This section should include information from the Columbian Exchange to the French and Indian War.



In the broadest sense the American colonial experience was not unique in history. As a result of Columbus’ discovery, and era known as the Columbian Exchange began. The Columbian Exchange was the enormous widespread exchange of plants, animals, foods, human populations (including slaves), communicable diseases, and ideas between the Eastern and Western hemispheres that occurred after 1492. Following the discovery of the New World by Columbus, the European nations set out to build colonial empires based on certain assumptions: First, colonies would make them wealthy and powerful and give them advantages over their neighbors. Second, the acquisition of colonies would enable them to solve various social problems such as overpopulation, poverty and the crime that was often associated with chronic lack of work for the unemployable poor. Third, a general sense prevailed among prosperous members of society that since the poorer classes knew that they had little chance of improving their lives, which might tend to make them rebellious, colonies could serve as a sort of escape valve for pent-up frustrations. Whatever the motivations, most major European nations vigorously pursued colonial policies. The 13 Original American colonies were English. But these English colonies included numerous immigrants from other nations. Along the Delaware River was a small colony known for a time as New Sweden, and in parts of Pennsylvania there were more German settlers than English. French Huguenots came as well, and the New York colony, of course, started as the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam. Rhode Island was home to Portuguese settlers as well as a Jewish population. Within the English communities one could find diversity of another sort—Puritan Congregationalists in New England, Catholics in Maryland, Anglicans in Virginia and the other Southern colonies. Religious differences were more important than they are in the United States today, and were often the source of conflict. But no matter the religious or ethnic makeup of each colony, by 1700 all were governed according to British law.

starpadyellow.gif Fun Fact #1: Syphilis was introduced to the countries of Europe as a result of the Columbian Exchange.
starpadyellow.gif Fun Fact #2: Before the invention of toilet paper, Colonial Americans used Corn cobs, mussel shells, newspapers, leaves, sand after using the toilet or the "John" as it was called.
starpadyellow.gif Fun Fact #3: In early colonial times, pumpkins were used as an ingredient in the crust of pies, not in the filling.
starpadyellow.gif Fun Fact #4: The first English child born in the colonies was Virginia Dare on August 18th, 1587. Her parents, Ananias Dare and Eleanor White, were members of the group of colonists who settled on Roanoke Island.

ca.gifThe 13 Colonies-map-colonies.jpg

Year of Colonization
Religion or Belief
John Winthrop and others of the Massachusetts Bay Co.
New Hampshire
John Mason
Congregational Church
New York
The Dutch (Duke of York)
Thomas Hooker
Congregational Church
Rhode Island
Roger Williams
William Penn
New Jersey
Lord Berkley and Lord Carteret
Peter Minuit and others
Lord Baltimore
Roman Catholic
London Company
North Carolina
Virginia Colonists
South Carolina
English Nobles
James Oglethorpe

