Summary and Evaluation of America to 1744
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Archaeologists believe that the American continents were populated by hunters migrating across the northern land bridge from Asia within the last 40,000 years. They hunted large mammals until the glaciers melted about 9,000 BC. Maize (American corn) was being grown in the region of Mexico by 5,000 BC. Another culture developed in the Andes mountains and built large pyramids about 2700 BC. The religious Chavin culture developed there during the first millennium BC. The Olmecs developed in central America from 1500 BC and also worshipped symbols of the jaguar. In the sixth century BC the Zoque people built pyramids, and their language was similar to that of the Mayans, who became dominant by the first century BC.
By the third century CE Mayan civilization had developed cities in Mexico and central America. Teotihuacan had about 80,000 people. Sporadic wars between different kingdoms were recorded until the ninth century. Captured leaders of rivals were sacrificed while other prisoners were enslaved. After 822 events were not recorded as power was apparently decentralized. Causes for the decline of Mayan civilization during the eighth and ninth centuries include overpopulation, ecological disasters, disease, wars, revolutions, fatalism, trade isolation, and conquest by the Putun Maya. However, the fall of the elite power structures may have allowed a more egalitarian culture. Popol Vuh recounted the migration of the Quiché Maya to the north and their conquest of the Pokomam Maya in the east in the 13th century. According to this book, an early race of people had no hearts and minds and was destroyed by a flood. The next race learned how to play ball and to clear the land for gardening. The current race was created from corn flour, but their omniscience was reduced. Gods appeared only in spirit form, and sacrifices were used to appease them. The Quichés were victorious in war and forced other tribes to pay tribute. Wars continued to occur, and the rulers were recorded.
Eight-Deer founded the Toltec empire in central Mexico in 1030, but he was defeated, captured and sacrificed in 1063. Topiltzin, son of a Chichimec leader, claimed to be the divine Quetzalcoatl and ruled at Tollan (Tula) 1153-75. According to legend, Quetzalcoatl did not sacrifice men or animals, and he prohibited war and violence. Angry magicians caused Quetzalcoatl (Topiltzin) to flee Tollan and set himself on fire, becoming the morning star (Venus). Thus Tollan fell about 1168. Mexica groups and Chichimecs (Dog People) then ruled the region for the next two centuries. By the end of the 13th century the Mexica (Aztecs) had settled in Chapoltepec. Farther north the more peaceful Anasazi, who became the Pueblo, and the Hopis and Zunis attempted to withstand the aggressive Navahos and Apaches.
In the 14th century the Mexica fled from Tepanec domination by migrating south, founding Tenochtitlan in 1325 and the rival city Tlatelolco in 1358. Under their first king, Acamapichtli (r. 1372-91) and his son Huitzilihuitl (r. 1391-1414), the Mexica still served as mercenaries and allies for Tepanec king Tezozomoc (r. 1371-1426). Prince Nezahualcoyotl (r. 1418-72) emerged as an outstanding ruler of Texcoco. He helped the Mexica king Itzcoatl (r. 1427-40) defeat the Tepanecs in 1428. Itzcoatl had the records of their subjugation by the Tepanecs destroyed, and he began the Aztec empire by conquering the entire valley of Mexico. Nezahualcoyotl codified Texcoco laws, improved agriculture with dams and canals, built a causeway and an aqueduct, and gave prizes in the arts. Mexica society was stratified with the kings, priests, warriors, and merchants dominating serfs and slaves. Religion promoted purity, humility, discipline, and honesty, but dying in war was considered a blessing. Punishments were strict and included capital punishment for adultery and drunkenness.
Moteuczoma Ilhuicamina (r. 1440-68) was a successful general and high priest, and he was elected king. He expanded the empire by military conquest and in 1444 sacrificed five hundred captives. In the next decade the Mexica suffered increasing famine caused by locusts, floods, frosts, and drought. The Aztec empire struggled to survive and fought wars to gain more tribute and prisoners to sacrifice. After a long war Chalco was annexed in 1465. Axayacatl (r. 1469-81) used military power to compel unfair trade agreements, but in 1478 the northern Tarascans defeated the Mexica, killing 20,000 warriors. After the short reign of the unpopular Tizoc, his brother Ahuitzotl (r. 1486-1502) aggressively ruled the Aztec empire. The great pyramids of Tenochtitlan were inaugurated in 1487 with the sacrifice of 80,400 people. After defeating rebellious cities, Ahuitzotl distributed 40,000 children around the empire. Zapotecs in Oaxaca revolted against unfair trade in 1496. Moteuczoma Xocoyotl (Montezuma II) was elected king in 1502, but he hired only nobles and tall men and then executed those who had served Ahuitzotl. Moteuczoma used force ruthlessly to consolidate his empire. When the Spaniards arrived in 1519, the valley of Mexico had more than a million people.
