in the
world, and can even lift souls up to Paradise.”5 Thus, Columbus poured
his intertwined religious and business ambitions into his quest to find
a sponsor for his journey.
For at least a decade, Columbus worked to find financial support
for his proposed voyage. He tried to obtain royal patronage, but Por-
tugal, France, and England rejected his brazen proposal. Only Spain’s
monarchs, Isabella and Ferdinand, agreed to fund the daring trip, hop-
ing that, at the very least, Columbus might return with new and inter-
esting goods to sell on the open market.
On August 3, 1492, Columbus set sail for India from Palos, Spain.
He captained the Santa Maria, a 100-foot-long (30m) carrack ship.
Two other vessels, smaller caravel-type ships, traveled with him: the
Niña, captained by Vicente Yáñez Pinzón, and the Pinta, piloted by
Martín Alonzo Pinzón. On board were 90 sailors. None were certain
how long their voyage would last, but contrary to popular belief, few
believed the world was flat or that they would sail off the edge of the
world if they went too far. Since the time of ancient Greece, most edu-
cated people knew the earth to be spherical.
What none of them expected was to be stymied in their passage to
Asia by any large continents. As far as cartographers and seamen at the
time knew, none existed between Europe and Asia. Instead, they an-
ticipated a relatively clear sail west. More daunting was the prospect of
dwindling food and water supplies as they ventured across the mighty
Atlantic. Early scientists had accurately determined the circumference
of the globe to be about 24,000 miles (38,624km), meaning that a
voyage of 10,000 to 12,000 miles (16,093km to 19,312km) would be
needed to reach Asia. Columbus disagreed, instead believing that the
earth was only 18,000 miles (28,968km) around.
Luckily for Columbus and his crew, an unexpected and colossal
continent stood in their way. Otherwise, without any port at which to
restock their foodstuffs, they all would likely have starved to death. In

European Ships: Faster
and Stronger

T he age of exploration, which lasted from the early fifteenth

century until the early seventeenth century, might not have
happened if not for developments in shipbuilding. As late as 1400,
European vessels were little different than those the ancient Phoe-
nicians had sailed nearly 2,000 years earlier: a single mast that
held a single, rectangular canvas. Sailors depended on the wind to
propel seaworthy craft through the water. They would need an in-
novation to transform this primitive mode of transportation.
That breakthrough came in the middle of the fifteenth centu-
ry, when enterprising shipbuilders added a second and then a third
mast. With these additions, speed and size greatly increased; ship
sizes grew to as much as 125 feet (38m) long and 50 feet (15m)
wide. Another improvement called for a second, smaller sail to be
placed at the top of the main mast. Over the next few decades,
shipbuilders experimented with even smaller sails that could be
adjusted for more precise steering and wind manipulation.
Far and away the most popular ship of its day was the cara-
vel. Developed by the Portuguese in approximately 1450, the
small, sleek, agile craft had shallow bottoms for floating down
shallow rivers as well as sailing across wide oceans. Though fast
and easy to steer, they allowed for little cargo and few crew mem-
bers. Regardless of these two drawbacks, the reliability of the
caravels is probably what convinced Columbus to use them on
his first voyage to the New World.

early October, Columbus and his men spotted branches in the water.
On October 12 a sailor named Rodrigo spotted land. They dropped
anchor on a piece of land they initially called Guanahani. Columbus
later rechristened it San Salvador.

The fleet of Christopher Columbus—the Niña, the Pinta, and the
Santa Maria—sails across the Atlantic Ocean in search of a passage to
Asia. His voyage took him instead to a new world full of possibility.

First Contact
The native people, the Arawak, wore little clothing and carried no weap-
ons, but they decorated their ears with small gold jewelry and greeted
the Europeans with gifts. Columbus, still unaware of his geographic
mistake, dubbed them Indians. He also made clear in his shipboard
log that he and his men had come to dominate these people: “They
willingly traded everything they owned. . . . They would make fine ser-
vants. . . . With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them
do whatever we want.”6
What they most wanted was the gold they now knew these Indians
possessed. To this end, Columbus immediately took some of the Ar-
awak prisoners, demanding that they guide him to the precious metal.
They traveled to the island of Hispaniola, home to modern-day Haiti
and the Dominican Republic, where the Santa Maria ran aground in
December 1492. When he returned to Spain on March 15, 1493, news

of Columbus’s successful voyage spread quickly. He embarked on 3
more expeditions to the continent, each one larger than the last. Soon
based in Hispaniola, Columbus oversaw a vast operation with one main
goal: finding gold. The Spanish ordered the Arawak to bring it to them.
When the Arawak tried to resist their harsh working conditions,
their overlords hanged or burned them to death. With the stores of
gold dwindling, the Spanish then enslaved the Arawak. This, too, dev-
astated the native population, as did diseases such as smallpox, which
the Europeans had unwittingly brought with them and passed to the
Indians. Historian Samuel Morison described the resulting carnage and
the impact that Columbus’s methods had on the people of the Carib-
bean islands. “The cruel policy initiated by Columbus and pursued by
his successors,” he wrote, “resulted in complete genocide.”7
A lust for gold combined with advanced weaponry and seafaring
technology thus conspired to connect two worlds. The young nation of
Spain had reached beyond its shores and found a larger world, full of
possibility. Other European nations, including England, France, Neth-
erlands, and Sweden, soon joined in what became a frenzy of explora-
tion that continued for centuries.

Spanish Settlement Attempt

Spain initially remained at the forefront of European progress in the
New World. In 1513 the northeastern part of the land known today
as the state of Florida was explored by Juan Ponce de León. Although
Ponce de León and his Spanish comrades claimed the land on behalf of
the Spanish crown, that claim was challenged by France in 1562 when
French captain Jean Ribault sailed up the Saint Johns River and estab-
lished Charlesfort, a short-lived colony, near present-day Jacksonville.
His successor, René Goulaine de Laudonnière, continued upriver
and made contact with a local native tribe, the Timucua, after which the
French crew established Fort Caroline. This colony, too, did not hold,
because mutinous French sailors became pirates and attacked Spanish
ships that sailed nearby. The Spaniards quickly destroyed the fort to dis-
suade further French attempts to create a permanent community.

Three years later, in the summer of 1565, Spanish explorer Pedro
Menéndez de Avilés and his ship dropped anchor near an outcropping
of land in what today is known as Florida. August 28, the day they
arrived, happened to be the feast day of Augustine of Hippo, an early
Christian scholar. In time this area became known as Saint Augustine.
It would be the first permanent settlement in the Americas.

Roanoke Colony
While the Spanish were struggling to maintain a permanent settlement
in the New World, the English were being left behind. Thus far, their
attempts at exploration had yielded little in the way of concrete results.
Then in 1584 Walter Raleigh, an English aristocrat with an adventurous
streak, obtained a charter for colonization from Queen Elizabeth I of
England. Like the other European monarchs of her day, Elizabeth laid
claim to large swaths of land in North America. To Raleigh, Elizabeth
granted seven years of rights; in honor of the so-called Virgin Queen,
he named this tract of land Virginia. Both hoped to mine the natural
resources and riches the land had to offer. Raleigh, like so many others,
had an interest in finding El Dorado, the famed and mysterious city of
gold that Native Americans had described to Spanish conquistadors.
Just as important, Raleigh and the queen sought to create a base
from which privately hired ships and sailors could be launched to con-
front and plunder Spanish ships loaded with treasure. While Raleigh
never visited North America, his ships did. A small colony was estab-
lished in his name by explorers Philip Amadas and Arthur Barlowe in
the summer of 1584 on Roanoke Island off the coast of modern-day
North Carolina. In his journal, Barlowe described the island’s rich soil
as “the most plentiful, sweet, wholesome and fruitful of all the world.”
The Native Americans they met were, he said, “gentle, loving and faith-
ful, void of all guile and treason.”8
These reports encouraged Raleigh to send more than 100 men to
the colony the following year, including scientist Thomas Harriot, who
established the New World’s first research laboratory, and artist John
White, who made sketches and maps of all he saw. But what started

Chief Powhatan

L ittle is known about the early life of Chief Powhatan.

Though the date of his birth is uncertain, he was likely born
around 1547. The son of a chief, Powhatan inherited a confed-
eracy, or union of tribes, of at least 8,000 people. As a leader
he was known to be inflexible with his people and merciless to
his enemies. Powhatan maintained a large family that included
numerous wives and 30 children, the most famous of whom was
Upon first meeting the Indian leader, Captain John Smith
described him as tall and well built, with gray hair, a wispy beard,
and a melancholy look. One year later Smith again faced Pow-
hatan and nearly died at his hands. As legend has it, Pocahontas
begged for the Englishman’s life, and in a rare display of mercy,
Powhatan allowed Smith to live.
In 1609 Captain Christopher Newport, under orders from
the Virginia Company, visited the chief and crowned him Em-
peror of the Indies. This awkward attempt to gain Powhatan’s
confidence did little for Indian-English relations. During the
next few years, warriors attacked settlers, and by 1614 tensions
led to the English kidnapping Pocahontas. Both sides bargained
and, in the end, exchanged prisoners. Powhatan later allowed
Pocahontas to marry John Rolfe, an English settler and tobacco
grower. Powhatan died in 1618 of unknown causes.

well ended poorly. The Indians grew angry over the harsh treatment by
colony commander Ralph Lane. Food and other resources dwindled,
and one group, including White, returned to England with visiting ex-
plorer Francis Drake. Those remaining, fearing Indian attack, aban-
doned the settlement and were never heard from again.

A second group of colonists arrived in Roanoke in 1587. The 115
settlers included women and children. Out of the remains of the pre-
vious settlement they built their own makeshift homes. The colony’s
new governor, John White, returned to England for supplies, but war
between England and Spain delayed the trip. When he did make it back,
in 1590, the colonists were gone, vanished into the island wilderness.
The only clue to their whereabouts was the word Croatoan carved into
a tree, a possible reference to a nearby tribe of Indians. But otherwise,
they were gone.

The fate of the Roanoke Colony remains unknown. At the time, the
disappearance must have discouraged some intrepid voyagers from set-
ting out for a new life in the Americas, but for others the promise of the
New World was too great to be denied. There was money to be made.
On April 10, 1606, Elizabeth’s successor, King James I, granted a
charter to form what became known as the Virginia Company. The
company’s primary purpose was to establish settlements in North
America and find the vast stores of gold and silver they believed were
there, somewhere.
To that end, the company, which had two parts, had the authority
to appoint the Council of Virginia, including the governor. The Virgin-
ia Company of Plymouth was permitted to settle between the thirty-
eighth and forty-fifth parallels between the upper Chesapeake Bay and
today’s US-Canada border. The Virginia Company of London—also
known as the London Company—was granted access to 100 square
miles (259 sq. km) between the thirty-fourth and forty-first parallels,
from modern-day Cape Fear in Florida to Long Island Sound.
The first of the two to lay claim to a permanent settlement was the
London Company. On May 13, 1607, after a five-month voyage led by
Captain Christopher Newport, three shiploads of male settlers made land
40 miles (64km) inland from the mouth of a waterway they dubbed the
James River, after their king. There they established Jamestown Cittie (city).
Although the area appeared free of Indians, it was swampy and mosquito-

The first settlers of Jamestown had an uneasy relationship with
Powhatan, chief of the Algonquin. He offered to trade food and other
desperately needed supplies, but he also sent war parties to attack the
settlement, as depicted in this engraving.

ridden. The settlers cleared land for a fort and a few two-room cottages
with thatched roofs and clay walls, but their food supply quickly ran out.

Struggle for Survival

The first desperate citizens of Jamestown were fortunate that surround-
ing their small settlement were over 20,000 Algonquin. Initially hos-
tile, their chief, Powhatan, eventually offered the white settlers food,

corn, and other supplies in return for beads, copper, and iron tools.
The men of Jamestown eyed the Indian tribe with caution at first, but
they also found the people and their customs strangely attractive, as an
account by settler George Percy attests: “They goe altogether naked,
but their privities are covered with Beasts skinnes beset commonly with
little bones, or beasts teeth: some paint their bodies blacke, some red,
with artificiall knots of sundry lively colours, very beautifull and pleas-
ing to the eye, in a braver fashion than they in the West Indies.”9
Suspicious of the settlers and uncertain of their motives, Powhatan
gave the English mixed messages. Sometimes he sent war parties to at-
tack Jamestown; at other times he signaled he wanted peace. Meanwhile,
many of the settlers were becoming ill in the salty, swampy climate from
diseases like typhoid and dysentery. Sweaty, dirty bodies baking in the
hot Virginia sun only made matters worse, and sickness spread. In only
a matter of months, 51 of the original 105 men were dead.

Starvation and Stability

By autumn it was clear that the survivors would not have enough food
to sustain them through the winter. Not only had they arrived late in
the planting season, but early on they had failed to clear enough land
to plant anything that was likely to grow. Instead, many of the men had
spent their time searching for gold. Again, Powhatan provided what
food he could spare. And while this staved off starvation for a while,
arguments among the settlers still flared.
Most were well-bred English gentlemen, unaccustomed to the hard
physical labor it would take to carve out a viable community. They
rejected the strict and stubborn leadership of Jamestown’s president,
Edward Wingfield, and quickly rallied around a charismatic ship cap-
tain named John Smith. Tough, well traveled, and clever, Smith gave
the settlers hope by organizing their efforts around planting the corn
that the Indians had given them, building better homes, and shoring
up their defenses against attack.
More settlers, including women, arrived in the spring and fall of
1608. But in the winter of 1609–1610 came the “starving time,” during

which 440 of the 500 new arrivals died within just 6 months because
of a lack of food. Jamestown would not begin to thrive until an enter-
prising Englishman, John Rolfe, began planting tobacco seeds in 1614.
Rolfe likely saw tobacco as Jamestown’s last hope for survival. The rich,
swampy soil of Virginia was, in fact, the perfect bed from which the lush
and leafy plants could rise and thrive. Before long, nearly every settler’s
home had a tobacco patch outside. Rolfe’s idea saved Jamestown, and in
1624 it became the capital of Virginia. The community thrived, surviv-
ing Indian attacks and other disasters until 1698, when its statehouse
burned to the ground. Soon after, the people of Jamestown moved to the
small Middle Plantation settlement, later called Williamsburg, which
became the new capital in 1699.
While the early colonists to the New World sought glory and wealth,
the next wave of colonists took a different tack. They were driven less
by loyalty to country or a lust for gold and more by a deep and pious
desire to worship where and how they wished. These strict and serious
English settlers would in time establish a firm foundation upon which
a future independent nation would be built.

