DBQ 1993: Why did the New England and Chesapeake regions develop into 2 distinct societies by 1700?

Essay by tdinardoHigh School, 11th gradeA+, October 2009

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9/10/09AP US History P.4Today, the country of the United States of America is well known for it having the most diverse population in the world. There are people of many different religious beliefs and ethnicities. If one thinks back on it though, it is strange how such a thing could have happened. We were originally settled by on country; England. Although the colonies in the New England and Chesapeake regions of North America were settled mainly by the English, by the 1700s both developed into two distinct societies because of their environmental surroundings, their reasons for settlement, and their way of life.

The regions had somewhat similar climates, but it was their surroundings that set them apart. Both regions had harsh and unforgiving climates that neither the Chesapeake settlers nor the New England settlers were prepared for. According to a book written by Captain John Smith called the History of Virginia, he states that “with the extremity of the bitter cold frost…more than half of us died”[Doc.

F]. The first settlers of the New England colonies didn’t fair too well either. Their first winter of 1620-1621 took a high death toll, leaving only 44 of the original 102 alive. That, however, is where the similarities end. The Chesapeake colonies were fortunate to have extremely fertile soil and soon their society revolved around lucrative cash crops, such as tobacco, rice, sugar, and indigo. Due to the nature of tobacco, colonies such as Virginia and other large producers of tobacco adopted the plantation system. These plantations were many acres in size and required many workers to operate. Thus the seeds of African slavery in America began to form. In addition to the fertile soil the Chesapeake region had many slow moving and navigable rivers. These rivers allowed close to ties to England.