In the Andes mountains in the 13th century the Incas also developed a stratified society that honored warriors. Viracocha Inca expanded his rule into an empire in the early 15th century. After a struggle for power, he was succeeded by his third son, who took the name Pachacuti in 1438. The Incas faced rebellions and transferred conquered people to other regions. Pachacuti organized his empire into a well organized state that provided for all the needs of the people including the poor and the aged; but the Emperor's word was law, and strict discipline was required. An official might be punished if a crime resulted from an unmet need. The sons of the nobles were educated and given the choice of the most beautiful girls. Inca religion and culture were imposed on conquered peoples; but capitulating leaders were appointed as officials, and others were drafted into the imperial army. Pachacuti made his son Topa Inca co-regent in 1463 and abdicated eight years later. Topa led his army into the south and north as far as Quito. When Topa Inca died in 1493, a regent governed until Huayna Capac grew up. After he died in 1526 from a plague brought by the Spaniards, his sons Atahualpa and Huascar fought a civil war that cost a hundred thousand lives. Atahualpa ended this war when he learned that Spaniards led by Pizarro had arrived in 1532.
In 1492 Christopher Columbus (Colon) and his crews on three ships were the first Europeans to land in America since the Vikings' brief explorations about 1000. His second voyage included seventeen ships and began the exploitation of the Tainos as slaves on the island of Española. Most of the Tainos died from diseases or in rebellions, and Spaniards carried syphilis to Europe. Spain claimed most of the "new world" but agreed in 1494 to let Portugal dominate Africa and what turned out to be Brazil. While Columbus explored the Caribbean, he was assisted in governing by his brothers Bartolomé and Diego Colon. They founded the encomienda system that gave natives and their land to European settlers. They had difficulty controlling the greed and lust of the Spaniards, and in 1500 Bobadilla sent the viceroy and his two brothers back to Spain in chains. Ojeda named Venezuela and found pearls. On his fourth voyage Columbus was marooned on Jamaica, but he returned to Spain, where he died in 1506.
Ovando governed Española 1502-09 with ruthless force, and the first African slaves arrived in 1505. Ojeda used a proclamation that asked the natives to accept the Catholic faith or be made slaves. Ponce de Leon colonized Puerto Rico in 1509, and in six years the population was reduced to a quarter of what it was. In 1511 Velazquez led the conquest of Cuba. The friar Montesinos preached a sermon at Santo Domingo against Spanish cruelty, but King Fernando ordered his preaching suppressed. In 1512 the Laws of Burgos ratified the encomienda system authorizing coerced labor. Balboa emerged as the leader in Panama and crossed the isthmus to the Pacific Ocean in 1513. The Requirement was formalized that threatened the natives with subjugation if they did not immediately accept Christianity and Spanish sovereignty. Governor Balboa was investigated and was executed by Pedrarias in 1517. After King Fernando died in 1516, the regent Cardinal Jiménez appointed Las Casas protector of the Indians. Importing African slaves was approved to take the burden off the natives, and sugar plantations developed. A smallpox epidemic exterminated the Tainos on Española and spread to Cuba.
In 1519 Cortes left Havana with eleven ships and began the conquest of Mexico. They defeated Mayans and gained an interpreter they called Marina. As they approached the Aztec empire, they received gold and jewels from Moteuczoma Xocoyotl (Montezuma II). Cortes sent away political rivals and was chosen captain-general. He persuaded the Totonacs to rebel against Mexica. After discovering a conspiracy and hanging two leaders, he ordered the wood from nine of his ships used for building. After the Spaniards defeated them in battle, the Tlaxcalans surrendered their city. When Cortes had more than a hundred Cholulan leaders killed, they no longer believed he was Quetzalcoatl returning. Emperor Moteuczoma welcomed the Spaniards to Tenochtitlan as guests. Cortes and his men seized golden treasures, destroyed idols, and imprisoned Moteuczoma and other leaders. Velazquez sent Narvaez from Cuba with nine hundred men to discipline Cortes, and they founded the town that became Veracruz. Cortes led 340 men who defeated Narvaez, killing 17 Spaniards. Alvarado fought an uprising at Tenochtitlan, killing thousands of Mexicas, until the hostage Moteuczoma stopped the fighting. Cortes returned to the capital. Moteuczoma was replaced by his brother Cuitlahuac and was killed. About four hundred Spaniards were killed, mostly drowned while trying to escape with gold. Having lost 870 Castilians and sixty horses, Cortes decided to enslave the Mexicas.