Chapter 2

Seeking Religious
T he first European settlers in North America endured Indian at-
tacks, hard labor, disease, starvation, and contaminated water for
one purpose: profit. And they found it in the thriving tobacco patches
of Virginia. The lush but unforgiving wilds of the continent proved
fatal for hundreds of settlers, yet the survivors persisted and in time
earned great profits and established a foothold that would prove power-
ful and permanent. In the 1620s, the second wave of English settlers—
members of a Protestant sect called Puritans—also sought monetary
reward, but only as a way of supporting their primary goals of religious
freedom and cultural independence. Considered outsiders in their day,
these single-minded Christians would one day inspire admiration for
their determination and courage, as well as contempt for their harsh
and parochial beliefs. They would also pave the way for other Christian
denominations, Roman Catholics and Quakers, in the New World.

The Puritans Flee England

In 1609 a group of pious English Protestants known as Puritans made
a bold decision. The group sought more direct engagement with God
and what they took as his holy word, the Bible. The book was to be tak-
en literally, they believed, and whatever was left out was a distortion of
God’s will. For them hymns were sinful, dancing was forbidden, and a
person’s heavenly salvation was decided long before he or she was born.
Authorities of the Church of England (or Anglican Church) viewed
these beliefs as radical, far outside the Protestant mainstream. They

condemned and harassed the Puritans for their stark and strict prac-
tices. “Some were taken & clapt up in prison, others had their houses
besett & watcht night and day, & hardly escaped,”10 wrote early Puri-
tan leader William Bradford.
Tired of the abuse, the Puritan plan was to separate from the
Church of England. To that end, these Separatists, as they were some-
times known, packed their possessions and left their homes in England
for Holland. The Puritan’s time in the Dutch city of Leiden provid-
ed them the religious freedom they desired, but as the years went by
they became worried. “Gradually and inevitably, they were becoming
Dutch,” says Nathaniel Philbrick. “The congregation had rejected the
Church of England, but the vast majority of its members were still
proudly, even defiantly, English.”11 The solution, the Puritans decided,
was a voyage to the New World, where they could re-create an English
village environment for their descendants.

The Mayflower Departs

Like the Jamestown settlers 13 years before, the Puritans applied for
and were awarded a patent from the Virginia Company to settle in
that colony. But Virginia was an Anglican community, and the reli-
gious purists believed they would not be welcome there because of
their differing religious beliefs. Instead, in July 1620 they requested
and received financial aid from a group of London merchants head-
ed by Thomas Weston. The Pilgrims, as they would soon be known,
would farm the land, construct a settlement, and fish North America’s
waters for 7 years. The profits they accrued during that time would
then be shared with the merchants. Thus, on September 6, 1620, the
Pilgrims made sail and departed with 102 passengers on the ship the
The 180-ton (163–metric ton) Mayflower—built to hold cargo,
not people—was small, measuring between 90 and 110 feet (27.4m
and 33.5m) long and 25 feet (7.6m) wide. Unlike the first group of
passengers to Jamestown, women, including three who were pregnant,
and children were aboard. Often confined below deck in squalid and

The Roots and Offshoots of Puritanism

cramped conditions with little to eat but dried, tasteless meat or a wa-
tery cereal called gruel, many of the Pilgrims spent the voyage nauseous
and bedridden. Two of them died.

Off Course
Captain Christopher Jones and his crew of 20 to 30 men had instruc-
tions to make for Virginia, but by the end of September torrential
storms conspired against those plans. By late October the passengers
were sick, desperate, and unlikely to survive much longer, but Jones
spotted land in early November. It was the hook of Cape Cod, jutting
into the Atlantic. Checking his calculations, he recognized that he had
brought the Mayflower too far north. He started to head south, but
lashing winds forced him rethink his decision.
Jones dropped anchor on November 13, 1620, just off the coast of
present-day Provincetown, Massachusetts. Bradford noted the day of
glory in his journal: “Being thus arrived in a good harbor and brought
safe to land, [we] fell upon [our] knees and blessed the God of Heaven
who had brought [us] over the vast and furious ocean.”12
During the voyage, Pilgrim authorities drafted an agreement about
how the new colony would be governed. They knew that many of the
colonists were not Separatists from the Church of England like them-
selves, and they wanted to clearly establish the laws that they believed
would most benefit their new society. The Mayflower Compact, as it
came to be called, put the Pilgrim leaders clearly in charge.

Plymouth Established
After the compact was signed, one group of men made their way to
shore and immediately looked for a flat, dry section of land where they
could begin to construct temporary housing for the nervous families.
Another small party took to a boat called a shallop and sailed down
the coast in hopes of finding a place to make their more permanent
settlement. When they returned a few hours later, group leaders told of
a sheltered harbor that might prove an excellent location for a colony.

Plymouth, noted by Captain John Smith in his 1614 map of the
area, was close to the shoreline and had fallow cornfields and a nearby
brook with an endless supply of clean water. By Christmas Day 1620,
the Pilgrims had begun building primitive but livable houses. Con-
struction was slow, and despite the mild winter many of the people
could not overcome their shipboard ailments or adapt to their new sur-
roundings. By season’s end almost 50 of them were dead. Survivors
lived off the food supplies they had brought with them until they were
able to plant and grow crops the following year.
During that first spring, the settlers had their first close contact
with Native Americans. In February 1621 the Pilgrims spotted two In-
dians standing on top of what later became known as Watson’s Hill.
That encounter ended without words. But on March 16 an Indian war-
rior named Samoset walked past a row of new houses, saluted a group
of pilgrim men, and greeted them enthusiastically: “Welcome English-
men!”13 he said.
In the coming months the Pilgrims and the native people of the
area forged a kind of friendship. They learned from Samoset that many
of the local Indians had been wiped out by plague and that the local
tribal leader, Massasoit, lived in an area called Pokanoket. Before long
the Pokanoket people had taught the pilgrim-led community how to
use fish as fertilizer and how best to plant their corn. In return Mas-
sasoit asked for the settlers’ help in defeating his Indian enemies. The
Pilgrims joined forces with the Indian leader and waged war on their
now mutual enemies, but in time this alliance would fray.

Massachusetts Bay Colony

The Puritan founders of the Massachusetts Bay Company were not
Separatists like the Pilgrims. Instead, they hoped to change the
Church of England from the inside out. But by the mid-1620s, these
well-educated Puritan businessmen decided that this approach was
becoming less and less likely to succeed in England. The English king,
Charles I, had dissolved the country’s lawmaking body, the Parlia-
ment, and assumed those powers for himself. These and other actions

The Pilgrims prepare for their departure from England on the
Mayflower. Unlike earlier voyages to the Americas, the passengers
included men, women, and children—many of whom were sick and
bed-ridden throughout the journey.

by the English king made life even harder for religious dissenters,
many of whom wished to escape to the New World.
In 1630 they did. Led by Puritan lawyer John Winthrop, a ship-
load of 1,000 new settlers funded by the Massachusetts Bay Company
landed on the Shawmut Peninsula, soon after renamed Boston. There,
staunch Puritan leaders planned to establish a theocracy—a religious-
ly based system of government—in the New World. By 1640 nearly
20,000 people would call this growing city and the surrounding areas
their home.

As the Massachusetts Bay Colony began to thrive as a Puritan com-
munity, one of its members began teaching a doctrine of Puritanism
that irked many of its leaders and, in their eyes, threatened the grow-
ing community as a whole. Chaplain and Separatist sympathizer Roger
Williams arrived in Boston with his wife, Mary, in February 1631.
Soon after this he rejected a post in the Boston church as assistant min-
ister on the grounds that the institution was not distinct enough from
the Church of England. To Williams, the Church of England was a
false church. Members of what Williams considered the true church
had to be “rocks”—the flesh-and-blood foundation—of the church and
its laws, distinct from false and wrongheaded worshippers. People who
followed Williams’s teaching “must not only be as living stones,” he
said, “but also separated from the rubbish of antichristian confusions
and desolations.”14
Williams also claimed that civil, or nonreligious, government lead-
ers had no right to punish citizens on religious grounds, a common
practice in a colony sternly ruled by religious leaders. Instead, preached
Williams, separatism from the Church of England was essential to pu-
rify the worship of God, but so, too, was a separation of church and
state. His deep-seated belief in religious freedom—what he referred to
as “soul liberty”—led him to conclude that for a community to thrive,
there must be a “wall of separation” dividing what he called the “Gar-
den of Christ” and the “Wilderness of the World.”15

Cast Out
By the summer of 1631, Williams’s views and impressive pulpit per-
formance had won him a position in the town of Salem in the growing
Plymouth Colony. Governor William Bradford praised his skills. But
Plymouth, too, did not meet Williams’s requirements for a fully sepa-
rated church. Over the next few years, Williams began questioning the
king’s charter that had provided the legal justification for the colony it-
self, asserting that it was sinful to claim any rights to the lands in which
the Indians made their homes. Repentance, Williams said, could only
be achieved by renouncing the king’s charter and leaving Indian lands.

Anne Hutchinson:
Puritan Radical

B oston midwife Anne Hutchinson spoke her mind.

Born in England in 1591, she and her husband, Wil-
liam, followed their charismatic minister, John Cotton, to
New England in 1634. There the Hutchinsons and their 12
children became respected members of the community. But
after only two years, Anne found herself at the center of a
Puritan storm. Anne held biweekly meetings to discuss Cot-
ton’s sermons. He was, she believed, right to speak out against
preachers who taught their congregants that living a moral
life ensured heavenly reward. She also spoke freely about the
equality of women.
Upon review by Puritan officials, Anne was charged with
heresy, or rejection of Christian doctrine. At her trial in 1637,
she claimed direct communication with God. She was con-
frontational and unapologetic: “You have no power over my
body, neither can you do me any harme, for I am in the hands
of the eternall Jehovah my Saviour . . . he will deliver me out
of our hands, therefore take heed how you proceed against
me; for I know that for this you goe about to doe to me, God
will ruine you and your posterity, and this whole state.”
Despite her passionate defense, Anne was banished from the
colony and excommunicated from the church. Upon leaving the
colony in 1638, the Hutchinsons moved to Aquidneck Island in
Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island. After the death of her hus-
band in 1642, Anne moved to New York, where she was killed in
an Indian attack in 1643.

Quoted in Adrian Chastain Weimer, Martyrs’ Mirror: Persecution and Holiness in Early New
England. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011, p. 67.

By 1633 Bradford’s praise of Williams turned to concern: “He
this year began to fall into some strange opinions,” wrote Bradford,
“which caused some controversy between the church and him.”16 Be-
fore long, concern over the controversy turned to disdain, as Puritan
leaders took legal action against Williams and his beliefs, which they
deemed heretical, or against the church. At first the Salem congrega-
tion supported Williams, but under political pressure he lost virtually
all of his followers. In October 1635 Roger Williams was convicted
of sedition and heresy by the General Court and sentenced to ban-
ishment. He was no longer welcome in the colony. The sentence was
delayed until January 1636, but when the local sheriff arrived at the
Williams home to send him away, he found Williams gone. Three
days earlier the brazen cleric had left on his own, walking 105 miles
(169km) through deep Massachusetts snowdrifts to Narragansett Bay
in the south. Near death from the frigid weather, Williams came upon
a party of Indians, who took him to the winter camp of their leader,
By the spring of 1636, Williams had found his footing and in time
established a community of like-minded Puritans, most of whom had
followed their leader from Salem. He named the community Provi-
dence because, he said, God’s providence had led him there. The colony
of Rhode Island would grow around the leadership, determination, and
radical zeal of Williams. “Williams’ greatness lies in his refusal to keep
his head down in a society that prizes nothing more than harmony and
groupthink,” says writer Sarah Vowell. “He cares more about truth than
popularity or respect or personal safety.”17

Catholics Seek Refuge

As the Puritans were establishing their villages and towns in Massachu-
setts, another group of believers—Roman Catholics from England—
were attempting to settle another part of the Eastern Seaboard. Like
their predecessors in the New World, they hoped to worship freely, ac-
cording to the tenets of their faith. By the 1620s the English penal code,
with its harsh restrictions on Catholics and other non-Protestants,

Massachusetts Circa 1692

encouraged wealthy, usually secret, members of the faith to seek ref-

uge abroad. But not until George Calvert did Catholic settlement in
the Americas appear viable. Calvert, a well-liked courtier and English
secretary of state, had converted to Catholicism in 1625. But it was
the Earl of Warwick, a Protestant, who suggested that Calvert invest
heavily in the Virginia Company. A year later Calvert and Warwick
worked side by side on a New England governing council that funded
and controlled a new fishing settlement on Newfoundland off the
coast of eastern Canada.
The prospect of seeing the New World firsthand fired Calvert’s imagi-
nation. But in a letter to a friend, he also recognized that if he did not
settle it himself, he had to be willing to give up his claim to the land:

Newfoundland . . . imports me more than in Curiosity only

to see; for I must either go and settle it in a better Order than
it is, or else give it over, and lose all the Charges I have been

at hitherto for other Men to build their Fortunes upon. And I
had rather be esteemed a Fool for some by the Hazard of one
Month’s journey, than to prove myself one certainly for six Years
by past, if the Business be now lost for some want of a little
Pains and Care.18

In 1627 Calvert finally visited the Newfoundland site, called Ava-

lon, but he left disappointed by the rock-hard soil, frigid winter, and
frequent attacks by the French settlers and soldiers who sought the land
for themselves. Although a recent convert, Calvert’s interest in the colo-
nies was almost purely financial. He wanted a plantation and now, after
his experiences in the north, sought a warmer climate. He joined an
expedition in 1629 whose purpose was to explore inland Virginia. But
the Virginians—despite Calvert’s investment in the company that un-
derwrote the settlement—banned his entry because of his religion. In
other words, Catholics were not welcome.
While the Puritans of New England and the Anglicans of the Virgin-
ia settlement at Jamestown rarely saw eye to eye on religious grounds,
they did share a deep disdain for Roman Catholicism. “The Anglican
ministers of Virginia and the Puritan divines of Massachusetts Bay
were often worlds apart in their theology,” says historian John Tracy
Ellis, “but there was nothing that would cause them to close ranks more
quickly than a supposed threat from the Church of Rome.”19 The lead-
ers of both colonies created laws that barred Catholics from worship-
ping without threat of punishment.

Establishing Maryland
Dejected but determined, George Calvert pleaded his case to King
Charles I, asking for a charter to create a colony north of Virginia.
There, he believed, not only could profits be made, but his fellow Cath-
olics would find a home. The province would be named Maryland, in
honor of the king’s wife, Henrietta Maria of France. But Calvert never
got to see the colony of Maryland established. He died in April 1632,
two months before its charter was issued.