ca.gifLife in the Colonies-

a) Political-

Government and politics in the colonial era was based in part on what colonists knew and understood back in their mother country England. Social status was considered in the development of the colonial political structure. The settlers were used to government based on hierarchical social structure, and that concept was apparent in the new American colonies.
The earliest leaders in the colony of Jamestown were of high social, economic, and educational classes. This was during the early 1600s. These leaders left the colony, or died and did not leave any descendents. By the mid century however, a new aristocracy came into power. These were influential merchants and sons of government officials whose families had property or business within the colony. Virginia's political framework in the 1660s was lead by Governor William Berkley. England was still most interested in keeping a close watch on Virginia’s politics and economics.
New England government is the paradigm of early colonial Democracy. Town meetings were regularly scheduled, and originally only permitted participation by white male property owners. Town officials would be elected by eligible voters. The Puritan ideals greatly influenced local decisions and the structure of government. The Massachusetts Bay Colony was created as a Bible Commonwealth. Governor William Bradford was an influential figure in the Bay Colony.
The middle-southern colonies, such as Maryland, and the Chesapeake region configured a government based on a county system. This system was characterized by the appointments of between 6 and 8 magistrates, or local governors to each county. The magistrates collectively would make local decisions and participate in a county court. The purpose of the court was to provide an early system of checks and balances by permitting an open forum which was effective in that it gave the option to agree or appeal any decision of an individual magistrate. Officers of law or constables were also appointed by the court.
The southern colonies established a method of government known as the parish vestry. Magistrates were appointed, but even more powerful “vestrymen” wielded political power. The southern colonies based their political institutions primarily on Anglican Church values.
william_penn_01_orig.jpgThe middle colonies, such as Pennsylvania, created a government based on the division, and organization of land population. Pennsylvania was divided into districts, which consisted of a township, city, county, and borough. A constable, who was appointed by the court, regulated law in each township. Town meetings were held in the boroughs. Officers of boroughs were the burgesses and the councilors, who conducted the town meetings. William Penn was extremely influential in organizing a judicial court system. The middle colonies were a hybrid of the “localized town meeting-type” of government of New England, and the county government of the South

Since the majority of the colonies were established by England as an economic outlet, Company shareholders, such as New York’s Dutch Company (later assumed by England), had a major impact on laws passed and the infrastructure of early government in the colony. external image SOL110101.gifexternal image colony8.gif

b) Social-
  • The colonies are categorized into three groups:
    • New England- Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire
  • Most men were small farmers
  • Men had complete control over their property and also had power over their wives
  • The roles of women was to look after their children and support their husbands, meanwhile they could not own proerty, file lawsuits,churning.jpg or participate in the government
  • Wives of farmers helped their families by supplying clothes by knitting sweaters out of yarn and wool, making candles and soap, and churning milk into butter
  • A typical New Englad house was made of wood, was one and a half stories high, with a strong frame and a chimney that was used for cooking and warmth. There was usually a parlor for entertaining guests, and children slept in a loft above. Since families were usually large (6-8 children per family) there was little privacy in these homes.
  • By the mid 18th century, there was a slight change in this way of life, for the fact that each generation nearly doubled the population from the one before. Land had to be divided smaller, which made farming harder and less successful
  • By 1750 the town life had changed to support farming families. Blacksmiths, wheelwrights, and furniture makers lived in small villages. Traders also set up stores selling cloth, utensils, and some prducts such as sugar and molasses. Store keepers sold imported goods in exchange for crops.
  • Goods were shipped to towns along the Atlantic coast, and people set up taverns and stables along wagon roads to make some money from those traveling back and forth
  • Other merchants took advantage of the availabiliy of water and became fishers, trading with the West Indies and Europe114.JPG
  • Merchants also traded goods such as shingles, potash, and barrel staves to the West Indies, then goods from there such as sugar, molasses, and gold coins were traded in exchange, and back in the colonies the sugar and mollasses was distilled into rum, then the rum and cold coins were traded to Europe, which then in turn sent tobacco, fish, and other goods to the colonies.This was the beginning of the triangular trade, and soon after the American Revolutionary was Africa would become involved in the trade as well.
  • Children were taught to read the bible at an early age
  • Each town had a primary school while only come funded for secondary schools adn grammer schools
  • Most boys followed in their father's footsteps, either becoming a farmer or an artisan
  • Most girls didn't get formal educations, but some went to dame schools where they were taught basic reading and writing schools
  • Many churches established colleges to train miniters, while purtians had founded some collleges such as Harvard and Yale
    • Middle Colonies- Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey
  • This mid-atlantic region grew mostly from new immigration. Scots Irish and Germans came to New York and Pennsylvania throughout the early 1700s, and made up a large amount of the population by the mid 1700s
  • With new policies of religious toleration, especially those inforced in the colony of Pennsylvania, founded by William Penn, came the flow of immigrants to these areas. Policies such asfreehold ownership, where farmers hold their land free of leases, also attracts more immigrants.
  • With all the new cultures, came the introduction of different types of architecture, such as Dutch style buildings, and churches in the shape of octagons. In towns there were buildings entirely made of stone, while log cabins could be found close by.
  • The new cultures also brought about different types of agriculture. Germans preferred to use oxen to pull their plows while Scots-Irish used hogs.
  • Advancements soon came on the farming fields as well. Different agricultural practices that came about helped to make farmers more successful. For example, using a new tool called the cradle scythe, which arranged stalks of grain for easy collection,mayflower.jpg allowed farmers to get a lot more done in one day when they didn't have to waste time on the little things.
  • By 1750 this mid-atlantic region was divided by wealth and ethnicity
  • Wheat was a huge industry, and became one of the key trading goods with Europe
  • Seaports, created for wheat trades, had many social classes. Their were many specialized workers/merchants who made up the middle class, incuding butchers, carpenters, cobblers, bakers, shopkeepers, artisans, and others.
  • Unlike the northern colonies, the women had a slightly larger role in society. Wives and their husbands worked together in their businesses and taught their children their skill so they could continue the business when they got older. Laborers made up the lowest social class. They worked on docks, unloading and loading the vessels. Some of these men were black, some free while others were slaves.
    • Southern Colonies- North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland, Georgia, and Virginia
  • After years of poor education and poor lifestyles, areas in the south began to advance
  • This area was still filled with british culture, and many british customs were still being practices here, such as afternoon tea
  • These colonies were mostly made up of wealthy plantation owners
  • Because of the large plantations, the platation owners found a need for help on the fields, and found that help with teh introduction of African slaves
  • Tobacco, indigo, and rice were the most produced crops of these colonies
  • Slaves worked hard in the fields, while wives of the plantation owners looked after them
c) Economic-
  • New England