Smallpox devastated the Mayans of Yucatan and spread through the Mexica empire. As more ships arrived, the men were incorporated into the army of Cortes. He ordered Texcoco sacked, the men killed and the women and children enslaved. The battle for Tenochtitlan began in June 1521; Alvarado's men captured Tlatelolco in July; and Cuauhtemoc became a vassal in August. Cortes took over the Mexica empire and began exacting tribute and sending out forces to conquer outlying areas. When Tapia arrived as governor of New Spain, he was expelled. Emperor Carlos V recognized Cortes as governor in 1522. Cortes promulgated laws for New Spain in 1524, and no encomendero was allowed more than 300 Indians. The first Franciscans arrived, and in seven years they destroyed five hundred temples and twenty thousand images. Cortes was exiled and went to Spain to appeal in 1528.
The corrupt and cruel Guzman plundered northern Mexico, but a 1530 royal decree tried to stop the enslaving of natives. Guadalupe became a shrine to the Virgin, and Augustinians and Dominicans converted millions. Cortes sent Montejo to subjugate Yucatan in a costly war that lasted fourteen years. Viceroy Mendoza allowed 5,000 to be enslaved in the Mixton War 1540-42. Viceroy Velasco (r. 1550-64) developed public education, and many slaves were emancipated in 1551. Franciscans had convents and churches built by native labor without paying them. Relatives of Cortes and the Gonzales brothers tried to overthrow the next viceroy but failed, and Enriquez became viceroy in 1568. Ibarra spent thirteen years brutally conquering the northwest by 1575. The Inquisition began prosecuting heretics in 1574. Two million natives died from the matlazahuatl plague.
Oviedo implemented reforms in Darien until Panama governor Pedrarias had him arrested. In 1521 Pedro de Alvarado invaded Guatemala with 420 soldiers and 20,000 natives, killing about four million people in the next twenty years. New Laws tried to reform the encomiendas in Central America in 1542, but they were repealed three years later. Dr. Quesada brought some reforms to Guatemala in 1555. Española, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, and Cuba imported 2,600 African slaves in 1523, but slaves rebelled in Puerto Rico in 1527. Española imported 30,000 slaves by 1540. After Soto left in 1539, natives and slaves rebelled in Cuba.
In 1528 Narvaez explored Florida with 400 men, but the expedition was a failure. Cabeza de Vaca and the African Estevanico survived as slaves, escaped, and were accepted as medicine men before going to Mexico after many years. Coronado went looking for cities of gold among the Zunis and Hopis and as far north as Kansas without success. Hernando de Soto led an expedition with about six hundred soldiers that explored from Florida to west of the Mississippi River, where he died in 1542. Later travelers observed that most of the Coosa, Apalachees, Timucuans, and Calusas had been devastated by diseases. Menendez led a thousand men and five hundred slaves to St. Augustine in 1565, and they slaughtered most of the French Protestants at Fort Caroline.
In 1532 Francisco Pizarro invaded the Inca empire with 168 men and 62 horses. Emperor Atahualpa provided hospitality at Cajamarca; but he was treacherously captured as the Spaniards killed 7,000 Incas. He had a room filled with gold for Pizarro, who was reinforced by Almagro and had Atahualpa put to death. Pizarro went to Cuzco, where he collected much silver, and he founded Lima on the coast in 1535. Carlos V assigned northern Peru to Pizarro and the south to Almagro. The Inca leader Manco was abused and organized a rebellion in 1536 with more than 100,000 warriors, who besieged 190 Spaniards at Cuzco. Spaniards sent more soldiers from Central America. Almagro returned from a disastrous expedition to Chile, and in 1537 he took over Cuzco from the Pizarrists. In 1538 Hernando Pizarro defeated and executed Almagro. Gonzalo Pizarro fought in the north and governed Quito. He explored the east, and Orellana sailed all the way down the Amazon River. Almagrists assassinated Francisco Pizarro at Lima in 1541, but they were defeated by the army of Alonso de Alvarado the next year. Peru had 480 encomenderos who also resisted the New Laws of 1542. Gonzalo Pizarro overthrew Viceroy Velez in 1544. Gasca was appointed governor, and he defeated and executed Gonzalo Pizarro in 1548, giving the encomiendas to his supporters. Laws began discriminating against mestizos in 1549.