Soon after, Calvert’s son, Cecilius, picked up the cause. A Catholic
like his father, Cecilius was more than willing to join with Protestants
to build businesses, communities, and churches. The Maryland colo-
nists set sail from England in November 1633. Before the voyage com-
menced, Cecilius put to paper his thoughts on religious equality for
the new settlers and their leaders. He knew the prejudice that the large
number of Protestants on board would have toward his fellow Catho-
lics and suggested that Catholic services be held in private and that the
Catholics speak as little as possible about their religion.
The settlers arrived on Saint Clement’s Island in the Chesapeake
Bay on March 24, 1634. Upon arrival, Catholic priest Andrew White
held Mass while Protestant ministers held services for their own congre-
gants. The new colony of Maryland prospered for a time, with Catho-
lics and Protestants living side by side but attending separate churches.
It also became a kind of sanctuary for Puritans cast from Virginia and
Anglicans banned from Connecticut and Massachusetts for failing to
follow the strict rules of those colonies. But Anglican settler and promi-
nent political figure William Claiborne of Virginia continued to harbor
suspicions about and outright hatred of his Catholic neighbors to the
north. He also despised the Calvert family for their claim to an island
on which he owned land.
With the help of influential landowners like Claiborne, Protestants
in Maryland began to reject Catholic leadership. In order to preserve
the fragile peace, Cecilius Calvert, who held the title Baron Baltimore,
imposed the Act of Toleration, which sought to prevent hatred between
the religious sects. The measure ultimately failed, as Protestant leaders
took control of the leadership in 1654, repealed the Act of Toleration,
and outlawed Catholicism. In the ensuing chaos four Catholics were
executed and the estates of wealthy landowners were plundered.
In 1691 Maryland came under official control of England when
King William III exerted his royal sovereignty and took command of
the colony from Cecilius Calvert. For the next 80 years, Catholic influ-
ence in the colony waned and violence against its adherents rose dra-
matically. It would take a revolution to restore religious tolerance to a
place founded on providing that very thing.

Quakers Seek Refuge
Catholics in Maryland remained at odds with their Protestant coun-
terparts. Yet religious intolerance also extended to another Christian
sect that many in England considered particularly odd and heretical.
These were the Quakers, so named because they bid others to tremble
at the word of God. The basic tenets of Quakerism were developed and
promoted by George Fox, an English preacher who said he wanted to
simplify Christian worship.
Unlike their fellow Protestants the Puritans, Quakers believed that
everyone could achieve salvation through a belief in Jesus Christ; God
was in everyone. It was this inner light and the innate goodness of all
people that allowed Quaker worshippers to live in “holy conversation”
with one another and with God. The Society of Friends, as they often
called themselves, did not depend on priests or spirituals texts like the
Bible or the Book of Common Prayer. Quakers also argued that killing
could never be justified, and they therefore refused military service or
the paying of taxes to fund wars.
In practice, Quakerism appeared to Protestants and Catholics
alike as a highly suspect form of Christianity. Yet Quakers were also
considered by most to be hardworking and honest. Thus, they often
prospered in business, as did William Penn, who was the son of a
well-connected naval officer. Penn (like the Anglicans, Puritans, and
Catholics before him) looked to the British Crown to help him find
sanctuary for his like-minded believers. He made his first attempt at
settlement in 1676, when he and a group of other Quakers acted as
trustees for an area of land in West Jersey. The Quaker settlement was
small—only 200 people.
Disagreements over land complicated Penn’s plans, but in 1681 he de-
cided to attempt another venture. This time he set his enterprising sights
on a portion of land that existed beyond the Delaware River, most of it
unclaimed. He petitioned King Charles II for a charter and received it; the
sovereign owed Penn’s father a vast sum of money he had borrowed. Penn
was free to grant segments of this land to settlers, make laws governing
the province, and levy taxes. Penn called for no official church; instead,
colonists could worship as they chose—freely and with mutual respect for

Anthony Janszoon van Salee:
Early American Muslim

L ittle is known about people of Muslim faith in colonial Amer-

ica. Those that did make the colonies their home typically
had to practice their religious beliefs and rituals in secret: The pre-
dominantly Christian colonies had virtually no tolerance for other
religions. One exception was Anthony Janszoon van Salee. Born
in 1607 in Cartagena, Spain, Van Salee spent his young adulthood
in Morocco, Algeria, and Amsterdam; his father, an infamous Bar-
bary pirate and a follower of Islam, provided his son with consid-
erable wealth.
In 1630 Van Salee sailed to New Amsterdam, present-day
New York City, with his young German bride, Grietse Reyniers.
There Van Salee purchased thousands of acres of land in the Dutch
colony, and by 1639 he was known as one of the largest landown-
ers on Manhattan Island. After a series of legal disputes, Van Salee
settled on a tract of land now known as Gravesend, Brooklyn.
Despite Van Salee’s Muslim upbringing, evidence suggests that he
remained nonreligious throughout most of his life. This may have
led to greater acceptance by his New World contemporaries.

those of other faiths. He called this practice a “holy experiment.”20 In his

correspondence, he wrote of building a colony with no need for weapons
or armies to use against the Indians. Instead, tribes would be reduced in
size and made less threatening to colonists by “gentle and just measures,
to the love of civil society and the Christian religion.”21

Quaker Settlements
The first ships carrying Quaker settlers to the colony, which included
what is now known as Pennsylvania and Delaware, arrived in 1682.

They were greeted by hundreds of English, Swedish, Finnish, Dutch,
and Native American people already there. William Markham, Penn’s
cousin, arrived bearing news that the land was now under the juris-
diction of Penn. In the weeks and months that followed, Markham
and other authorities established a city at the fertile intersection of
the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers: Philadelphia. Upon his arrival in
late 1682, Penn discovered that the settlement had already grown to
include more than 4,000 people. Despite Penn’s pledge of mutual re-
spect, the growing communities soon devolved into animosity and
tension as colonists’ varied interests saw them fighting over land and
other resources.
Penn’s establishment of Pennsylvania and Delaware under Quaker
leadership provided one more example of colonists seeking the right
to worship God as they saw fit. Although this hallmark of the period
continued to inspire pious immigrants for decades, another enticement
was just as powerful a motivator and in time drew thousands more to
the shores of colonial America.

Chapter 3

Quest for
C ommerce and the quest for riches were the primary motiva-
tions behind the European colonization of the Americas. The
colonies held the promise of producing limitless quantities of rice,
corn, gold, and other commodities. Yet early colonial economies sub-
sisted on one cherished item: fur. Before long this trading in animals
pelts became the first big business that fueled the economies of Eu-
rope and the fate of the colonies themselves. As the colonies grew,
so did the need for cheap labor. Many immigrants were willing to
trade years of indentured servitude for a chance to settle in the New
World. Imported African slaves, on the other hand, were given no
choice and were forced to work on large plantations in the South.
Before long, a growing diversity of business interests helped develop
the colonies into an economic power.

The Dutch and New Netherland

While Englishmen of the Virginia Company struggled and died at
Jamestown, the Dutch were planning their own foray into North
America. In 1609 the Dutch East India Company invested in a seven-
month exploratory journey by navigator Henry Hudson. Ambitious
and courageous, Hudson wanted to accomplish what so many had
already failed to do: find the treasure route from Europe to Asia. His
proposed method was both unique and bold: He would find China
and India by sailing right over the top of the world. His employer

rejected the idea and ordered him to find a different route. Hudson
charted a more southern course, traveling first to Nova Scotia and
then further southwest.
In September 1609 Hudson sighted land and sailed up the wide
waterway in front of him. He arrived at a massive island, which he
mapped, and then sailed further down the river to the land that would
become Albany, the state capital of New York. The Dutch settlers that
followed Hudson to this verdant landmass called their province New
Netherland. It extended as far north, south, and west as present-day
New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Delaware.
The newcomers originally based their economy on fur trading
with the native Algonquin peoples. The Indians were enlisted to
hunt, capture, and skin animals, particularly beaver; the Dutch then
sent the pelts to Europe and reaped a profit. But by 1626 the direc-
tor of New Netherland, Peter Minuit, was unsatisfied. The prov-
ince’s capital, located on a piece of land abutting what the Dutch
called the South River, did not provide a central enough location
for the colony’s business interests. Minuit wanted to relocate to the
southern tip of Hudson’s large island at the mouth of what was then
known as the North River. The local tribes called the island Man-
nahatta. There, writes historian Russell Shorto, Minuit found a fine
location for doing business: “Its forests were rich with game; it had
flatlands that could be farmed and freshwater streams . . . it was, in
short, a natural fulcrum between the densely civilized continent of
Europe and the tantalizingly wild continent of North America. It
was the perfect island.”22
Minuit bargained with the Indians who, legend has it, agreed to
sell Mannahatta for the modern equivalent of $24. But the Indian
concept of ownership differed from that of the Europeans. They like-
ly made the deal because it implicitly suggested an alliance between
themselves and the Dutch against enemy tribes. The Algonquin also
expected continued full use of the land for hunting and living, despite
the transaction.

Slow Growth
The Dutch settlers of New Netherland and the nearby settlement of
New Amsterdam arrived as employees of the Dutch West India Com-
pany. This newly formed and newly named company was charged
with exploiting the fur-rich region. Most of the colonists had agreed
to a six-year venture, after which they could establish more perma-
nent residence if they chose. Growth of the Dutch colony progressed
slowly, but unlike Jamestown, settlers found fertile farmland on
which they could grow barley, wheat, and rye and felled plenty of
timber that could be harvested for shipbuilding.
Despite these attractions, by 1630 only about 300 colonists lived
in New Netherland. The financial rewards, consequently, were modest,
and the Dutch West India Company began losing interest in the colo-
ny. Still, company directors recognized the importance of the province’s
location and thereafter encouraged private investment by offering large
areas of land for anyone willing and able to enlist 50 or more people to
travel to New Netherland.
This early example of free enterprise, which allowed a person to
farm, hunt game, and dig for minerals to eke out a living as he or she
saw fit, would one day become a bedrock business principle in the
Americas. But few Dutch took the company up on its offer. Other set-
tlers, though, did come. They included Germans, Swedes, Jews, Puri-
tans, and French Protestants. Most paid their own passage and brought
over at least five family members. In return they received land grants
of 200 acres (81ha) each. What had begun as a Dutch-speaking trading
post was, by 1643, growing into a multitongued mixture of New World
Fur trading remained the primary industry in Fort Orange near
present-day Albany, New York, while farming occupied settlers in
New Amsterdam. In both places, relations with the native people—
Mahican, Mohawk, Manhattan, and Wappinger—became increas-
ingly testy. Company attempts at drawing up contracts and buying
the land outright mostly failed with people who did not believe in

Farming Thrives in New Sweden

T he Scandinavian nation of Sweden was once one of the

world’s great powers. During the seventeenth century it
included large parts of Norway and virtually all of Finland.
Not wanting to be left out of the European conquests of the
New World, a group of stockholders formed the New Sweden
Company in 1637. The company hired Peter Minuit, former
governor of the Dutch colony, to lead the first expedition.
Two ships, the Kalmar Nyckel and the Fogel Grip, made land
at Delaware Bay in March 1638. There the new arrivals built
a fort in the area of present-day Wilmington, Delaware. Fort
Christina, named for the Nordic nation’s young queen, be-
came the first permanent European settlement in the Dela-
ware Valley.
Seventeen years and 600 settlers later, New Sweden had
grown into a thriving farming community that comprised parts
of Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. The col-
ony’s golden age coincided with the leadership of Johan Printz,
who extended commercial interests and built Fort Elfsborg on
the New Jersey side of the Delaware River. The profit and prog-
ress did not last long. Printz was eventually replaced; his succes-
sor angered the Dutch by attacking one of their forts, and the
Dutch, led by Peter Stuyvesant, retaliated. In 1655 the Swedes
relinquished control of the area. They continued to live as a
separate Swedish community until 1681, when William Penn
received a charter to control the counties that once constituted
New Sweden.

the concept of ownership. Bad blood between the settlers and the
Indians led to the murder of a number of colonists. Director General
Willem Kieft ordered reprisals, and in February 1643 Dutch forces
surrounded a native village called Pavonia and set it ablaze. Flee-
ing men, women, and children were brutally shot before they could
escape. The massacre invoked rage in the Indians, who in turn took
to killing whatever white people they could find. The bloody skir-
mishes killed at least 1,000 Indians and dozens of New Netherland

Success and Controversy

The success of New Netherland was hindered not only by violence be-
tween Native Americans and settlers, but also by a colonial structure
that heavily favored the richest and most influential settlers. The wealthy
and powerful made laws that mostly benefited their interests. The direc-
tor general and a small group of authorities held sway—taxing citizens,
meting out justice as they saw fit, and demanding that settlers obey
company policy.
An eight-man council was eventually elected by local citizens. Its
members argued for lower taxes and demanded a new director gen-
eral. The Dutch West India Company heard the council’s concerns, and
in 1645 the colony’s government allowed for greater representation
among the citizenry. These concessions were put into place under the
Dutch colony’s new director general, Peter Stuyvesant.
Stuyvesant’s tenure proved controversial in New Netherland. The
director general initially welcomed the council’s comments on the level
of taxation in the colony, but soon after, Stuyvesant abolished the coun-
cil. His coarse language and rough manner also angered locals, as did
the accusation that the director general sold muskets to the Indians.
But Stuyvesant also led the colony with a firm and steady hand that
it had lacked. On the Sunday after his arrival in the colony, a knife
fight, common at the time, erupted. Immediately, Stuyvesant issued
orders prohibiting the sale of alcohol on Sundays before 2:00 p.m. and

decreeing that those wielding knives would face six months in jail. But
Stuyvesant was also fair: “His justice was blind when it came to distin-
guishing between colonists and the West India Company sailors and
soldiers,” says Shorto. “No one could accuse him—as they had Kieft—
of favoring company employees.”23

Dutch Surrender
Stuyvesant’s leadership notwithstanding, the colony was forever trans-
formed in 1664. The English had long envied Dutch trading success
around the world and claimed rights to New Netherland. The Dutch,
meanwhile, sought to strengthen their hold on the colony and formed
an alliance with the French as a way of ensuring its protection. In
March 1664 King Charles II of England responded by annexing New
Netherland as a British province and granting the area to his brother
James, Duke of York and Albany.
In August 1664 James ordered an attack on the capital of New Am-
sterdam on Manhattan Island. Stuyvesant now led a colony of 9,000
people, but he had neither the navy nor the army to defend the town.
In early September he returned from a trip to Fort Orange to find Eng-
lish gunboats blocking all entrance to Manhattan.
At first Stuyvesant held firm, refusing to surrender the city, but a
petition sent to him by some of the 1,500 residents of New Amsterdam
forced him to reconsider. “They made clear in their final petition . . .
that they were willing to support their neighbors and their colony,”
writes Shorto, “but they had no qualms about abandoning the com-
pany that had left them defenseless.”24 With little popular support of
the Dutch colony, Stuyvesant had little choice but to give in to British
demands of surrender.
Thus, on September 8, 1664, Stuyvesant and a military proces-
sion marked by solemn drums and waving Dutch flags marched out of
Fort Amsterdam. The Dutch sailed home, leaving the diverse citizens
of New Amsterdam to fend for themselves under new leadership and a
new name: New York City.

