Discuss the establishment and development of the Chesapeake/Virigina colonies from the mid 1650s to 1763. How did they compare to those in the Spanish and French areas?

Essay by collierhaCollege, UndergraduateA+, February 2006

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North American British colonies were divided into New England, Middle and Southern. The Chesapeake/ Virginia region was extremely well established and developed from the 1650's to 1763. They had great relations with their parent countries and flourished in trade. It was quite different form the Spanish and French colonies in North America.

The British had a much larger population than the French who by the 1680's only had about 10,000 settlers compared to the British 40,000 in 1670. Population growth was mainly due to enhanced slavery trade. In Virginia slaves were seen as an investment being as the more slaves one had the more powerful he was seen in the public eye. Instead of trying to distribute power and wealth more evenly the Virginian elites brought in more African slaves bound by laws. Those who purchased the slaves were obviously the more wealthy citizens. Leaving the less wealthy to fend for themselves as far as labor on their crops was concerned.

The importation of African slaves greatly increased the population after 1698 when the Crown dropped the monopoly causing even more merchants to participate. In 1660 there were 900 blacks in Chesapeake, two decades later there were 4,300 and by 1720 one fifth of the population was black. Virginia had specific laws that determined the differences between white servants and black slaves. Slavery lasted and life time and was passed down from mother to child. Slave was the normal status of blacks but whites were never referred to as slaves only servants. Natural population of slaves began to grow and communities on large plantations began to develop. With each child born to a slave mother, plantation owners' wealth grew. Virginia had a hierarchical society and blacks were at the bottom, next came non-landholding whites, then small land owning whites, and...