Indians working in the mines of Peru provided King Carlos with 1,500,000 pesos a year. An ecclesiastical council in 1567 suppressed native drinking, incest, and witchcraft, and the Inquisition came to Lima in 1570. Viceroy Toledo governed Peru 1569-82. He organized forced labor in 1574 and had the last Inca king Tupac Amaru executed. Toledo had 1,500,000 natives moved from small villages to larger towns. In a half century the Spanish conquest and European diseases reduced the Andes population from nine million to less than two million while Spaniards took 185,000 kilograms of gold and 16,000,000 kilograms of silver from Peru.
Spaniards began moving into what became New Granada (Colombia and Venezuela) after Bastidas founded a town in 1525. Jiménez de Quesada conquered the Chibcha capital at Bacata (Bogota) in 1538. Carlos V appointed him marshal of New Granada and Belalcazar governor of Popayan. Jiménez repelled an attack from Venezuela in 1561. He searched for the mythical El Dorado and conquered the Guali Indians before dying of leprosy in 1579. Efforts to find gold and settle in Venezuela met much native resistance.
The Araucanians fought the Spaniards who invaded Chile. Valdivia founded Santiago in 1541, but he was defeated and killed in the Araucanian rebellion of 1553. Ercilla wrote the epic poem La Araucana about the war. Pedro de Mendoza began colonizing the Rio de la Plata in 1535. Irala moved settlers to Asuncion in 1539, and in 1545 he led an expedition that killed two thousand natives and enslaved 12,000. He assigned natives to encomenderos and governed Paraguay until he died in 1556.
Bartolomé de Las Casas became a priest in 1507 at Rome
and an encomendero on Española two years later. He owned
slaves but came to realize it was wrong and spent the rest of
his life working and writing to bring about reforms in colonial
policies. In 1516 Las Casas was appointed Protector of the Indians.
His peaceful mission to Venezuela in 1521 failed for lack of support.
He was prior at a monastery on Española. In 1537 he experimented
again by attempting to turn strife in Guatemala to peace, and
Vera Paz was more successful. He went to Spain and helped Dominicans
to persuade Carlos V to stop granting encomiendas in 1542.
His radical reforms and ideas of repentance were resented by many
colonists, and in 1547 he left America. In 1550 he debated the
royal chaplain Juan Ginés de Sepulveda, who defended slavery
and Spanish superiority. Las Casas wrote extensive histories of
the Spanish colonies detailing the exploitation, atrocities, and
destruction of the conquest. Other treatises gave philosophical
arguments for treating the natives peacefully and with respect
for their freedom and justice.
Arias de Saavedra governed Rio de la Plata three times between 1597 and 1618, facilitating the Jesuits coming in 1608. Bishop Trejo of Tucuman founded a Jesuit college at Cordoba in 1612. The Jesuits introduced printing in 1703. Antequera was supported by the comuneros and challenged royal authority. He investigated Governor Balmaceda of Paraguay in 1721 and expelled the Jesuits from Asuncion. Viceroy Armendariz imprisoned Antequera in Lima, and after a revolt led by his friend Mompo in 1730, Antequera was executed. Jesuits supported the royalists, and Governor Ruiloba was killed in a civil war in 1733; but troops defeated the comuneros, and the Jesuits regained their influence.
In spite of epidemics in Peru, silver mining increased the population of Potosi to 150,000 by 1600. In the next century their annual income from silver decreased from seven million pesos to less than two million. The Spaniards made one-sixth of the men labor in rotations. By 1746 Lima had increased to 60,000 people.
Luis de Valdivia came to Chile with the first Jesuits in 1593. Peru established an army on the Chile frontier in 1603 and allowed enslavement of rebel Indians in 1608. Valdivia persuaded Felipe III in 1612 to adopt defensive warfare, limit Indian labor, abolish encomiendas, and make the Biobio River the boundary so that Araucanians could live south of there. In 1626 Felipe IV ended the defensive policy; hundreds of Spaniards were killed as the army took prisoners and sold them as slaves. Pineda was captured by the Araucanians in 1629 and wrote Happy Captivity, condemning the encomienda system. Governors Acuña, Meneses, and Henriquez were corrupt. The Spaniards' relations with the natives gradually improved, but Governor Salamanca illegally drafted their labor and provoked an Araucanian revolt in 1723. Conde de Superunda made a peace treaty with caciques in 1738.