Peter Stuyvesant (center) marks the arrival of Dutch settlers in New
Netherland (later renamed New York, after James, Duke of York).
Stuyvesant, who ran the colony with a firm hand and angered the
colonists in the process, was eventually forced out by the English.

Carolina Commerce
The Dutch had earned tremendous profits through trade during their
time in the New World. Elsewhere during the colonial period, land
became the most highly prized commodity. Just as Stuyvesant surren-
dered New Netherland to the British, another group of Englishmen

were vying for their own profit center a few hundred miles to the south.
Led by John Colleton, this group of eight lord proprietors, as they were
called, accepted land granted to them by Charles II. It was situated
between southern Virginia and northern Florida.
Although future settlers would live under laws, land grants, and
regulations dictated by the proprietors, they would remain subjects of
the king. The proprietors created a system of government called the
Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina, which set up a local parlia-
ment to be led by men of wealth and distinction. Most importantly,
Carolina would be split into two provinces, Albemarle and Claren-
don. Within each would be a number of smaller counties, controlled
by the proprietors. The earliest settlers made land in the vicinity of
the Ashley River in April 1670. The new colonists quickly erected a
stockade on the south bank of the river and christened their settle-
ment Charles Town. Over the next few years, settlers showed little
interest in farming the land and instead took up fur trading. Many
of the new immigrants to Carolina were Virginians looking for new
In 1680 the growing town moved to the junction of the Ashley and
Cooper Rivers and was renamed Charleston. Over time, the colonists
began raising livestock, particularly hogs, and growing tobacco and,
eventually, rice. The economy of the region remained modestly suc-
cessful until the introduction of indigo in the 1740s. The indigo plant,
when boiled, produced a rich violet dye soon prized in Europe for the
coloring of clothes. The development of these cash crops was a boon for
the area—all made possible by the institution of human slavery.

The Rise of Slavery

The first slaves in North America likely arrived soon after Columbus
and were brought from Africa to the New World by the Spanish. By
the late 1600s many English colonial landowners preferred the use of
indentured servants to that of slaves. Such servants, white or black,
became independent after a period of three to seven years and soon

Middle Passage

F rom the 1500s through 1808 roughly 645,000 African slaves

were brought to North America, mostly to work on south-
ern plantations. After being captured in the interior of their West
African nations, the slaves had to endure the infamous Middle
Passage across the Atlantic Ocean aboard slave ships. Below deck
men were chained flat in pairs in spaces 16 inches (40.6cm)
wide and 5 feet (1.5m) long. Women and children, typically un-
chained, cowered in fear nearby. The voyage to the Americas,
with frequent stops to take on more slaves, could take up to 10
months. Nigerian Olaudah Equiano, whose narrative provides
the earliest known record of colonial slavery, described the mis-
erable conditions in the late 1700s:

The closeness of the place and the heat of the climate,

added to the number of the ship, which was so crowded
that each had scarcely room to turn himself. This wretch-
ed situation was again aggravated by the galling of the
chains, which now became insupportable, and the filth
of the necessary tubs [toilets] into which the children of-
ten fell and were almost suffocated. The shrieks of the
women and the groans of the dying rendered the whole a
scene of horror almost inconceivable.

Those slaves who arrived alive in Charleston or New York

City were quickly sold to owners, who often mistreated them
and separated them from their families. This cheap form of la-
bor became the economic engine for the American colonies and,
eventually, the United States.
Quoted in Steven Mintz, ed., “Excerpts from Slave Narratives—Chapter 6,” OpenClass. www

formed their own communities and created their own livelihoods. Still,
most of these former servants remained poor, scratching out a meager
Planters found it harder and harder to run their enormous farms, or
plantations, without a cheap form of labor. Gradually, therefore, slav-
ery became accepted practice. In 1690 there were approximately 1,500
slaves in South Carolina, but the importation of human chattel—the
Atlantic slave trade—soon boomed, in large part due to the Virginia
Slave Codes of 1705. These defined a slave as a person brought to the
colonies from non-Christian countries. The Virginia codes established
a legal precedent for slavery in all 13 British colonies, and by 1720,
12,000 African slaves worked in South Carolina alone; nearly 65 per-
cent of the province’s population consisted of slaves.
Many wealthy Carolinians feared the possibility of a slave rebellion,
but desire for profits stymied any efforts to restrict the slave trade. “Fear
may have been present from time to time,” says historian Walter B.
Edgar, “but if whites were so afraid of the black majority, why did they
keep importing thousands of Africans? The answer was that greed was
a more powerful stimulant than fear.”25
Slavery became impossible for many planters to resist, since feeding
and housing the slaves cost so little and the children of slaves provided
yet another generation of laborers to exploit. A common misconcep-
tion is that only the wealthy owned slaves, yet records indicate that the
institution was far more common, with 40 percent of white families
owning at least one slave, usually more.

Immigration of the Scotch-Irish

Enslaved black Africans made up the bulk of the labor force in the
early to mid-1700s, but white Europeans, too, built the economy of
the British colonies. Fewer, though, were English. Between 1700 and
1775, only 80,000 English men and women traveled across the Atlan-
tic to the Americas, compared to more than 300,000 who made the
trip during the 1600s. While reaching the colonies and thriving there

was easier than ever for these immigrants, rising wages in England kept
those tempted to relocate at home. Other British subjects, on the other
hand, jumped at the opportunity. Destitute Scots read that many colo-
nists enjoyed higher standards of living than their English counterparts.
Growing wealth in southern colonies such as Virginia and the Carolinas,
cheap essential goods, such as timber, and few taxes provided colonists
with ample prospects. Scottish shipping, which boomed in these years,
offered cheap passage to the eighteenth century’s land of plenty.
In 1707 the British government legalized Scottish immigration
to the American colonies. Lowland Scots typically worked as farmers,
tradesmen, or educated professionals, such as doctors. They were at-
tracted to the colonies as a way of finding greater prosperity. Scottish
Highlanders, meanwhile, boarded westward-bound vessels to ensure
their own survival. Poor, marginalized, and culturally oppressed by the
British government, they found the means to emigrate and moved to
the colonies before they fell into deeper poverty. Those that did come
tended to keep their own company, establishing small enclaves with
other Highlanders near the Cape Fear River in North Carolina or the
Mohawk River in New York. In this way they were able to preserve the
language and unique traditions of their Scottish homeland.
The largest group of Scots hailed from Ulster in the northern part
of Ireland. The colonies of America would be their second attempt at
finding permanent residence; the previous generation had battled Irish
Catholics and struggled to make a living from their meager harvests.
In 1718 the Ulster Scots made a bid for a new life across the sea. Far
more desperate than even the Highlanders, these Scots made whatever
bargains were necessary to gain passage to Maine, Georgia, or Vermont.
Indentured servitude was, perhaps, the most common method. Others
sold livestock or property.
Their early colonial experiences in Boston proved violent as the Ul-
ster Scots clashed with Puritans, most of whom considered the new set-
tlers inferior. Thereafter, some of them moved to Philadelphia or further
south. Upon arrival, most of the new colonists refused to be identified
as Irish. Instead, they fashioned their own ethnic label: Scotch-Irish.

The Scotch-Irish and their compatriots would in time become the larg-
est group of immigrants to the American colonies.

German Colonists
Immigrants from Germany also made their way to the English colonies
and into a growing workforce. They had been looking for an escape
from their Rhineland home. There warfare, high taxes, and governmen-
tal restrictions on their Protestant beliefs convinced many of them that
the colonies held new and better opportunities.
In 1682 William Penn recruited a number of German families to
join his religious and political experiment in Pennsylvania. There the
German colonists flourished. Their letters home provided the colonies

William Penn (kneeling) offers a gift to Native Americans who live in

the region that became Pennsylvania Colony. Penn’s recruitment efforts
resulted in a thriving German community in the colonies.

with a free form of advertising that boasted generous wages and plen-
tiful food and land. In Pennsylvania the average farm was 125 acres
(50.6ha), 6 times larger than the typical German farm.
Still, most Germans remained skeptical until the arrival of couri-
ers from abroad. These Newlanders, as they were called, had already
immigrated to the colonies and were returning bearing letters from fel-
low German émigrés and providing business services. Newlander cor-
respondence typically praised the colonial life and often exaggerated a
colonist’s transformation from poor wretch to power broker: “The maid
had become a lady,” read one, “the peasant a nobleman, the artisan a
baron.”26 The Newlanders, usually hired by British shipping firms, act-
ed as colonial cheerleaders, encouraging their fellow Germans to book
passage and begin a new life in America. In return the Newlanders typi-
cally received a modest fee and a return ticket to the colonies.
By the mid- to late 1700s, 100,000 Germans had followed the New-
landers’ advice. Their numbers were second only to the Scotch-Irish. A
majority of them poured into Philadelphia, one of the fast-growing
cities in the colonies. Farmers by profession, these German families
quickly migrated to the Pennsylvania countryside; others moved south
into Virginia and Maryland. Like their Scotch-Irish counterparts, they
prospered but retained their own unique cultural traditions.

“Liberty of Conscience”
For so many immigrants, the colonies afforded a rare opportunity: the
ability to remain true to one’s culture and heritage and to pursue one’s
own unique and individual goals and dreams without fear of retribu-
tion or violence. This liberty, denied to so many for so long, fueled
economic prosperity and quickly built the colonies into a commercial
powerhouse. One German immigrant said as much in 1739, calling
“liberty of conscience” the overriding strength of the 13 colonies. This
ability to think and do as one pleased, the immigrant believed, was the
primary reason for the colonies’ rapid growth. “But for this freedom,”
he said, “I think this country would not improve so rapidly.”27

Human labor—slave and free—spurred on this rapid growth. Be-
fore long, as the population grew and commercial interests and prof-
its boomed, colonists looked to expand their opportunities further.
This meant that the colonies themselves would have to grow, which
meant inevitable conflict between England and its colonial competi-
tors, France and Spain.

Chapter 4

Growth and War

B usiness interests drove the American colonies, but so did war.
England, France, and Spain struggled to gain an enduring foot-
hold on the continent and grow their colonies, and each eyed the other
with great suspicion and mounting dread. These three European pow-
ers could not help but see that one day their contrary interests might
draw them into a wider conflict for continental supremacy. There re-
mained, too, another threat to their ambitions: Native Americans.
They had initially welcomed the settlers to Plymouth and Jamestown,
but as the colonies grew in size and strength, the Indians were forced to
reconsider their relationship with the newcomers.

The Pequot War

The brewing conflict between the English colonists and the Pequot tribe
had its roots in the pre-Puritan past. The Pequot lived in what is now
southeastern Connecticut. In 1622, when the Dutch opened a trad-
ing post in Hartford, the Pequot wanted sole access to the Europeans
and worked to stop other tribes from trading with the white settlers.
By 1633 an internal struggle over leadership and whether to continue
trading with the Dutch or their competitors, the English, prompted the
Pequot to split into two groups.
Over the next year tensions and violence between the groups in-
creased, especially after the Mohegan formed an alliance with the Eng-
lish and the Pequot remained allies of the Dutch. In 1634 an English
smuggler, John Stone, was ambushed and killed along with seven of
his men by the Pequot-friendly Niantic tribe. In July 1636 trader John
Oldham was attacked and killed during a voyage to Block Island off the

coast of present-day Rhode Island. Puritan leaders blamed this attack,
too, on the Niantic.
Retaliation soon became the subject of sermons throughout the
growing Massachusetts Bay Colony. By August 1636 the governor had
ordered military leader John Endecott to Block Island to exact revenge.
His forces killed one Indian and burned two abandoned Niantic vil-
lages to cinders. Endecott continued to a nearby Pequot village, where
he demanded payment for the deaths of Stone and Oldham. When he
did not receive it, he and his men torched this village as well.
Revenge and reprisals continued, with the Pequot enlisting nearly 40
native villages to fight with them against the English. The Narragansett,
a sworn enemy of the Pequot, joined the English. The Pequot War came
to a violent climax in May 1637 when English captain John Mason made
a surprise attack on the Pequot encampment at Misistuck—modern-day
Mystic, Connecticut. Mason found mostly women and children in Mis-
istuck but nonetheless ordered the village burned; those who tried to es-
cape were shot. Nearly 700 of the Misistuck were killed; seven survived.
Mason later claimed that the slaughter was an act of God, who “laughed
at his Enemies and the Enemies of his People to scorn making [the Pe-
quot] a fiery Oven. . . . Thus did the Lord judge among the Heathen,
filling [Misistuck] with dead Bodies.”28 His allies, the Narragansett and
Mohegan, meanwhile, were horrified by the Englishman’s merciless at-
tack and quickly laid down their arms. They vowed never again to aid in
the slaughter of innocent people.
The massacre at Misistuck marked the end of the war, as the Pe-
quot retreated south and were sheltered by the Algonquin people. In
September 1638 the Mohegan and Narragansett agreed to a division of
Pequot land. This Treaty of Hartford, as it was called, also set a brutal
course for the lives of the 200 or so Pequot that remained in New Eng-
land: They became slaves.

