Early english settlements

Why would the British want colonies?
In 1587, the colony at
Roanoke was started by Sir
Walter Raleigh. It was
unsuccessful and the
people “disappeared”.
Most historians believe
they moved away from the
settlement, possibly to live
with the nearby native
tribe, the Croatoans.
In 1607, the settlement at
Jamestown was founded.
King James I had given
English investors of the
Virginia Company a
charter to start colonies
in the New World.
Jamestown struggled at first because most of
the settlers were townspeople who knew little
about farming, or clearing land for settlement.
Some even refused to work because they were
“gentlemen”, until John Smith said they could
not share in the food unless they worked.
The Jamestown colony struggled and almost
gave up, when ships from England arrived
with supplies.
They later realized that they could raise
tobacco for profit. This cash crop saved the
The colony would now have the right to elect
its own lawmaking body
The people would elect representatives, called
burgesses, and the whole assembly would be
called the House of Burgesses
New settlers who bought shares in the
company were promised 50 acres of land
90 women were sent to Jamestown in 1619
Slave ships started arriving from Africa
In 1632, George Calvert, also known as Lord
Baltimore, petitioned the King for a charter to
start a colony.
Lord Baltimore was Catholic and was looking
for a place where Catholics could worship
Catholics, Pilgrims (separatists) and Puritans
had all been persecuted under the Church of
They refused to recognize the king as head of
the church and did not accept the authority of
the Anglican bishops.
Lord Baltimore had been friends with King
James and his son Charles. When he converted
to Catholicism, their friendship remained, but
his career in Parliament was ruined.
He owned Maryland as a proprietary colony,
which meant he could govern it any way he
In 1649, Maryland passed the Toleration Act,
which allowed all Christians to worship as they
Both of these groups left England for religious
reasons. The Pilgrims were separatists – they
wanted to separate from the Church of
Puritans wanted to purify the Church of
Pilgrims signed the Mayflower Compact before
going ashore in Massachusetts.
This document was an agreement that the
people of the settlement would elect a leader
and follow the rules.
John Winthrop led a group of Puritans to
Massachusetts just five years after the Pilgrims
settled there.
The Puritans were facing persecution under
King Charles, but they were also facing
economic hardship because of a decline in
England’s wool industry.
In Massachusetts, people who owned stock in
the company were called “freemen”.
All of the freemen together were called the
General Court. They made the laws and
elected the governor.
After disagreements with the General Court in
Massachusetts, Roger Williams, and several
others, moved to Providence.
Others, like Anne Hutchinson, also disagreed
with the Puritan leaders. They settled areas
like Portsmouth, Newport, and Warwick.
These groups were much more tolerant of other
religious beliefs than the Puritans in
In 1636, Thomas Hooker decided to move his
entire congregation to the Connecticut River
They chose to move because they needed more
land to raise cattle, but Hooker was also upset
because he thought that everyone should be
able to vote, not just church members.
In 1639, the settlers in Connecticut adopted the
Fundamental Orders of Connecticut. This was
a constitution which allowed all men to vote,
not just church members.
Most settlements were intended for profit.
Even the Pilgrims were headed to Jamestown
at first. Those who came for religious reasons
were still expected to make a living. They
would trade with Great Britain and the British
would have access to colonial resources.