In New Granada (Colombia, Venezuela, and after 1717 Ecuador) encomienda exploitation of native labor caused overwork and rebellion, which with European diseases wiped out 95 percent of the natives in a century. Miners then imported African slaves. The Inquisition came to Cartagena in 1610 and punished 762 people. Drake raided Cartagena in 1586 and Santa Marta in 1596. Buccaneers came inland to sack Caracas in 1680. A seminary in Caracas became a university in 1725, and the Caracas Company was given a trade monopoly in 1728. The first printing press came to Bogota in 1738. Vernon led an English fleet of 51 warships and 28,000 men against Cartagena in 1741, but they lost 18,000 men from warfare and disease.
Franciscans and Dominicans flourished in Guatemala, but Itzas and others in the central region resisted. Planters exploited native labor; Honduras had gold and silver mines; and cattle ranching spread along the Pacific coast of Central America. Vetancur founded the Bethlehemites, and Costa Rica governor Maldonado gave up his sword and got the order sanctioned by Pope Innocent XI in 1681. Mixed natives and Africans called zambos lived on the Mosquito Coast and became a resource for buccaneers. In 1668 Morgan and his pirates plundered several places in Panama and came back again two years later, killing 600 Spaniards, capturing as many, and taking 4,500,000 pesos worth of booty. In 1678 a Dominican college became the University of San Carlos Borromeo in Santiago, Guatemala. In 1698-1700 two colonial expeditions from Scotland to Panama failed. In the 18th century the English exported increasing amounts of logwood and mahogany from Belize.
The native population of Mexico was reduced from about 25 million in 1519 to about one million. New Spain was giving Felipe II 2,500,000 ducats annually in the 1590s. The Inquisition punished thousands, and Franciscans had 712 monasteries. Sexual morality was much stricter for women than men. African slaves were imported, and they revolted at Veracruz in 1609. Viceroy Gelves began implementing numerous reforms in 1621; but his eliminating corruption and privileges made enemies, and Archbishop Serna excommunicated him in 1624. In 1633 the Crown abolished labor exploitation of natives except in mining. By 1650 New Spain had about 120,000 Africans. Mexico dedicated the largest cathedral in the world in 1667. Juana Inés (1651-95) was born in Mexico and became an intellectual prodigy with her poetry, plays, science, and philosophy. She lived in a convent and advocated education for women. Laws were published in four volumes in 1681. When war began in 1689, French subjects were imprisoned in Mexico City. The high price of grain led to a riot and looting in 1692. Viceroy Albuquerque (1702-11) tried to clean up the corruption in the courts that favored the wealthy. In New Galicia the government used a monopoly on mercury to control silver mining for the wealthy. Viceroy Casafuerte (1722-34) abolished the practice of selling offices. Gaceta de Mexico was founded in 1722 and had a monopoly on political news.
Oñate explored the New Mexico area and was appointed governor in 1602; but he treated the natives badly and was replaced for mismanagement in 1608. Spanish law allowed mine owners to use force in recruiting non-Christian Indians, and the exploitation caused many conflicts in northern Mexico. Tepehuans revolted in 1616 and were suppressed by 1618. Jesuits claimed they baptized 300,000 people and had 35 missions in Sinaloa and Sonora by 1645. Popé led a revival of native religion, and he was tried at Santa Fe with others in 1675. Five years later he led a widespread uprising of Tanos, Pueblos, Tewas, and Tiwas that killed missionaries and colonists. The Spaniards did not reconquer the region until 1692. Diego de Vargas tried to get rebels to submit by peaceful means, but he had seventy surrendering warriors shot. A rebellion in Upper Tarahumara that broke out in 1696 lasted two years. The Jesuit missionary Kino worked with the Upper Pimas for 25 years until his death in 1711. The Hopis refused to give up their religion. Apache Navajos were defeated in 1713. Conflict came to Alamos and Sonora with the miners in the 1730s, and thousands were killed.
Governors Chavez de Osorio (1628-36) and Biamonte (1636-44) of Española controlled defense industries to become rich. Governor Guzman of Puerto Rico began granting asylum to slaves in 1664, and from 1683 the English occupied Vieques to catch fugitives and for contraband trading. In 1708 a Spanish royal decree enabled slaves to purchase their freedom, and most of the freed Africans in the West Indies were in Puerto Rico and Cuba. In 1723 Cuba got a printing press, and Dominicans began a university at Havana in 1728. The Royal Commerce Company formed in 1740 to control all imports and exports.