Uneasy Peace and Growth

The violence of the Pequot War chastened both sides in the conflict. For
more than 30 years thereafter, a tenuous peace held between the Indians
and the white settlers of the New World. During this time, the colonists

Native American Cultural Regions

concentrated on growing their settlement beyond Boston, Plymouth,

and Salem.
For protection, many of the towns and villages fortified their de-
fenses by building garrison houses and stockades, within which private

Praying Towns

T wenty-six years after the first Pilgrims set foot on Plym-

outh Rock, the General Court of Massachusetts passed
down a new ruling: the Act for the Propagation of the Gospel
Amongst the Indians. This law made it legal to preach Christi-
anity to the native tribes of New England and to convert them.
In a few short years, this missionary work was deemed so suc-
cessful that the English Parliament passed laws to raise funds
for such work. By 1649, £12,000—an enormous sum at the
time—had poured into the coffers of the Massachusetts Bay
Colony. Led by John Eliot, this mission soon started schools
to further indoctrinate the Indians in the ways of Jesus Christ.
Constant attention to Indian conversion paid spiritual divi-
dends: By 1675, 20 percent of the Native Americans in New
England were Christians. Most of them lived in what came to
be known as Praying Towns.
As a defense against unconverted tribes, the Puritans arranged
Praying Towns around their own villages; thus, the Christian
Indians would bear the brunt of any violent intruders. During
King Philip’s War, these fresh converts were sequestered in their
towns, unable to hunt for food. At the war’s end, Praying Towns
were abandoned by the English, most of whom now distrusted
the Indians. The Native Americans feared for their lives: “We say
there is no safety for us,” wrote a group of Indian Christians in
the town of Wamesit, “because many English be not good, and
may be they come to us and kill us.”

Quoted in Jenny Hale Pulsipher, Subjects unto the Same King: Indians, English, and the Contest
for Authority in Colonial New England. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006,
p. 146.

homes were constructed. The English population of New England in-
creased to roughly 80,000 inhabitants by the mid-1600s. By contrast,
Native Americans, who numbered about 140,000 in 1600, dropped to
only 10,500 by 1675, resulting from war and from the diseases brought
by the European settlers, such as smallpox, typhoid, and spotted fever.
This steep decrease in the number of Indians was a clear indication that
the English settlers had gained the upper hand in New England. In
1642 Narragansett chief Miantonomo reflected on all his tribe had lost
and saw a bleak future ahead: “These English having gotten our land,
they with scythes cut down the grass, and with axes fell the trees; their
cows and horses eat the grass, and their hogs spoil our clam banks, and
we shall all be starved.”29
Aside from exploiting natural resources, the Puritans also worked
hard to convert the Indians to Christianity. One notable conversion
was that of Wassausmon, a Massachuseuk Indian. After his parents
died of smallpox in 1633, he learned to speak English and took a Chris-
tian name: John Sassamon. He attended Harvard College and moved
between the Indian and Puritan worlds. By 1662 he was a trusted advi-
sor to and translator for the Pokanoket tribe and its sachem, or chief,
Metacom. He convinced Metacom to change his name. The sachem
would thereafter be known as Philip.

Growing Distrust
Philip’s father, Massasoit, had welcomed the Pilgrims in 1620, but Phil-
ip found keeping peace with the colonists to be increasingly difficult.
With fewer goods to provide the Englishmen, his people began sell-
ing their land. In a few short years, Indian lands were dwindling, and
Philip saw his tribe’s way of life disappearing. There was little he could
do to stop the tide, but he turned to other Native American groups and
urged them to join him in fighting back. Their lands, too, were falling
under English control, and Philip recognized that the time to act was
running out. While Philip did not possess a reputation for bravery, he
had a personal charm that enabled him to form lasting alliances with
other, far larger, tribes than his own.

After winning the support of the Narragansett in 1671, Philip
planned to kidnap Plymouth’s governor and demand a high ransom
for his return. When word of the plot leaked out, Philip and his native
allies were confronted by Plymouth magistrates. It did not go well, ac-
cording to Nathaniel Philbrick, “with the English on one side of the
aisle in their woolen clothes and leather shoes, the Indians on the other
with their faces painted and their bodies greased, and all of them . . .
with muskets in their hands.”30 The Puritans humiliated Philip, order-
ing him to sign a document in which he agreed to surrender all Indian
weapons to the English.
The offense only deepened the animosity, and by 1675 Philip was
plotting to attack vulnerable landowners and preparing for all-out war
upon the English. Sassamon, now deeply distrusted by Philip because
of his ties to the Puritans, learned of Philip’s plans and quickly report-
ed them to officials in Plymouth. Days later the translator’s body was
found beneath the frozen surface of Assawompset Pond. Philip denied
involvement in Sassamon’s death, but the Puritan court convicted and
executed three other suspects.

King Philip’s War

Philip took the verdict as a direct challenge to his honor, and in the
summer of 1675 his Indian allies, the Wampanoag, carried out a series
of brutal attacks on Puritan settlements. On September 9 a military
alliance of Massachusetts and Connecticut, the New England Confed-
eration, declared war on its Native American enemies. In November
and December Plymouth Colony governor Josiah Winslow led a militia
against the somewhat neutral Narragansett tribe in Rhode Island. Win-
slow’s men burned any Indian towns they came across. On December
16 about 1,000 colonists attacked a Narragansett encampment. The
fiercely fought Great Swamp Fight killed roughly 300 of the Narragan-
sett people and burned both the encampment and the tribe’s winter
supply of food. Survivors fled across the frozen swamp.
The growing coalition of Indian tribes struck back throughout the
winter of 1676, and in March they reached Plymouth Plantation, the

heart of the Massachusetts colony. Although their forces were ulti-
mately repelled there, the Indians had proved their power. Their assault
continued as they cut a bloody swath through other towns, even reach-
ing and burning Providence, Rhode Island, on March 29. The attack
on Providence marked the high point of the Native American effort,
but their supplies of food and weapons were running out. The colo-
nists, meanwhile, strengthened their forts, expanded their militias, and
forged new alliances with former enemies the Mohegan and Pequot
people, further weakening Philip and his allies. Philip reached out to
the French, now occupying Canada in the north, but they refused to
help. His attempt at an alliance with the Mohawk also failed.

Philip’s Defeat
By April 1676 the Narragansett had been defeated. More colonist
victories followed, and Philip escaped to the Assawompset Swamp in
Rhode Island. A raiding party of militia and native scouts located him
there. He was shot and killed by John Alderman, an Indian, on August
12, 1676. His head was placed on a long stake and paraded through
Plymouth Colony. It remained on display for 20 years.
Thereafter, most of the native tribes saw their way of life disappear.
“Fifty-six years after the sailing of the Mayflower, the Pilgrims’ chil-
dren had not only defeated the Pokanokets in a devastating war,” says
Philbrick, “they had taken conscious, methodical measures to purge
the land of its people.”31 Now friendless, without Native American al-
lies, the Puritans found themselves on their own. Bold colonists who
chose to live on the frontiers of the Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay
colonies would now be more vulnerable to attack than ever before. The
coming century would bring more Indian wars to Colonial America, as
well as conflict with two old and powerful enemies.

Georgia Grows
One of those traditional enemies was Spain, which until the 1680s con-
trolled the land below the Savannah River. It was immediately above

this area—between South Carolina and Florida—that an enterprising
English colonel named James Oglethorpe wanted to colonize. He had
neither religious freedom nor business in mind. Instead, Oglethorpe
planned to populate the colony with the poor of London. Oglethorpe
also believed that the new colony could help protect the somewhat iso-
lated South Carolina from hostile Spanish or French forces. The char-
ter for Georgia—named for the English king George II—contrasted
sharply with other colonial charters in that there would be no assembly,
or local government; a group of 20 trustees would make laws and gov-
ern the settlers.
In the early months of 1733, 114 new colonists, including Ogle-
thorpe, arrived at the Savannah River. On Oglethorpe’s orders the ship
made landfall near a steep hill adjacent to the river. Square housing
lots were quickly divided among the settlers, and the building began.
Although they had been given cattle, land, and food, this support, ac-
cording to the charter, would last only a year. After that, they were on
their own in the growing city of Savannah, named for the river that had
carried them there.
Only a few months later, another shipload of settlers arrived. The
passengers included Sephardic Jews from London and Moravians from
Austria. The Jews, especially, caused a stir among the typically anti-
Semitic Englishmen. Further complicating the lives of the colonists
was the Georgia trustees’ prohibition on slavery in 1735. This conflict
between the colony’s leaders and its settlers only deepened, as South
Carolinians began moving to Georgia and demanding the freedom to
purchase and profit from large plantations that would depend on Afri-
can slave labor.
Although these demands were criticized by Scottish settlers to the
colony, by 1750 the trustees felt they had no choice but to allow slav-
ery. They also passed a law taxing slave owners. But in 1752 the trust-
ees transferred their stewardship to the English Crown, and Georgia
became a royal colony. By then the colony had 4,500 white settlers
and 1,500 African slaves. The modest farming community quickly grew
into an economic powerhouse filled with rice plantations, much like its
neighbor to the north, South Carolina.

Captured Africans, destined for a life of slavery in the colonies, were packed
into slave ships as cargo (as can be seen in this hand-colored woodcut).
Colonists in Georgia, South Carolina, and other southern colonies came to
rely heavily on slave labor for the running of their plantations.

Across the Alleghenies into Ohio
While Georgia had its cash crop in rice, the Allegheny Mountains,
which run northeast to southwest from Pennsylvania to Virginia,
boasted wide stretches of wilderness. Beyond their tall peaks, the Al-
leghenies were home to a vast and varied set of Indian tribes, most of
them supported by the armies of France and Spain. Few Englishmen
had ever penetrated the tangled, mountainous wall of rocks and trees
that, in some places, rises as high as 4,863 feet (1,482m).
In 1747 the Ohio Company of Virginia tried its luck, obtaining a
grant with the hopes of settling 100 families and trading furs with the
Indians on the Ohio River. A rival group, also from Virginia, the Loyal
Land Company, received its own grant and worked to organize its own
settlement on the borders of present-day Virginia, Kentucky, and Ten-
nessee. Pennsylvania, too, wanted a stake in this western venture, but
the colony’s Quakers, not wanting to simply take the Indians’ land,
decided against establishing any settlement.
In 1744 the English and the Iroquois people had agreed to the
Treaty of Lancaster, which permitted settlers to travel across the moun-
tains and into the Ohio Country, as it was known. Two years later one
of the treaty’s negotiators, an Irish fur trader named George Croghan,
led a mule train across the mountains and there opened a few trading
posts. Nicknamed “King of the Traders,” Croghan made inroads with
the Native Americans of the area: He learned to speak the languages of
the Delaware and Iroquois and developed an understanding of their
customs. In return he gained their respect. “He was one white the In-
dians trusted,” says historian Arthur Parker. “He was a major factor in
making the Indians friendly with the British.”32
Croghan and others like him stirred the fears of French authori-
ties. For decades they had laid claim to Ohio Country and what they
referred to as New France, an enormous colony that at its peak in 1712
extended from Newfoundland to the Rocky Mountains and from Hud-
son Bay to the Gulf of Mexico. Although the French population of New
France numbered only 75,000 to the colonial English’s 1.5 million and
was heavily concentrated in Canada, French authorities considered the
British incursion across the Alleghenies as a breach of their security.

They warned the local Indians that they, not the English, held title to
the land. In 1752 they also destroyed Croghan’s trading post at a village
called Pickawillany, the site of modern-day Piqua, Ohio.
Incensed that their march westward to trade and profit was being
stifled, the British planned to strike back. Great Britain’s position in
the matter was summed up by the Duke of Newcastle, one of King
George’s closest advisors. “The French claim almost all North America
except a line to the sea,” he said, “to which they confine all our colonies,
and from whence they may drive us whenever they please. That is what
we must not, We will not suffer.”33 The battle for Ohio and the terri-
tory beyond had only just begun. It would take another war to settle
the matter.

The French and Indian War

In May 1754 at the junction of the Allegheny and Monongahela Riv-
ers (the site of present-day Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), colonial militia-
men from Virginia, along with a small contingent of Mingo, arrived
to protect the construction of a fort funded by the Ohio Company.
Soon after, 35 Canadians, commanded by Joseph Coulon de Villiers
de Jumonville, came to warn the English and their leader, Lieutenant
Colonel George Washington, that they were not welcome in the area.
The English and Indians later surrounded the Canadians’ camp and
ambushed the men. In the ensuing Battle of Jumonville Glen, a hand-
ful of the Canadians were killed, including Jumonville. Large numbers
of French reinforcements retaliated, surrounding Washington’s make-
shift and muddy camp. Washington, outmanned and outsmarted, sur-
rendered on July 4.
These skirmishes marked the first engagement in what the British
dubbed the French and Indian War. Despite its name, both sides en-
listed the help of native tribes as they fought along the western frontiers
of the continent from Nova Scotia to South Carolina to gain colonial
supremacy. One English trader, Edmond Atkin, recognized that the
Native Americans were vital for the survival of the colonies. He wrote
about this in a report he composed for the South Carolina Board of

Trade: “The importance of the Indians is now generally known and
understood. A Doubt remains not, that the prosperity of our Colonies
on the Continent will stand or fall with our Interest and favour among
them. While they are our Friends, they are the Cheapest and Strongest
Barrier for the Protection of our Settlements.”34

British Resurgence
In the months after Washington’s defeat, the British Crown sent wave af-
ter wave of military forces into the frontier region to wrestle it away from
the French. Their superior numbers only met with disaster as French-
allied Indians took to the forests. The French rebuffed British general
Edward Braddock’s forces, and Braddock was killed during an ill-fated
attempt to take Fort Duquesne in modern-day Pittsburgh. Two Indian
tribes, the Lenni Lenape and the Shawnee, took advantage of the English
defeat by making war on colonial settlements in Pennsylvania, Mary-
land, and Virginia. Capitalizing on a weakened British army, French gen-
eral Louis-Joseph de Montcalm captured English forts on Lake Ontario
and Lake George in the north, burning them to the ground.
New leadership in England came in 1757, when William Pitt be-
came the country’s prime minister. Pitt immediately provided more
troops and money to Great Britain’s sinking military campaign in the
colonies. By 1758 the English had 45,000 soldiers in North America to
France’s 10,000. Although Indian allies and Canadian militiamen add-
ed to that number, French supplies of food and guns were dwindling
because the British navy controlled the Atlantic. As French hunger set
in, so, too, did inevitable defeat.
The year 1760 witnessed the advance of British forces into Mon-
treal, Canada. But not until 1763 did the two sides sign the Treaty of
Paris, officially ending the war. The French agreed to hand over Canada,
as well as all lands east of the Mississippi.

