After completing this chapter, you should be able to:
- Analyze the developments in England between the Restoration of Charles II in 1660 and the overthrow of James II in the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and explain why anti-Catholic sentiment played a role seventeenth century England
- Explain and analyze the founding and development of the middle colonies, including the motives for settlement and the experience of the colonists.
- Examine the foundation of the colony of Georgia and explain the ways in which its founding and purpose differed from that of most other colonies.
- Analyze the motives of those who founded the Carolina colony and explain the positions of the Lords Proprietors.
The years between 1640 and 1660 were ones of chaos in England. It was in this period that a king, Charles I, was beheaded, and England converted into a republic under the leadership of the Puritan Oliver Cromwell. No new colonies were founded during this time, though immigrants continued to move to already-established colonies. When the son of Charles I, Charles II, was “restored” to the throne, he brought with him an interest in colonization as well as an elaborate court life and fiscal excesses. Between his succession to the throne in 1660 and his death in 1685, Charles rewarded those who had been loyal to him and to his father by bestowing upon them grants of land in the Americas. During his reign, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Carolina were founded as proprietary colonies. Most of the North American colonies, including Virginia, Georgia, North and South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Maine, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, and Delaware were proprietary for at least part of their existence.
Proprietary colonies were not unlike the fiefdoms of the Middle Ages in that the proprietors were the ultimate sources of authority in their respective colonies, controlling all actions and institutions of government. In the early eighteenth century, Georgia, the last colony to be established, was under the control of a Board of Trustees; the trustees envisioned the colony both as a buffer between Spanish Florida and the Carolinas and a refuge for English debtors. By the early eighteenth century, many of the colonies, including those granted to the proprietors, had become Royal Colonies, under the direct control of the English Crown.
- 5.1: The English Background (1660-1715)
- Events in seventeenth century England were important to the establishment and progress of the colonies in America. The period 1660-1688 was one of struggle for political ascendency in England between Parliament and the king. The Glorious Revolution, like the Civil War and Restoration, was played out in the colonies, as the latter chaffed against controls by the royal governors and the Crown.
- 5.2: The Carolinas
- The Carolinas began as one colony with two distinct areas: the north, Albemarle, which was not easy to colonize due to its geography, and the south, which centered on Charleston, a city founded in 1670. The first attempts to colonize Carolina failed. The later attempt in 1663 to establish Carolina as a proprietary colony with eight Lords Proprietors was successful. Carolina’s policy of religious toleration made it attractive to non-Anglicans.
- 5.3: The Middle Colonies
- During the early part of the seventeenth century, the English focused on developing their colonies in New England and the Chesapeake, thereby largely neglecting the land between the two settlements. So, the Dutch and the Swedes began to settle the mid-Atlantic region along the Hudson and Delaware Rivers. By the early 1680s, the English had turned New Netherland into several proprietary colonies, including New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.
- 5.4: Georgia - The Final Colony
- Georgia was the last of the original thirteen colonies to be established. As British settlement spread to the south and west, it came into increasing contact with the Spanish in Florida and the French in the Mississippi River valley. From an imperial viewpoint, Georgia functioned as buffer zone between British settlements and their imperial rivals; the new colony was to be a garrison province that would defend the British, especially from Spanish Florida.
Thumbnail: First slave auction in New Amsterdam. (Public Domain; Howard Pyle 1895 via Wikipedia)