In 1500 the Portuguese captain Cabral discovered South America by accident on his way to India. The Portuguese began exporting its brazilwood. Pernambuco became the most prosperous Portuguese colony in Brazil. The French began trading there, but in 1526 King Joao III sent Christovao Jacques with a fleet that sank three ships from Brittany at Bahia. In 1545 natives wiped out Bahia and the next year Sao Tomé. Sao Vicente had six sugar cane factories and six hundred colonists, who owned 3,000 slaves. In 1549 Tomé de Sousa was appointed the first royal governor with a thousand settlers at Salvador in Bahia. Nobrega led the first Jesuits in America. Sardinha became the first bishop of Brazil in 1552, but the Caeté killed and ate him in 1556. Nobrega wrote Conversion of the Heathen and founded a community in 1559 that 34,000 natives joined. Villegagnon brought six hundred French colonists to Guanabara Bay (Rio de Janeiro) in 1555, but Governor Mem Sa (r. 1558-72) drove them out in 1560. European diseases devastated the natives. More than a thousand African slaves had been imported by 1570, when King Sebastian tried to limit enslavement of natives; but the law was revoked four years later. Sebastian limited trade to the Portuguese and exempted Brazil's sugar from import duties to stimulate colonization.
Sugar replaced brazilwood in the 1580s as the major industry in Brazil, and by 1600 about 14,000 African slaves made up 70% of the plantation workers. Bandeiras raided slaves in the jungle during the first half of the 17th century while the Dutch blocked the slave trade from Angola. Jesuits opposing ill treatment of natives were driven out of Sao Paulo but came back in 1653. The Dutch West India Company began trading in America in 1621, and from 1624 until 1654 the Dutch fought the Portuguese for control of Brazil. Maurits governed at Pernambuco 1637-44 and tolerated Jews and Catholics. Portugal's Joao IV began fighting the Spanish for independence in 1640. He made an alliance with the Dutch but secretly aided the revolt in Brazil against the Dutch. When the Dutch surrendered Recife in 1654, most of the Jews left.
Antonio Vieira (1608-97) was a popular preacher and a missionary who communicated with the Indians and Africans in their own languages. He preached against slavery and oppression while working with Joao IV for reforms. He was expelled in 1661 and was imprisoned by the Inquisition but returned in 1681 to do more missionary work. Barbalho led a tax revolt in Rio de Janeiro, but he was executed in 1661. Portugal made a treaty with the Dutch in 1662 and with Spain in 1668, opening up trade. Inland settlers and cattle ranchers continued to oppress the natives. Zumbi led a revolt by former African slaves living at Palmares from 1673 to 1695.
The discovery of gold in Brazil led to increased mining during the first half of the 18th century, and the Crown attempted to take a fifth. An average of 30,000 African slaves per year were imported into Bahia and Rio de Janeiro. Civil strife broke out in Rio de Janeiro in 1709 and in Recife the next year, and 1711 the French captured Rio and collected ransoms. Battles with the inland Tapuia tribes went on, and the rebel chief Mandu Ladino was killed in 1719. The Paiagua killed 200 gold miners in 1725 and nearly 400 in 1730. An army killed 600 Paiagua in 1734, but the Paiagua attacked a convoy again the next year. Minas Gerais governor Almeida began regulating diamond mining in 1730.
On the continent north of Mexico probably less than ten million people were spread out in villages, living tribally, hunting, fishing, and gathering food with some farming. The Huron Deganawidah taught the ways of peace. About 1450 CE the Mohawk sachem Hiawatha took his ideas to the five nations that the French later named the Iroquois, and they formed a confederation. The Iroquois lived communally in long houses, and the women were very influential in governing. When Europeans began arriving about 1600, the Iroquois were using their alliance to subjugate other tribes. The Mohawks especially got fire-arms from the Dutch and English. Mohawks attacked the Mahicans in 1624 and fought them for four years.
Cartier explored the St. Lawrence River in 1534. King François authorized French colonization in 1541, but efforts to find gold or diamonds failed. France formed the Canada Company in 1602. Champlain began a colony at Quebec in 1608, and he formed an alliance with the Algonquins and Hurons to fight the Mohawks. The French and Dutch took beaver furs to make felt hats for Europeans. Jesuits began arriving in 1611. Two years later Samuel Argall sailed from Virginia, captured French colonists, and returned to destroy Port Royal and Sainte Croix. In 1621 Viceroy Montmorency gave the De Caen Company exclusive trading rights, but in 1627 Richelieu started the Company of the Hundred Associates. In 1624 Champlain made peace with the Iroquois. The English attacked French colonies from 1628 until a treaty was made in 1632. Champlain prohibited the French from giving the Indians brandy and died in 1635. Montmagny became the first governor of Canada, and Jesuit reports encouraged colonization.
