Ch 4 The American Pagent - CHAPTER 4 AMERICAN LIFE IN THE...

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CHAPTER 4: AMERICAN LIFE IN THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY 1607-1692
THE UNHEALTHY CHESAPEAKE Life in America was brutal, especially in the Chesapeake (Virginia/Maryland). The work there was hard and the climate was muggy. Diseases such as malaria, dysentery, and typhoid took their deadly toll. Thus, life spans in the Chesapeake were only to 40 or 50 . Family-life suffered. Men outnumbered women and had to compete to win a woman’s heart. The ratio was 6:1(men-to- women) in 1650. ⦿ Still, Virginia persisted and grew to be the most populous colony with 59,000 people.
THE TOBACCO ECONOMY Though hard on people, the Chesapeake was ideal for cultivation of tobacco. Exports rose from 1.5 million pounds of tobacco annually in the 1630s to 40 million pounds in 1700. Increased production/supply meant prices fell. The solution was to simply plant and grow, even more tobacco.
THE HEADRIGHT SYSTEM The “ headright system encouraged growth of the Chesapeake. Initially, indentured servitude provided the labor for the tobacco. Life for an indentured servant was tough, but they had had of freedom and their own land when their seven years of service were done.
FRUSTRATED FREEMEN AND BACON’S REBELLION By the late 17th century (1600s), the Chesapeake had grown a generation of angry young men. Nathaniel Bacon typified these men in what came to be called Bacon’s Rebellion . In 1676, Bacon led about 1,000 men in a revolt. Many of these men had settled on the frontier where Indian attacks were frequent. After some riotous success, Bacon suddenly died of disease. With the leader gone, Berkeley struck back and crushed the rebellion.
COLONIAL SLAVERY In 3 centuries following Columbus’ landing, 10 million African slaves were brought to America. Only 400,000 were brought to North America. Things were changing in the late 1600s however, as indentured servitude was being replaced by black slaves. By 1750, black slaves made up almost ½ the population of Virginia.
SOURCE OF SLAVES Most slaves came from the coast of West Africa.

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