Conflict with the Homeland

With the French and Indian War over, the victorious British govern-
ment was left with enormous debt. Nearly empty, the English treasury

Boston Tea Party

O f the many events that led to the American colonies de-

claring their independence from Great Britain, the Boston
Tea Party remains one of the more dramatic. In 1773 the British
Parliament retracted a number of taxes against the colonies but
not the one on tea. Instead, the British lowered the price of tea,
while keeping the tax. The beloved beverage was now cheaper
than ever. Yet there was a catch: If colonists were willing to buy
the still-taxed commodity, they were implicitly acknowledging
the Crown’s right to tax them in the first place. Colonists had
previously rejected the idea of taxation without representation,
yet the British were confident that their scheme to tax the colo-
nists would work. It did not.
When tea-laden ships sailed into harbors in Philadelphia and
New York, angry colonists refused to provide a port. In Charleston
the ships were docked, but the tea was sent to local warehouses and
not sold. On December 16, 1773, as three ships loaded with tea
landed at Boston Harbor, 7,000 irate colonists were waiting for
them. The Americans refused to pay the taxes for the tea, and a col-
lector of the taxes barred the ships from leaving without payment.
By dusk 200 or so men—some dressed as Indians—marched to the
wharf, climbed onto the ships, and dumped the tea into the harbor.
Shocked by the flagrant act of destruction, the British Parliament
clamped down on colonial rebellion and closed the Port of Boston.
Less than three years later, the American Revolution began.

needed an infusion of cash. The Crown looked to the colonies, since the
war had been fought to protect British subjects there. Those colonists,
authorities asserted, had an obligation to help pay for that protection
through higher taxes.

In 1763 the English Parliament imposed new taxes on the colo-
nists to offset British war losses; by 1764 colonial towns began re-
jecting the taxes. Many colonists agreed to pay local taxes but refused
parliamentary taxes because they had no parliamentary representa-
tion to voice their opinions on colonial laws. In Boston the town
assembly put words to the colonists’ defiance: “If taxes are laid upon
us in any shape without ever having legal representation . . . are we
not reduced from the character of free subjects to the miserable state
of tributary slaves?”35
Clearly the colonists felt a growing sense of independence and
a confidence in their own abilities. To reassert its authority over the
colonies, Parliament responded by levying more taxes. The Sugar Act
and the Currency Act appeared in 1764; the Stamp Act followed one
year later. “No taxation without representation” soon became a colo-
nial rallying cry as Americans coalesced around a new political ideol-
ogy: Republicanism. Supporters of this doctrine stressed liberty and
the inalienable rights of mankind. Republicanism rejected the inherited
political power of kings and queens, promoted the will of the people
as central to good and honest government, and encouraged the politi-
cal engagement of citizens. To Republicans, Great Britain embodied a
corrupt and greedy political system that served only the upper class-
es. Local leaders in Philadelphia, Boston, New York, Charleston, and
Richmond publicly condemned the British government, at great risk to
their own lives.
As colonial furor and fury rose, tensions between British forc-
es and the colonists simmered. They came to a head in Boston on
March 5, 1770, when a mob surrounded a group of British soldiers.
The Americans taunted the soldiers and then began pelting them
with snowballs and rocks. Then a colonist hit a soldier with a club,
prompting the soldiers to fire their muskets at the unruly mob. Three
colonists died at the scene; two more died later of their injuries. The
Boston Massacre, as it came to be called, only deepened the distrust
between the two sides.
By the mid-1700s, the British colonies had experienced tremendous
growth, in both population and financial success. Because of this, colo-

nists felt less reliant on their homeland. And those who had been born in
America identified themselves less as British subjects than as Americans,
with a unique and individual set of dreams, values, and opinions. The
resentment and increasing violence between the British parent and its co-
lonial child only grew in the coming years. It took a world-shaking clash
of ideas and bodies to end the colonial period. But from that conflict, a
new and independent nation would soon be born.

Chapter 5

What Is the
Legacy of Colonial
C olonial America came to an end when irate British colonists de-
clared independence from their ruler, Great Britain. This primary
legacy of the period was an act of war that incensed the British Crown,
which saw the unrest and rebellion as a direct challenge to its author-
ity. Though severely outnumbered, a ragtag army of colonists somehow
mustered the supplies and the tenacity to defeat a larger and better-
armed British military and win the Revolutionary War.
For slaves, independence and freedom remained elusive goals. In
the postwar years, little care or consideration was given to those whose
ancestors had been so brutally torn from their own homeland. Indeed,
commerce in the new United States came to depend even more on hu-
man bondage and the cheap labor it provided. In the decades after the
American Revolution, the eyes of many Americans turned westward, to
the vast, mostly uncharted territory beyond those original 13 colonies.
This continued quest for riches and influence would remain one of Co-
lonial America’s most potent and lasting legacies.

“Let It Begin Here”

For too long, colonists argued, they had been treated unfairly, had been
forced to pay high taxes compared to their British counterparts in Eng-
land, and had received no parliamentary representation in return. Co-

lonial America had reached a turning point: American colonists could
remain beholden to the British Crown, a successful but still subservient
arm of a powerful nation, or they could take the bold and unprecedent-
ed step of declaring their independence.
Fifty-six colonial leaders from 12 of the 13 colonies had first gath-
ered in Philadelphia in 1774 to discuss and debate how the American
colonies might respond to what they considered British tyranny. This
deliberative body, known as the First Continental Congress, issued the
Declaration and Resolves in October of that year. One of the congress’s
chief grievances against the British government, mentioned near the
document’s conclusion, was the Crown’s insistence on maintaining an
army in the colonies without colonial approval. The congress deemed
this illegal: “Keeping a standing army in several of these colonies, in
time of peace, without the consent of the legislature of that colony in
which such army is kept, is against law.”36
By April 1775 the British army took secret action against the col-
onies. In the early hours of April 19, British general Thomas Gage
sent British soldiers quartered near Boston to Lexington, 11 miles
(17.7km) away. Their orders were to capture colonial leaders Samuel
Adams and John Hancock. After that they were to proceed to nearby
Concord and seize a store of gunpowder. But Gage’s plans were foiled;
colonial militiamen, tipped off by local spies, already knew of the
general’s plan.
Riders on horseback, including a silversmith named Paul Revere,
took off into the dark night to warn local hamlets of the imminent
arrival of the British. In a matter of hours, a contingent of roughly 70
militiamen stood with their muskets ready on Lexington Green, await-
ing the British onslaught that was sure to come. When it did come,
240 British soldiers confronted the wary and waiting colonists. John
Parker, a farmer and captain of the Lexington militia, provided his men
with clear orders: “Stand your ground; don’t fire unless fired upon, but
if they mean to have a war, let it begin here.”37 The British, too, had
orders not to fire, but then, suddenly, in the dim light of the breaking
day, a musket discharged. From whose musket the shot came remains
a mystery. Often referred to as the “shot heard around the world,” it

In April 1775, during his now-famous nighttime ride, Paul Revere
rouses the inhabitants of Lexington to warn them of the imminent
arrival of British troops. The growing independence of the colonists
and their anger at their treatment by the British king contributed to
calls for revolution.

nonetheless set off a volley of gunfire. After only a few moments, eight
colonists lay dead; the British continued to Concord and were soon
joined by other regiments.

Rush to War
In Concord the growing American militias forced the British to retreat
toward Boston. Using trees, walls, and fences to conceal themselves, the
Americans kept shooting and reloading, shooting and reloading. The
bloody skirmishes killed 73 British soldiers and wounded 174 more.

Forty-nine Americans died; 39 were wounded. One British officer,
Lord Percy, led the British back into the city. Afterward, in a letter to
London, Percy recounted the battle but also voiced his grudging re-
spect for what he considered a highly organized, very capable group of
American fighters. “Whoever looks upon them as an irregular mob will
be much mistaken,”38 he said.
Lexington and Concord marked the beginning of the American
Revolution, but the Second Continental Congress, which convened
in the spring of 1775, had to do more if it wanted to achieve victory.
If the colonial leaders ever expected to defeat the British, a larger, bet-
ter organized, and more fearsome force would have to be raised. Sub-
sequently, the congress called for a militia of more than 30,000 men
and in the spring of 1775 enlisted George Washington, veteran of the
French and Indian War, as its commander. On June 17, 1775, soon
after Washington’s appointment as general of the Continental Army,
the British attacked American positions at Breed’s Hill and Bunker
Hill in Boston. The smaller colonial force held firm, killing 226 Brit-
ish soldiers. One hundred forty colonial militiamen died in the battle.
Cries for independence had again turned violent; war appeared inevi-
table. The British Redcoats may have been surprised by the tenacity
of their colonial opponents, but they remained determined to quell
colonists’ rebelliousness by fully utilizing their superior and better-
trained army.
Politically, British resistance to colonial independence also re-
mained stiff. The Continental Congress continued to make its griev-
ances known to King George III of England. In the summer of 1775,
the governing body published the Declaration of the Causes and Ne-
cessity of Taking Up Arms. In the document, the congress defended
its military actions, saying the policies of the British government left
them little choice but to stand up for their basic liberties. Not to do
so, they wrote, would make them and their descendants slaves to the
absolute authority of Parliament. “We cannot endure,” the declaration
read, “the infamy and guilt of resigning succeeding generations to that
wretchedness which inevitably awaits them, if we basely entail heredi-
tary bondage upon them.”39

Declaration and Victory
The congressional treatise was of little use: The king had no inten-
tion of letting his profitable American colonies slip away without a
fight. Only war, it seemed, would settle the deep and divisive feud
between the two factions. The rush to war was complicated by the
torn loyalties of many of the colonists. Roughly one-fifth of the
population sympathized not with the upstart American colonists but
with the British. Known as Tories or Loyalists, most of them were
Scots from North Carolina or Anglicans and Quakers. The Tories’
convictions varied widely: While some were willing to fight and die
for the government in England, others were far more tepid in their
support. Thus, a significant Tory revolt against the colonial rebellion
remained unlikely. And with the Continental Congress now in con-
trol of the legal system, the Tories were faced with two choices: jail
time or quiet patience.
The Americans had lobbied their former colonial enemies, the
French, to join the war against the English. The French refused at first,
insisting they that could not become involved until the colonies de-
clared their independence. Under mounting pressure from the French
and widening warfare, the congress did just that. In May 1776 it de-
clared that each colony could decide the kind of government it wanted,
and that American sovereignty resided not with the Crown but with
the people. In early July the Declaration of Independence was ap-
proved. Written by Virginia delegate Thomas Jefferson, it enumerated
the grievances against George III, the British king, and officially an-
nounced American separation from England.
Soon after the congress accepted the Declaration of Independence
and had it read throughout the colonies, British forces invaded New
York. The American Revolution would rage for another seven years, but
the United States of America had been born. By the time British general
Charles Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown in Virginia in 1783, 25,000
American soldiers were dead. While 8,000 had been killed in battle, a
majority—17,000—had succumbed to disease. Their British counter-
parts lost 12,000 men, but another 40,000 of them deserted their posts.

Rule of Law: Articles of

L egally uniting the American colonies was first proposed in

1754 by Benjamin Franklin. But Franklin did not propose
a separation from England; he only believed that common laws
could make colonial life easier for citizens and leaders. Not until
June 1776 did the Continental Congress appoint a committee
to draft a document that would lay the foundation for a new,
independent American government.
As American towns smoldered in the aftermath of British
cannon fire, congressional leaders began composing the Articles
of Confederation. The agreement was nearly completed by No-
vember 1777, when state assemblies began to debate its merits.
Among other things, the articles reinforced the notion that all
states within the confederacy would remain separate but equal
in power, citizens could move freely between the states, and that
only the central government could declare war. Finally ratified
in 1781 during the height of the Revolution, the articles helped
the congress govern during the conflict. Yet once the war ended,
the articles drew criticism. Those delegates of the congress who
believed in a stronger federal government complained that the
articles did not outline the instructions on electing a president,
creating a judicial system, or taxing citizens to pay for the war.
It was, in other words, not a strong enough document for the
fledgling nation. “It was simply too weak to fulfill its charge
of protecting the lives, liberties, and properties of Americans,”
writes historian Robert Eric Wright. It successor, the US Consti-
tution, was adopted in 1787, replacing the articles.

Robert Eric Wright, Hamilton Unbound: Finance and the Creation of the American Republic.
Santa Barbara: Greenwood, 2002, p. 79.

Liberty Meets Slavery
While the American Revolution may have been the most direct legacy
of colonial rule, another abiding inheritance of the colonial period was
the issue of slavery. During that era, the slave trade boomed, bringing
roughly 500,000 African slaves to the shores of the British colonies.
Although the importation of slaves ebbed by 1770, thousands of them
lived under harsh conditions to harvest indigo, sugar, and the newest
cash crop, cotton. The southern colonies, especially, relied on slaves to
fuel their growing economies.
As colonists began speaking about their desire for independence
and freedom, in April 1773 a group of slaves from Massachusetts
presented their own case for liberty. In a petition presented before
the legislature of the colony, a slave named Peter Bestes and three
others argued that they, too, had rights. The petition also implied
that for the white colonists not to free people from bondage when
they were seeking the same freedom from England was hypocritical:
“We expect great things from men who have made such a noble stand
against the designs of their fellow-men to enslave them . . . we cannot
but expect your house will again take our deplorable case into serious
consideration, and give us that ample relief which, as men, we have
a natural right to.”40
By the time Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Indepen-
dence three years later, slavery was a controversial issue that threatened
to divide the delegates of the Continental Congress. The document’s
most famous passage appeared to reinforce the notion that equality was
a basic human right: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all
men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with
certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the
pursuit of Happiness.”41 Yet most colonists viewed blacks as morally
and intellectually inferior; thus, even free blacks were not considered
the equal of whites. Under the law, at least, all men were not created
equal in the new United States.
In the decades after the end of colonial America, the thorny ques-
tion of slavery and the rights of black people in the United States only
became more tension-filled and divisive. Where exactly slaves fit into

the new and growing nation remained an open question destined to
tear the country apart. The slavery question was resolved less than a
century after the Revolution, but only through a bloody Civil War
between the northern and southern states that killed nearly 625,000
Americans. President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proc-
lamation on January 1, 1863. By doing so, he set into motion the end
of one ongoing legacy of the colonial period.