In Acadia in a conflict with Menou d'Aulnay, Charles La Tour
turned to the English as allies; but after much intrigue and fighting
the 1667 Treaty of Breda gave Acadia back to France. In 1644 the
Mohawks got guns and ammunition from the Dutch, and they went
to war with the French, Algonquins, and Hurons. The governing
Council of Quebec was formed in 1647. Governor Stuyvesant sold
the Mohawks four hundred more guns in 1648. Mohawks began a long
war against the Susquehannocks in 1652. Most of the Iroquois made
peace with the French in 1653, but in their war with the Hurons
the Mohawks killed about 1,500 and captured about 2,000. The Mohawks
destroyed the Eries in 1656. An Iroquois attack on Quebec was
blocked in 1660, and Senecas and Onondagas made peace in 1661.
In February 1663 Louis XIV took over the Company of the Hundred
After Henry Hudson's explorations, the New Netherland Company was chartered in 1614. Groenewegen founded Kykoveral on the Essequibo River in Guiana In 1616, and Abraham van Pere settled on the Berbice River in 1627. Sugar was the main industry in Guiana and used many slaves. In 1623 the Dutch and Walloons built Fort Orange by the Hudson River, and some settled on Manhattan Island, which Minuit purchased in 1626 for sixty guilders in trinkets. Kieft began governing autocratically in 1638. Megapolensis wrote about the spiritual ideas of the Mohawks. Despite the peacemaking efforts of De Vries, Kieft went to war with the Indians from 1643 to 1645.
Peter Stuyvesant governed New Netherland 1647-64 during complaints
about the Company's policies. The 1650 Treaty of Hartford established
the border between New Netherland and New England by dividing
Long Island. The next year Stuyvesant blocked English colonists
from going to Delaware, and in 1655 he took over the Swedish colony
there. That year a ship brought slaves from Africa to New Amsterdam,
and Indians were provoked and invaded Manhattan. Stuyvesant went
to war against Esopus Indians in 1660. He persecuted Quakers,
but the Amsterdam directors reprimanded him and recommended religious
tolerance. After trying to organize resistance, in September 1664
Stuyvesant surrendered New Netherland to the English, and it became
Francis Drake raided the West Indies in 1585, and the next year he took the first Roanoke colonists back to England. A second attempt at Roanoke also failed. Jamestown was founded in Virginia in 1607. Pocahontas saved the life of John Smith, and he developed trade with the Powhatans. After a "starving time" the colony got more supplies. In 1611 Thomas Dale imposed strict laws and got the Chickahominies to contribute corn annually. In 1614 Virginia began exporting rapidly increasing amounts of tobacco. Virginia elected an Assembly in 1619, the same year the Dutch sold them twenty Africans. The laws were made more moderate, and new settlers were given fifty acres of land. In 1622 Powhatans and others killed hundreds of colonists, and the war went on for more than two years. English colonists landed at St. Kitts in 1623 and at Barbados in 1625. Harvey governed Virginia (1630-39) autocratically but was eventually replaced. Cecil Calvert was granted a charter for Maryland in 1632 that allowed him to collect rent from the settlers, who had to declare they believed in the trinity.
In 1607 the first attempt by the Plymouth Company to colonize what John Smith later named New England did not succeed. In 1620 William Brewster led 41 pilgrims fleeing religious persecution to Cape Cod, and in November they signed the Mayflower compact. They made a treaty that Wampanoag chief Massasoit kept for forty years, and they celebrated thanksgiving together annually in October. William Bradford was elected governor thirty times in 35 years, and only two people were executed. A new colony at Wessagusset did not get along with the Massachusetts and failed in 1623. In 1626 the pilgrims agreed to buy out the stockholders with a mortgage. The Puritans resented Thomas Morton's Mare Mount colony for frolicking with the Indians and selling them weapons, and he was deported. Allerton borrowed money for Plymouth at high interest and became rich, and others did not pay off the debt until 1648. Freemen elected representatives in 1639.
