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Differences in the New England Colonies and Chesapeake Region

  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 07:19 AM
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Question: Although New England and the Chesapeake region were both settled largely by people of English origin, by 1700 the regions had evolved into two distinct societies. Why did this difference in development occur?



When discussing the alteration between the New England Colonies and the Chesapeake region, one must take into account the differences in geography and economy, family development, and society. In the beginning they were both mainly settled by Englishmen with similar goals, but these said factors lead to considerable contrast.

The geography of the New England Colonies was not very forgiving. The soil was heavily glaciated and rocky, which made agriculture nearly impossible. Eventually the English brought pigs, horses, sheep, and cattle to the settlements, which required pastureland. The colonists were constantly clearing forests. However, the trees that were cut down were not wasted. Fed up with the stony land, the colonists moved towards the coast. The dense forests allowed a bounty of timber which was used for ship building. Also, there was an abundance of fish off the coast of Newfoundland, which made the New Englanders very wealthy. The Chesapeake region however, had very fertile soil. Drainage from the Atlantic Ocean created many rivers and wetlands which made the land moist and in some areas, swampy. The main crop produced in this area was tobacco. However the intense tobacco production resulted in exhausted soil, creating a demand for new land. The area produced 1.5 million pounds of the weed per year by the 1630s.

Malaria, dysentery, and typhoid were only a few of the diseases that put a major damper on the lives of Chesapeake settlers. The high death rate cut ten years off the lives of each person. Nearly half the people died before reaching adulthood. One reason the settlements even grew at all was immigration from England. Unfortunately, most of the young men who arrived died shortly after their influx. Also,...

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