1. Farmland was scarce in New England because of geography, therefore making farming very limited. Colonists took part in logging, shipbuilding, fishing, and rum distilling.
2. Overpopulation eventually led to the division of farmland, which threatened common farmers.
3. Colonists planted English Grasses such as Red Clover and Timothy Grass which provided better graizing land for livestock and fertile soil to grow various crops.
  • Middle Colonies

1. The Middle Colonies containted rich soil which attracted many farmers.
2. Wheat and corn were the main exports along with iron-making.
  • Southern Colonies

1. Tobacco was the cash crop of the Chesapeake region, as it could grow in almost any condition and without fertile soil.
2. Farming ranged from small farms to plantations.
3. Slavery was used exceedingly throughout colonial times. Indentured servants were becoming more scarce as slavery was becoming cheaper.
The Headwright system was employed in the south to solve labor issues by encouraging the importation of workers. Under this system, any person who funded the importation of a laborer would acquire 50 acres of land. The headwright system allowed for simple means of gaining landownership.

GOOD.GIFNative American - Colonial Relations

1. Native Americans initially traded goods such as weapons, cooking utensils, and fish hooks with colonists, but then shifted their focus to fur.
2. The Native Americans benefited from the new technology of the Europeans, but disease soon struck killing countless Natives.
3. As many tribes were failing to withhold their territory against the colonists, the Iroquois were more successful. They created the Leage of the Iroquois which consisted of 50 representatives from five different tribes (Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Sececa).
4. Powhatan, an Indian leader, first tried absorbing the settlers through hospitality. The settlers at first shook of the attempted help by the Indians, to try to become self-sufficient. As attempts failed, they soon grew dependent on the Native Americans for food. According to Powhatan, the English "invade my people, possess my country."
5. Captain John Smith believed that the English should treat the Indians as though conquered, and subject them to "drudgery, work, and slavery." As his people's food production began to drastically decrease, and negotiations with the Indians failed, he took what he desired by force.
6. Series of raids occured between the two people leading to 350 colonial deaths.

ca.gifIntoxicating facts about Colonial America!

The pilgrims celebrated the first Thanksgiving with beer, brandy, gin and wine to drink. However, there was NO mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie or cranberry sauce!

