Motivating factors for English Immigration
a. Desire for a quick profit
b. A
chance to start over with a variety of opportunities and vast amounts of land.
Religious freedom

(1) Although the Elizabethan Settlement made the Church of England more Protestant, in the minds of many it did not go far enough to purge the church of remaining Catholic vestiges.
(a) Those wishing to stay within the Church of England but further "purify" it of remaining Catholic elements were known as Puritans who viewed themselves as true members of the Church of England who merely desired to make the Church better.
(b) The struggle between the Crown as head of the Church and Puritans resulted in a Great Migration of them to New England during the reigns of James I , son of Mary, Queen of Scots (aka James VI of Scotland ) and his son, Charles I .
(c) James I (1603-25) believed in the divine right of kings , saw nonconformity to his bishops as a threat to his authority as king of the realm and therefore stiffened in his opposition to Puritans and Nonconformists.
(d) Charles I (1625-49) proved to be even more headstrong concerning the monarchy and ruled without Parliament from 1628-40, levying taxes by royal decree.
(e) The struggle between Charles I and Parliament intensified into a civil war which resulted in the execution of Charles I and an end to the Migration.
(f) Puritans ruled England during the Interregnum (1649-60) under Oliver Cromwell
(2) Some, frustrated at the inability to further change the Anglican Church under Elizabeth I, eventually left the church and were called Separatists .
(a) Separatists had no hope for the Church of England; it could not be salvaged.
(b) Some migrated to Holland before migrating to the New World - Pilgrims .

II. Establishment of Virginia
A. Financing for Colonial Development

Four types of exploration and colonization financing methods were formed in the 1500s
a. Trading Company or Joint Stock Company Colony - Hoping to find something of value to send back to the mother company, using individual investors.
(1) With the king's permission, a company was formed which often had exclusive rights of trade in a particular area or over a particular product.
(2) These company charters enabled the owners to sell stock or shares to private investors, who were hoping for dividends.
b. Covenant or Self-governing Colony - colonies created and governed by the settlers (as at Plymouth, Rhode Island and Connecticut).
c. Proprietary Colony - One individual or group was given by the crown the right to govern or to settle a specified company (as in Maryland). The government formed could be any type except that colonists had to be guaranteed basic English rights.
d. Royal Colony - remained under Crown control. For various reasons most English colonies lost their separate status and reverted to royal colonies by 1776.


To encourage agricultural settlements and families, the company sent ninety women to the colony for more permanence. (Payment for a wife was for her passage to the colony, about 125 pounds of tobacco).
d. A Dutch man-of-war stopped in Jamestown and left 20 black "indentured" servants -- the introduction of black labor in the English colonies .

Between 1607 - 19, 1,650 settlers had left England for Virginia.
a. 300 returned to England
b. Of the 1,350 who remained, only 351 were alive at the beginning of 1619.
c. Within five years, of 8,000 immigrants, Jamestown had only 1,132 population.
d. In 1622, a major Indian uprising killed 347 settlers, including John Rolfe (after Pocohontas had died in London).
The labor problem at least temporarily as well as the distribution of land was greatly aided by the use of indentured servants.
a. For passage to the New World, the one paying the passage received land while the one who migrated to Virginia worked for a specified period of years, usually from 5 to 7 years.
b. The servant was given food, shelter and clothing, but no wages.
c. At the end of the period of service, the servant received something (lump cash sum, tools, land).
Because the company continued to suffer financially, when the company went bankrupt, at Sandys' request Virginia became the first Royal colony.

Founding of Plymouth Rock

James I required all Englishmen to attend the services of the Anglican Church, permitting no any other church services to be held in England.

Some Separatists migrated to the Netherlands where they were granted limited asylum by the Dutch Calvinists beginning in 1607.

Some English Separatist immigrants, who had settled in Leyden in 1609, became concerned after ten years in Holland that their children were losing contact with English culture, could not join local Dutch guilds, and would be subject to the Inquisition once a 12-year Spanish and Dutch truce expired in 1621, and began negotiations with the VA Company to emigrate to company lands in the New World.

They secured a patent from the Virginia Company in 1619 to settle within company borders in the name of an English clergyman, John Wyncop, and also had gained an important concession from James I, that he would not interfere with their religious practices -- observance of Anglicanism would not be enforced in their colonies.

After rejecting a Dutch offer, they combined with Thomas Weston, an ironmonger, and John Pierce, a clothmaker and set up three groups in 1620, which controlled all capital and profits for seven years after which it would be divided proportionately:
a. 70 adventurers in England at 10 pounds per share;
b. Adventurer-planters received 2 shares per 10 pound consideration for their settling;
c. Planters who received one share each for their labor.

Pilgrim Voyage (22 July-9 Nov 1620)
a. Thirty Pilgrims from Leyden sailed to London and boarded the Mayflower as part of 101 persons plus crew and officers.
b. CPT Miles Standish (c.1584-1656), a non-Pilgrim, was hired as military leader.
c. Because some doubted the legality of their patent, they (may have deliberately) landed outside of the Virginia Company's boundaries.
d. After several non-pilgrim passengers asserted that no one had authority over them, Pilgrim leaders drafted the Mayflower Compact , a social contract, setting up a "civil body politic" to frame "just and equal laws," signed by 41 adults, not all of whom were pilgrims (21 Nov 1620).

C. Plymouth Colony 1620-24

Plymouth was chosen as the sight of the colony on 25 Dec and a deacon, John Carver (c.1576-1621) served as the first governor through the mild first winter

Weakened from the journey, half the Pilgrims died within four months of landing.

The survivors in the spring of 1621 owe their lives to Squanto and Samoset, two Indians who taught the Pilgrims how to grow corn and also helped to initially establish good relations with local Indian tribes, although with the firearms the Pilgrims were able to become the dominant partner.

This provided the roots for the traditional Thanksgiving celebration, first celebrated after the harvest of 1621 as a way of cementing their relationship with the Indians, a three-day event with some 90 men present.

Relations with the Indians worsened after news of the Virginia massacre of 1622 forcing the Pilgrims to militarize their colony, under the leadership of Miles Standish .

By imposing stern discipline the Pilgrims managed to become agriculturally self-sufficient, but after seven years the Pilgrims were heavily in debt that they faced fifteen more years of labor to free themselves.
a. Fishing failed to be profitable for them, but they learned to trade their corn surpluses with the Indians of Maine in exchange for furs.
b. The colony prospered by fur trading and by preparing lumber for shipment to England.
c. The settlement finally freed itself from its debts and grew to several hundred, living in present day Massachusetts

The colony abandoned its communal economy in 1623

Significance of the Pilgrims
They helped inspire the American vision of sturdy, self-reliant, God-fearing folk crossing the Atlantic to govern themselves freely.
They also foreshadowed the methods that later generations would use to gain mastery over the Indians -- firearms.
F. Additional Colonies in Present-day Maine and New Hampshire


Puritan Beliefs

  1. The purpose of civil law was to enforce to enforce God's laws.
  2. The concept of salvation involved the doctrine of election, whereby God selected or preordained those who would be saved -- saints versus sinners.
  3. Nothing that a person did would influence God's choice.
  4. Certain signs were available to help the individual determine if he was among the elect.
    a. If things were going well for you, this could be a sign that you were elected.
    b. Although you could not earn salvation through good works, works might be a sign of election

Puritan Practices
a. Each community had its own church, which was an individual unit run by the members of each congregation, who elected their own minster.
b. Ministers worked together informally, enforcing certain beliefs and practices through social pressure.
c. Ministers could not hold public office, but advised public officials.

Information for this page is drawn from: ENGLISH COLONIZATION


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