Expansion and Development

In the half century after the American Revolution, the colonial legacies
of commerce and religion became intertwined in a rallying cry known
as Manifest Destiny. The Louisiana Purchase, which doubled the size of
the United States, occurred in 1803. Territory that included the future
states of Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, and parts of Texas now fell under
American control.
In 1836 Americans living in Texas, most of which was controlled
by Mexico, fought a revolution to break away from the Mexican

The Louisiana Purchase

The Louisiana Purchase

T he American Revolution ended British occupation of a

large portion of North America. Much of the continent,
though, remained under the control of France and Spain. This
legacy of colonial America was transformed when the United
States made the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. That year Presi-
dent Thomas Jefferson paid roughly $15 million to buy over
800,000 square miles (2.07 million sq. km) of land from French
ruler Napoleon Bonaparte. By doing so, Jefferson doubled the
size of his country so that it included present-day Arkansas,
Missouri, Iowa, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, portions of Min-
nesota, much of North and South Dakota, northeastern New
Mexico, north Texas, and portions of other states.
But the purchase also caused controversy. Many American
leaders viewed it as unconstitutional; Jefferson himself like-
wise doubted its legality. As a staunch anti-Federalist, Jefferson
viewed the federal government with skepticism. Still, a grow-
ing alliance between France and Spain for control of vital ship-
ping lanes along the Mississippi River worried him. He became
convinced that in this case, at least, federal powers should be
used to consolidate American power and expand its reach. After
the Louisiana Purchase was finalized in 1804, many Americans
believed that the destiny of the United States was for states to
blanket the continent from east to west. Less than a century
later, this concept of Manifest Destiny would be a reality.

government. England maintained a presence on the continent far to

the west, in Oregon Territory. American politicians and intellectu-
als alike began openly calling for the United States to annex, or take
over, these regions.

In his inaugural address of 1844, James K. Polk, eleventh presi-
dent of the United States, threw his strong support behind the idea
of growing the nation: “As our population has expanded, the Union
has been cemented and strengthened. . . . It is confidently believed
that our system [of government] may be safely extended to the ut-
most bounds of our territorial limits, and that as it shall be extended
the bonds of our Union, so far from being weakened, will become
One year later, in the July/August issue of the popular publica-
tion United States Magazine and Democratic Review, editor John L.
O’Sullivan echoed Polk’s statement. It was, he suggested, “our manifest
destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence for the free
development of our multiplying millions.”43
The providence the author referred to was the guidance of the Cre-
ator, or God. This idea of a divinely sanctioned American empire that
stretched from one end of the continent to the other inspired thou-
sands of settlers to pack up their possessions and settle their families in
the American West. In time Texas, Oregon, Alaska, and Hawaii would
become states. Whether by war, trade, purchase, or negotiation, the
United States would grow beyond what any of its Founding Fathers
could have predicted.

Common Dream, Common Destiny

As the colonies grew in size and population, religious and ethnic di-
versity flourished. The concept of America as a place that welcomed
people of all races, cultures, and religions from around the world
looking to better their lives became a cornerstone of the American
way of life.
While the history of the colonial period suggests that tolerance
and justice were often hard to come by, the events of the colonial era
also support the notion that despite violence, war, and slavery, free-
dom and opportunity are values that many Americans actively believe
in. What began as an experiment in exploration and exploitation

became a model for all those that seek to better their lives. The na-
tion, says Indian American journalist Fareed Zakaria, “has thrived
because it has kept itself open. . . . It has allowed America to cre-
ate the first universal nation, a place where people from all over the
world can work, mingle, mix, and share in a common dream and a
common destiny.”44

Source Notes

Introduction: The Defining Characteristics

of Colonial America
1. Nathaniel Philbrick, Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community,
and War. New York: Viking, 2006, p. 5.

Chapter One: What Events Led to the

Colonization of America?
2. Alan Taylor, American Colonies. New York: Viking, 2001, p. 26.
3. Laurence Bergreen, Over the Edge of the World: Magellan’s Terrify-
ing Circumnavigation of the Globe. New York: Harper Perennial,
2004, p. 81.
4. James W. Loewen, Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your Ameri-
can History Textbook Got Wrong. New York: New Press, 1995, p. 33.
5. Quoted in Loewen, Lies My Teacher Told Me, p. 33.
6. Quoted in David C. Korten, The Great Turning: From Empire to
Earth Community. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler, 2007, p. 165.
7. Quoted in Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States.
New York: Harper Perennial, 2003, p. 7.
8. Quoted in Willie Drye, “America’s Lost Colony: Can New Dig
Solve Mystery?,” National Geographic, March 2, 2004. http://news
9. George Percy, “Observations Gathered out of a Discourse of the
Plantation of the Southerne Colonie in Virginia by the English,
1606,” Virtual Jamestown, 2000.

Chapter Two: Seeking Religious Freedom

10. Quoted in Making of America Project, “The Pilgrim Fathers,” New
Englander and Yale Review, vol. 41, 1882, p. 721.
11. Philbrick, Mayflower, p. 5.

12. Quoted in Leonard Bacon, The Genesis of the New England Church-
es. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1874, p. 310.
13. Quoted in Philbrick, Mayflower, p. 92.
14. Quoted in Timothy L. Hall, Separating Church and State: Roger
Williams and Religious Liberty. Champaign: University of Illinois
Press, 1998, p. 20.
15. Timothy L. Hall, Separating Church and State, p. 82.
16. Quoted in Nathaniel Philbrick and Thomas Philbrick, eds., The
Mayflower Papers: Selected Writings of Colonial New England. New
York: Penguin, 2007, p. 74.
17. Sarah Vowell, The Wordy Shipmates. New York: Riverhead, 2008,
p. 127.
18. Quoted in Luca Codignola, The Coldest Harbour: Simon Stock and
Lord Baltimore’s Colony in Newfoundland, 1621–1649. Montreal:
McGill-Queen’s, 1988, p. 43.
19. John Tracy Ellis, American Catholicism. Chicago: University of
Chicago Press, 1969, p. 19.
20. Quoted in Samuel McPherson Janney, The Life of William Penn
with Selections from His Correspondence and Autobiography. White-
fish, MT: Kessinger, 2007, p. 550.
21. Q uoted in Janney, The Life of William Penn, p. 550.

Chapter Three: Quest for Commerce

22. Russell Shorto, The Island at the Center of the World. New York:
Doubleday, 2004, p. 49.
23. Shorto, The Island at the Center of the World, p. 169.
24. Shorto, The Island at the Center of the World, p. 299.
25. Walter B. Edgar, South Carolina: A History. Columbia: University
of South Carolina Press, 1998, p. 80.
26. Quoted in Albert Bernhardt Faust, The German Element in the
United States, Volume 1. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1909, p. 62.
27. Quoted in Beatrice B. Garvan and Charles F. Hummel, The Penn-
sylvania Germans: A Celebration of Their Arts, 1683–1850. Phila-
delphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1982, p. 115.

Chapter Four: Growth and War
28. Quoted in Alfred A. Cave, The Pequot War. Amherst: University of
Massachusetts Press, 1996, p. 151.
29. Quoted in Ben Kiernan, Blood and Soil: A World History of Geno-
cide and Extermination from Sparta to Darfur. New Haven, CT:
Yale University Press, 2009, p. 218.
30. Philbrick, Mayflower, p. 217.
31. Philbrick, Mayflower, p. 345.
32. Arthur Parker, The Monongahela: River of Dreams, River of Sweat.
University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1999, p. 13.
33. Quoted in Richard Middleton, Colonial America. Oxford: Black-
well, 1996, pp. 417–418.
34. Quoted in Alan Taylor, American Colonies. New York: Viking,
2001, p. 424.
35. Quoted in Fred Anderson, Crucible of War: The Seven Years’ War
and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754–1766. New
York: Random House, 2000, p. 605.

Chapter Five: What Is the Legacy of Colonial America?

36. “The Declaration and Resolves of the First Continental Congress,”
US, 2011.
37. Quoted in H.W. Crocker III, Don’t Tread on Me: A 400-Year His-
tory of America at War, from Indian Fighting to Terrorist Hunting.
New York: Random House, 2006, p. 45.
38. Quoted in Paul Lockhart, The Whites of Their Eyes: Bunker Hill,
the First American Army, and the Emergence of George Washington.
New York: HarperCollins E-books, 2011, p. 211.
39. Quoted in Avalon Project, “A Declaration by the Representatives
of the United Colonies of North-America, Now Met in Congress at
Philadelphia, Setting Forth the Causes and Necessity of Their Tak-
ing Up Arms,” Yale Law School, 2008.
40. Quoted in Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove, Voices of a People’s
History of the United States. New York: Seven Stories, 2009, p. 55.
41. “The Declaration of Independence,” National Archives.

42. Quoted in Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, Inaugural Ad-
dresses of the Presidents of the United States: from George Washing-
ton, 1789 to George H.W. Bush, 1989. New York: Cosimo Classics,
2008, p. 108.
43. Quoted in Thomas R. Hietala, Manifest Design: American Excep-
tionalism and Empire. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2003,
p. 255.
44. Fareed Zakaria, The Post-American World. New York: Norton,
2008, p. 258.

Important People of
Colonial America

William Bradford: An English leader and governor of Plymouth Colo-

ny, whose journal, Of Plymouth Plantation, is one of the best firsthand
chronicles of the early settlers in Massachusetts.

George Calvert: A British member of Parliament and colonizer who

settled the region that later became the colony of Maryland.

Charles I: A seventeenth-century English king who granted tracts of

land to American colonists in the Carolinas.

Christopher Columbus: An Italian navigator and colonizer whose voy-

age to the New World in 1492 ushered in a wave of exploration to the
Americas and changed the course of world history.

Jonathan Edwards: An eighteenth-century colonial preacher and theo-

logian who led the First Great Awakening, a religious movement de-
signed to revitalize American Protestantism.

Benjamin Franklin: An American Founding Father, printer, scientist,

inventor, diplomat, and signer of the Declaration of Independence.
During his lifetime he was one of the most famous men of the age.

George III: The king of England during the end of the colonial period.
The colonists accused him of burning their property and forcing unjust
taxes upon them without representation in the British Parliament.

Anne Hutchinson: A Boston Puritan and midwife who held religious

meetings in her home, during which she criticized local religious leaders.
Her controversial views led to her banishment from the Massachusetts
Bay Colony.

Thomas Jefferson: The author of the Declaration of Independence,
which marked the end of the colonial period, and third president of
the United States. In 1803 he negotiated the Louisiana Purchase from
France, thus doubling the size of the United States.

Massasoit: A sachem of the Pokanoket people and the Wampanoag

Confederacy, he made peace with Plymouth Colony and Massachusetts
Bay Colony, often by selling land to them in exchange for peace with
his people.

Cotton Mather: An influential Puritan minister of Boston’s Old North

Church and a believer in witchcraft, his ideas and writings informed
and likely helped lead to the Salem witchcraft hysteria of 1692.

Metacom: The second son of Massasoit, he was a sachem of the Wam-

panoag. Like his father, he sought peace with the English, even adopt-
ing the Anglo name Philip. His eventual armed rebellion against the
Puritans of New England became known as King Philip’s War (1675–

Peter Minuit: The director general of the Dutch colony of New Neth-
erland from 1626 to 1633, he also founded the Swedish colony of New
Sweden in 1638.

William Penn: An English-born Quaker who founded the Province of

Pennsylvania, one of the 13 original colonies. In 1682 he developed the
Frame of Government of Pennsylvania, in which freedom of worship
was guaranteed.

Pocahontas: The daughter of Powhatan, leader of the Native Americans

living in Virginia. According to legend, she saved Captain John Smith
from death at the hands of her father. She later provided the colonists
food and eventually married tobacco farmer John Rolfe.

Squanto: A Patuxet Indian who helped the Pilgrims to survive their

first winter in Plymouth.

Peter Stuyvesant: The last director general of the colony of New Neth-
erland, which was renamed New York after his tenure. Under his lead-
ership the Dutch settlement expanded well beyond the southern tip of

Roger Williams: A Protestant theologian and early supporter of the

separation of church and state. In 1635 he was ordered banished from
Salem, Massachusetts. He subsequently settled present-day Rhode Is-

For Further Research

Margaret Barton, New England on Fire! Stories from King Philip’s War.
Tacoma, WA: Poppet, 2008.

Richard Berleth, Bloody Mohawk: The French and Indian War & Amer-
ican Revolution on New York’s Frontier. Hensonville, NY: Black Dome,

Edward G. Gray, Colonial America: A History in Documents. New York:

Oxford University Press, 2011.

Richard Middleton and Anne Lombard, Colonial America: A History to

1763. Indianapolis: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.

J.I. Packer, A Quest for Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian
Life. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2010.

Theodore Savas and J. David Dameron, A Guide to the Battles of the

American Revolution. El Dorado Hills, CA: Savas Beatie, 2010.

Sarah Vowell, The Wordy Shipmates. New York: Riverhead, 2008.

Colonial House (
This companion website to the PBS series of the same name offers an in-
teractive peek into colonial living. Visitors can explore panoramic views
of early settlers’ houses, take a quiz on how well they would survive in
the colony, and play Dress Me Up, a game that allows players to pick and
choose which articles of clothing they believe the colonists wore.

Colonial Williamsburg ( Take a virtual trip to one of
the best-preserved colonial villages in the United States. Listen to reen-
actors sing a song of freedom, find out what Christmas was like in the
eighteenth century, or plan your own trip to the historic Virginia town.

Plimoth Plantation ( The English pilgrims that ar-

rived in Plymouth in 1620 did far more than begin the tradition of
Thanksgiving. Read about that rich history on this user-friendly web-
site. Visitors can explore the Mayflower itself or find out more about the
local Wampanoag and their relationship with the settlers.

Religion and the Founding of the American Republic (

/exhibits/religion/overview.html). Learn about the history of religion
in the colonies and what influence it had in the founding of the United
Sates. Visitors can read through documents of the time and draw their
own conclusion about the role of religion in the new nation.

Salem Witchcraft Trials (

/salem/salem.htm). The witchcraft hysteria that shook Salem, Massa-
chusetts, in the late 1600s will likely be of interest to most students of
American history. Start with this website, which contains a clear chro-
nology of events, biographies of the participants, and actual transcripts
from the trials.

Virtual Jamestown ( Jamestown created an

English foothold in the New World, and this website takes visitors there.
Learn about the Chesapeake Indians, read a few firsthand accounts of
life in the settlement, and view a 3-D re-creation of an Indian long-
house. Just make sure to leave by winter or you are likely to starve.