A brewery was one of Harvard College's first construction projects so that a good steady supply of beer could be served in the student dining halls. The students must have had a great time!

The Puritans loaded more beer than water onto the Mayflower before they left on their journey to the New World.

Tavern owners were considered to be of higher social status than the clergy during part of the Colonial Period!

During Colonial times, people who did NOT drink alcohol had to pay one life insurance company rates 10% higher than that of drinkers.

Alewives in Colonial America brewed "groaning ale" for pregnant women to drink during labor. This ale was extremely high proof!

small_beer_bottle.jpgThe Colonial Army supplied its troops with a daily ration of four ounces of either rum or whiskey. That must have kept them pretty content!

external image TavernWoodcut.jpg

ca.gifFrench and Indian War


Causes leading up to the war...
  • During the early part of the eighteenth century the Appalachian region of the country was inhabited by Native Americans. French from Canada and British who were trappers and backwoodsmen traveled here but did not reside here. As the British colonies became more prosperous and more heavily populated, people began to look toward the lands across the Appalachian Mountains for new opportunities for economic growth and new lands to conquer. The French, who at the time were claiming the watersheds of the Mississippi and St. Lawrence Rivers including the Great Lakes and the Ohio River valley—became worried about British invasion of this region. Hence, they set up a series of forts, including Crown Point on Lake Champlain, and on the Wabash, Ohio, Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. The British, meanwhile, built their own forts at Oswego and Halifax, the government granted lands in the Ohio Valley to the Ohio Company.
  • In 1750, British and French representatives met in Paris to try to rectify some of these territorial disputes, but nothing worked. In 1752, the Marquis Duquesne was made governor-general of France. He was instructed to take possession of the Ohio Valley and to remove all the British from the area. The following year, he sent troops to western Pennsylvania where his troops built forts in a variety of places. At the same time, Robert Dinwiddie, Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, was granting land in the Ohio Valley to citizens of his colony, setting in motion the events which ultimately led to the French & Indian War.
The war begins...
  • Tension continued to rise over seas, then Britain officially declared war on France on May 15, 1756, marking the beginning of the war in Europe. The Native Americans fought on both sides of the war, but they mostly fought on the side of hte French, with exception to the Ioquois.
  • The fighting began in 1754, when Major George Washington when to negotiate with the French over boundaries.He then led troops to Fort Duquesne to confront hte French, but along the way ran into them at Jumonville Glen, and in a small struggle a french officer was killed. Washinton pulled back and kept his men at Fort Necessity, meanwhile the French were outraged after one of their men had been killed.
  • The next battle came about at Mononagahela, where the French and Natives were outnumbered, yet their superior tactics led them to a victory.(fun fact * Washington walked out of the battle unharmed, but with four bullet holes in his jacket! That was a close one...)
  • The French continued to dominate over the British in battles at Fort William Henry, Fort Duquesne, and astonishgly at Carillon where they won a battle against an army 5 times their size. The only British victory was at Fort Beausejour which helped them protect the Nova Scotia fronteir.
  • The turning point in the war was due to the French's continuation of their ignorance of the North American theatre. The british drove them out of many forts, one of the most important was Fortress Louisbourg. In the battle of the Plains of Abraham, British won control over Quebec city.
  • In 1760, France surrendered in Montreal. The were granted the request that any French in the colonies would still be allowed to be Roman catholic, could keep their property, and remain unharmed and left alone in their homes. The British also provided medical treatment for those who were injured int he war.
A peace treaty is made...
  • The war officially ended with the Treaty of Paris, 1763. French lost all of their land east of the Mississippi-bascially all Canadian territory became British territory-except two small islands off Newfoundland. France regained two carribean islands, Guadeloupe and Martinique, which happened to be of higher economic value than the Canadian land due to their vast supply of sugar crops. Spain lost their control over Florida to the British, but gained Louisiana. The war within Europe ended with the Treay of Hubertusburg a few months later.