Colonial agriculture

Colonial agriculture - encouraged planters to diversify....

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Colonial agriculture.  The overwhelming majority of colonists were farmers. New England's rocky soil and  short growing season along with the practice of dividing already small farms among  siblings led families to a barely subsistent living. The crops they grew—barley, wheat,  and oats—were the same as those grown in England, so they had little export value  compared with the staples of the southern plantations. Many New Englanders left  farming to fish or produce lumber, tar, and pitch that could be exchanged for English  manufactured goods. In the Middle Colonies, richer land and a better climate created a  small surplus. Corn, wheat, and livestock were shipped primarily to the West Indies from  the growing commercial centers of Philadelphia and New York. Tobacco remained the  most important cash crop around Chesapeake Bay, but the volatility of tobacco prices 
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Unformatted text preview: encouraged planters to diversify. Cereal grains, flax, and cattle became important to the economies of Virginia and Maryland in the eighteenth century. Rice cultivation expanded in South Carolina and Georgia, and indigo was added around 1740. The indigo plant was used to make a blue dye much in demand by the English textile industry. Population growth put pressure on the limited supply of land in the north, while the best land in the south was already in the hands of planters. With opportunities for newcomers limited in the settled coastal areas, many German and Scotch-Irish immigrants pushed into the interior, where available land was more abundant. Filtering into the backcountry of Pennsylvania, Virginia, and the Carolinas, they established farms on the frontier and grew just enough food to keep themselves going....
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This note was uploaded on 11/19/2011 for the course HIST 1310 taught by Professor Marshall during the Fall '08 term at Texas State.

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