Note: Page numbers in bold indicate bubonic plague, 12

illustrations. Bunker Hill, 73

Act for the Propagation of the Gospel Amongst Calvert, Cecilius, 37

the Indians, 58 Calvert, George, 35–36, 85
Act of Toleration, 37 Canada, 66
Adams, Samuel, 71 caravels, 17, 18
agriculture Carolina, 48
Carolina, 48 Castile, 15
New Netherland, 43 Charles I (king of England), 30, 36, 85
New Sweden, 44 Charles II (king of England), 38, 46, 48
slaves and, 48, 50, 76 Charlesfort, 19
Albemarle province (Carolina), 48 Charleston (Charles Town), 48
Alderman, John, 61 Christianity
Algonquin Columbus and, 16
Dutch and, 42 Divisions of, 28
Pequot and, 56 Spread of, among Indians of, 58
Powhatan, 20, 23–24 See also specific religions
raids against Jamestown, 23, 24 Church of England
Allegheny Mountains, 64–65 American Revolution and, 74
Amadas, Philip, 20 in Maryland, 37
America, discovery of, 17 Massachusetts Bay Colony founders and, 30
American Revolution, 70–74, 72 Pilgrims and, 26–27, 29
Anglicans. See Church of England Roman Catholics and, 36
Aragon, 15 Virginia and, 27
Arawak, 18, 19 Williams and, 32
arms race, 15 Claiborne, William, 37
army, 71 Clarendon province, Carolina, 48
Articles of Confederation, 75 Colleton, John, 48
Atkin, Edmond, 65–66 colonies, permanent settlement dates of, 10
colonization, reasons for
Barlowe, Arthur, 20 better lives, 9–10, 51, 52–53
Battle of Jumonville Glen, 65 gold and silver, 16, 18, 19, 20
Bergreen, Laurence, 13–14 See also religious freedom
Bestes, Peter, 76 Columbus, Christopher, 15–19, 85
Black Death, 12 commerce. See land; trade
Boston, 31, 73 Concord, 72–73
See also Massachusetts Bay Colony Connecticut, 60–61
Boston Massacre, 68 conscience, liberty of, 53
Boston Tea Party, 67 Continental Congresses, 71, 73, 75
Braddock, Edward, 66 Cornwallis, Charles, 74
Bradford, William, 85 Cotton, John, 33
on arrival in America, 29 Croatoan, 22
on persecution of Puritans, 27 Croghan, George, 64, 65
Williams and, 32, 34 Crusades, 13
Breed’s Hill, 73 Currency Act (1764), 68

Declaration and Resolves (1774), 71 Fort Elfsborg, 44
Declaration of Independence (1776), 74, 76 Fox, George, 38
Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of France
Taking Up Arms (1775), 73 Alleghenies and, 64–65
Delaware, 40, 44 American Revolution and, 74
diseases in Florida, 19
American Revolution and, 74 French and Indian War, 65–66
Black Death, 12 Louisiana Purchase, 78
European, among Indians, 19, 30, 59 Franklin, Benjamin, 75, 85
among Jamestown colonists, 24 French and Indian War, 65–66
El Dorado, 20 Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina, 48
Drake, Francis, 21 fur trade
Dutch colonies Dutch, 42, 43
economy of, 42, 43 English, 48, 64
Hudson exploration, 41–42 importance of, 41
immigrants into, 39, 43
land and, 42, 43, 45 Gage, Thomas, 71
New Amsterdam, 43, 45–46, 47 George III (king of England), 73, 74, 85
Pequot and, 55–56 Georgia, 61–62, 64
Dutch East India Company, 41–42 German immigrants, 52–53
Dutch West India Company, 43, 45 gold
Columbus and, 16, 18, 19
economy El Dorado, 20
agriculture, 43, 44, 48 Goulaine de Laudonnière, René, 19
land, 43 government
trade and, 13 Articles of Confederation, 75
See also fur trade; slaves of Carolina, 48
Edgar, Walter B., 50 of Georgia, 62
Edwards, Jonathan, 85 of New Netherland, 45–46
Eliot, John, 58 Republicanism and, 68
Elizabeth I (queen of England), 20 revolution for representative, 70–74, 72
Emancipation Proclamation, 77 Great Britain. See England
Endecott, John, 56 Great Swamp Fight, 60
England Guanahani, 17
American Revolution and, 70–74
French and Indian War and, 65–66, 67–68 Hancock, John, 71
New Netherland and, 46 Harriot, Thomas, 20
population of, in New England, 59 Hartford, Treaty of (1638), 56
See also specific colonies Henrietta Maria (queen of England), 36
Equiano, Olaudah, 49 Hispaniola, 18, 19
Europe, 12–13 Hudson, Henry, 41–42
See also specific countries Hutchinson, Anne, 33, 85
exploration, reasons for Hutchinson, William, 33
gold and silver
Columbus and, 16, 18, 19 Iberia, 15
El Dorado, 20 See also Spain
Virginia, 22 indentured servants, 10, 48, 50
trade routes, 13–14, 15, 41–42 Indians. See Native Americans
indigo, 48
Ferdinand (king of Spain), 15, 16 Iroquois, 64
First Continental Congress, 71 Isabella (queen of Spain), 15, 16
Florida, 19–20 Islam, 13, 39
Fogel Grip (Swedish ship), 44
Fort Caroline, 19 James I (king of England), 22
Fort Christina, 44 Jamestown, 22–25, 23

Jefferson, Thomas, 74, 78, 86 Massachusetts Bay Colony
Jews, 62 Hutchinson and, 33
Jones, Christopher, 29 missionary work in, 58
Jumonville, Joseph Coulon de Villiers de, 65 Pequot War, 56
Puritan founding of, 30–32
Kalmar Nyckel (Swedish ship), 44 Williams and, 32, 34
Kieft, Willem, 45 Massachusetts Bay Company, 30, 31
King of the Traders, 64 Massasoit (Pokanoket leader), 30, 34, 59, 86
King Philip’s War, 58, 59–61 Mather, Cotton, 86
Mayflower (Pilgrim ship), 27, 29
labor Mayflower Compact, 29
indentured servants, 10, 48, 50 Menéndez de Avilés, Pedro, 20
Scotch-Irish, 50–52 Metacom (Pokanoket chief), 59
See also slaves Miantonomo (Narragansett chief), 59
Lancaster, Treaty of (1744), 64 Middle Passage, 49
land Mingo, 65
colonists’ exploitation of, 59 Minuit, Peter, 42, 44
grants by Dutch West India Company, 43 Misistuck massacre, 56
grants by English Crown Mohegan, 55, 56, 61
Carolina, 48 Montcalm, Louis-Joseph, 66
Georgia, 62 Morison, Samuel, 19
Jamestown, 22 Muslims, 13, 39
Maryland, 36
New Netherland, 46 Narragansett, 56, 60, 61
Ohio, 64 Native Americans
Pennsylvania and Delaware, 38 in Alleghenies, 64
importance of, 8, 47 concept of land ownership, 42, 43, 45
Indian concept of ownership, 42, 43, 45 cultural regions, 57
Quaker policy toward ownership of, 64 Dutch colonies and, 43, 45
warfare over, 8–9, 40 European diseases and, 19, 30, 59
Williams and Indian right to, 32 Penn and, 39, 52
Lane, Ralph, 21 Pilgrims and, 30
laws Roanoke Island and, 20, 21
Act for the Propagation of the Gospel spread of Christianity among, 58
Amongst the Indians, 58 warfare
Act of Toleration, 37 against Dutch, 45
British, after French and Indian War, 68 French and Indian War, 65–66
Mayflower Compact, 29 against Jamestown, 23, 24
slavery and, 50, 62 King Philip’s War, 58, 59–61
Lenni Lenape, 66 Pequot War, 55–56
Lexington, 71–73 Pokanoket-Pilgrim alliance, 30
liberty of conscience, 53 Williams and, 32
Lincoln, Abraham, 77 See also specific individuals; specific tribes
Loewen, James W., 15 New Amsterdam, 43, 45–46, 47
London Company, 22 New England Confederation, 60–61
Louisiana Purchase, 77, 78 Newfoundland, 35–36
Loyalists, 74 New France, 64
Loyal Land Company, 64 Newlanders, 53
New Netherland, 47
Manifest Destiny, 77, 78, 79 economy of, 42, 43
See also westward expansion Hudson exploration of, 41–42
Mannahatta, 42 immigrants to, 39, 43
Maryland, 36–38 land and, 42, 43, 45
Mason, John, 56 New Amsterdam, 43, 45–46, 47
Massachusetts (1692), 35 Pequot and, 55–56

size of, 42 in Dutch colonies, 39, 43
Newport, Christopher, 21, 22 in Europe, 12
New Sweden, 44 Loyalist, 74
New York City. See New Amsterdam Native American and European diseases
Niantic, 55–56 among, 19, 30, 59
Niña (Spanish ship), 16, 18 in New England, 59
North Carolina, 20–22 Portugal, 15, 17
Powhatan (Algonquin chief), 21, 23–24
Oglethorpe, James, 62 Praying Towns, 58
Ohio Company of Virginia, 64, 65 printing press, 13, 14
Oldham, John, 55–56 Printz, Johan, 44
O’Sullivan, John L., 79 Providence, 34, 61
Ottoman Turks, 13 Puritans
establishment of Plymouth Colony by, 9,
Paris, Treaty of (1763), 66 29–30
Parker, Arthur, 64–65 King Philip’s War and, 58, 59–61
Penn, William, 52, 86 in Maryland, 37
establishment of Pennsylvania and, 38–40 at Massachusetts Bay Colony, 30–34
German colonists and, 52 persecution of, 26–27
New Sweden and, 44 Praying Towns and, 58
Pennsylvania, 38–40, 52–53 reasons for colonization, 9, 26, 27
Pequot War, 55–56 roots and offshoots of, 28 Ulster Scots
Percy, George, 24 and, 51
Percy, Lord, 73 voyage of, to America, 27, 29, 31
Philadelphia See also Plymouth Colony
establishment of, 40
Germans in, 52–53 Quakers, 38–40, 64, 74
Scotch-Irish in, 51
Philbrick, Nathaniel Raleigh, Walter, 20
on Puritans religious freedom, 9
in Holland, 27 Hutchinson and, 33
Native Americans and, 61 in Maryland, 37
Philip and, 60 in Massachusetts Bay Colony, 32–34
on reason for colonization by Pilgrims, 9 Penn and, 38–40
Philip (Pokanoket chief), 59–61 in Plymouth Colony, 29–30
Pickawillany, 65 Roman Catholics and, 34–38
Pilgrims separation of church and state and, 32
establishment of Plymouth Colony by, Williams and, 32, 34
29–30 Renaissance, 12
reason for colonization by, 9 Republicanism, 68
voyage of, to America, 27, 29, 31 Revere, Paul, 71
Pinta (Spanish ship), 16, 18 Reyniers, Grietse, 39
Pinzón, Martín Alonzo, 16 Ribault, Jean, 19
Pinzón, Vicente Yáñez, 16 Roanoke Colony, 20–22
Pitt, William, 66 Rolfe, John, 21, 25
Plymouth Colony Roman Catholics, 34–38
establishment of, 9, 29–30
King Philip’s War and, 58, 59–61 Saint Augustine, 20
Pocahontas, 21, 86 Samoset, 30
Pokanoket, 30, 34, 59–61 San Salvador, 17–18
Polk, James K., 79 Santa Maria (Spanish ship), 16, 18Sassamon,
Polo, Marco, 13–14 John, 59, 60
Ponce de León, Juan, 19 Scotch-Irish immigrants, 50–52, 74
population Second Continental Congress, 73, 75
daily life of, 9–10, 12 separation of church and state, 32

Separatists. See Pilgrims importance of, 41
Sephardic Jews, 62 slave, 49, 50, 63, 76
Shawnee, 66 Travels of Marco Polo, The (Bergreen),
shipbuilding, 17 13–14
Shorto, Russell, 42, 46 Treaty of Hartford (1638), 56
slaves Treaty of Lancaster (1744), 64
after American Revolution, 76–77 Treaty of Paris (1763), 66
Civil War and, 77
Colonialization and, 11 Ulster Scots, 51
importance of, 48, 49, 62, 76 United States Magazine and Democratic
indentured servants versus, 48, 50 Review, 79
laws and, 50, 62
Pequot as, 56 Van Salee, Anthony Janszoon, 39
Spanish and, 48 Virginia Company
trade in, 49, 50, 63, 76 Calvert and, 35
smallpox, 19 Powhatan and, 21
Smith, John, 21, 24 Puritans and, 27
Society of Friends, 38–40 territorial divisions of, 22
South Carolina Virginia Slave Codes (1705), 50
government of, 48
slavery in, 50 warfare
Spanish and, 61, 62 Algonquin raids on Jamestown, 23, 24
Spain arms race, 15
Allegheny Native Americans and, 64 between Dutch and Indians, 45
Columbus and, 16 between Dutch and Swedish colonies, 44
Louisiana Purchase and, 78 French and Indian War, 65–66
settlement in America by, 19–20 against Islam, 13
slavery and, 48 King Philip’s War, 58, 59–61
southern English colonies and, 61, 62 over land, 8–9
unification of, 15 Pequot War, 55–56
Squanto, 86 Pokanoket-Pilgrim alliance, 30
Stamp Act (1765), 68 Quakers and, 38
“starving time,” 24–25 revolution, 70–74, 72
Stone, John, 55, 56 Washington, George, 65, 73
Stuyvesant, Peter, 44, 45–46, 47 Wassausmon, 59
Sugar Act (1764), 68 Watson’s Hill, 30
Swedish colony, 44 West Jersey settlement, 38
Weston, Thomas, 27
taxes, 67–68 westward expansion, 70, 77–79, 77
Taylor, Alan, 13 White, Andrew, 37
tea, 67 White, John, 20, 21, 22
technology, advances in, 13, 14, 15, 17 William III (king of England), 37
Timucua, 19 Williams, Mary, 32
tobacco, 25 Williams, Roger, 32, 34, 86
Tories, 74 Williamsburg, 25
trade Wingfield, Edward, 24
European desire to bypass Turks, 13 Winslow, Josiah, 60
exploration and, 13–14, 15 Winthrop, John, 31
in furs Wright, Robert Eric, 75
Dutch, 42, 43
English, 64 Zakaria, Fareed, 80

Picture Credits

Cover: © Bettmann/Corbis
© Bettmann/Corbis: 18
© Blue Lantern Studio/Corbis: 47
Bridgeman-Giraudon/Art Resource, NY: 14
The massacre of the settlers in 1622, plate VII, from ‘America, Part
XIII’, German edition, 1628 (coloured engraving), Merian, Matthaus,
the Elder (1593-1650)/Virginia Historical Society, Richmond,
Virginia, USA /The Bridgeman Art Library International: 23
© Francis G. Mayer/Corbis: 52 31
Northwind Picture Archives: 63, 72 31
Thinkstock/iStockphoto: 6 (bottom), 7 (top)
Thinkstock/ 6 (top), 7 (bottom)
Steve Zmina: 10, 28, 35, 57, 77

About the Author

David Robson’s many books for young people include The Decade of
the 2000s, The Mummy, and Encounters with Vampires. He is also an
award-winning playwright whose work for the stage has been per-
formed across the country and abroad. Robson lives with his family in
Wilmington, Delaware.