In 1628 John Endecott began a colony that was called Salem. John Winthrop was a government attorney in England but lost his position because he was a Puritan. He and eleven others formed the Massachusetts Bay Company, and he sailed with four hundred colonists to New England in 1630, suggesting "A Model of Christian Charity." About two hundred people died of disease the first year, but by 1643 some 16,000 people had emigrated to Massachusetts. Winthrop was chosen governor, and he argued that they could "lawfully" take land from the Indians. Only members of a Congregationalist church who were freemen could vote. Anyone not attending church could be fined. Roger Williams taught in Salem and was banished in January 1636. The popular teacher Anne Hutchinson was tried by the General Court and her church and was expelled by both for her independent views. Harvard College graduated its first nine students in 1642. When Massachusetts annexed New Hampshire that year, they did not require its deputies to be church members.
Colonization of the Connecticut River valley provoked the Pequot War in 1636, but the diplomacy of Roger Williams gained the Narragansetts as allies. In 1638 New Haven and Hartford elected governments. Williams fled from Massachusetts in January 1636 and took refuge with the sachem Canonicus. Plymouth leaders did not want him either, and so he founded Providence. Williams, the Hutchinsons, and William Coddington established Rhode Island in March 1638, and a government was elected three years later, protecting freedom of conscience.
In 1643 the colonies of Massachusetts, Plymouth, Connecticut, and New Haven formed the Confederation of New England. That year Mohegans led by Uncas defeated Miantonomo's Narragansetts. When Chief Pessicus led a Narragansett invasion into Mohegan territory in 1646, Connecticut, New Haven, and Plymouth went to war against the Narragansetts; but Massachusetts refused to support an offensive war, and Rhode Island was neutral. In 1647 Massachusetts began requiring schools. Massachusetts took control of Maine in 1651. William Pynchon, who founded Springfield, criticized Puritan intolerance in The Meritorious Price. Donations from England sponsored the missionary work with Indians by Thomas Mayhew on Martha's Vineyard and by John Eliot, who founded Natick for Christian Indians and translated and printed the Bible in Algonquian. Massachusetts punished more than a hundred people for being Quakers, hanging four. John Winthrop Jr. was a popular governor of Connecticut, but his company took Narragansett land.
Roger Williams wrote a book on American Indians and another opposing persecution for religious beliefs. Samuel Gorton practiced and taught a libertarian spirituality and gained followers in Rhode Island. Williams went to London and prevented Coddington from taking over Rhode Island. Williams was elected president of Rhode Island in 1654, and he enforced the laws against rioting.
The English Civil War caused conflicts in Maryland, but in 1649 Baltimore disavowed allegiance to Charles II. That year the Maryland Assembly passed the "Act Concerning Religion" that protected conscience and the free exercise of religion. Protestant governor William Stone agreed to obey the English Commonwealth, but Bennett and Claiborne seized the government in 1652 and won a civil war with help from Protestants in 1654. Cromwell and Baltimore agreed, both wanting peace. After negotiations with the Puritans, Charles Calvert was appointed governor of Maryland in 1661.
Virginia's Governor William Berkeley (1642-52) supported the King, and all ministers had to conform to the Church of England. In 1652 the House of Burgesses disbanded his army and took over the government of Virginia. They allowed free trade and improved relations with the Indians. In 1660 Berkeley was elected governor and regained control; separatists were punished and banished.
The British Navigation Ordinance of 1651 led to a war with the Dutch the next year. Governor Willoughby of Barbados backed the first successful English colony to Guiana in 1651. The next year the Charter of Barbados provided an elected assembly to control taxes. English forces led by Admiral Penn invaded Jamaica in 1655, and the Spaniards were driven out by 1660.
Louis XIV appointed the governors and the council of New France. Viceroy Tracy had five forts built along the Richelieu River to Lake Champlain. He fought the Mohawks but made peace with the Iroquois League in 1667. The Iroquois subjugated the territory between the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence and Ottawa rivers by 1670, but disease had reduced their population to about 10,000. France sent young women to increase the population of Canada. Intendant Talon administered the economy and made money. Frontenac (1672-82) governed Canada and controlled the fur trade. Laval became the first bishop of Quebec. Jolliet and Marquette explored the Mississippi River in 1673. La Salle supported Frontenac and won over the Illinois and Miamis in the west. La Salle led an expedition that went down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico in 1682; but his attempt to found a colony in Louisiana failed, and he was murdered in 1687. Quebec governor La Barre avoided a war between the Illinois and the Senecas but was recalled. Denonville strengthened Canada's forts, and in 1687 he went to war against the Iroquois nations. Smallpox and measles killed colonists as well as natives. Lacking troops, