Chesapeake V. New England

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Differences in the societies of New England and the Chesapeake Bay area The 1600s saw a massive effort to colonize North America by the British. Beginning with the first permanent colony at Jamestown in 1607, colonies were formed rapidly and persistently. By 1700, Britain controlled the entire eastern coast of North America, as well as a substantial portion of the Caribbean. The region of New England, along the northern coast of the modern United States became a thriving area of shipbuilding and fishing colonies. The area further to the south developed into an agricultural region, producing vast amounts of important cash crops for export to Europe. In addition to the stark contrast in the economic structure of the two regions, there were many important differences in the society and culture of the people who inhabited them. There are many reasons why these two areas developed into such different societies, most of them environmental, idealistic, or economic.

The two very different geographical features helped shape the societies we see today, not only in economical or cultural ways, but also in political development. Cooler, rocky New England was a poor location for large-scale agricultural plantations and farms, but the many natural harbors and expansive woodlands provided an excellent base for coastal cities and fishing industries. Cities made it possible for large groups of people to assemble without necessarily requiring them to travel long distances, making it possible for a more direct form of democracy to form. In contrast, the fertile but disease- ridden south was an ideal location for an agricultural-based economy. The colonies of North Carolina and Virginia proved to have an excellent environment for supporting the booming tobacco industry. The sparse, spread- out population in the south made it impossible for all the people in a region to participate in...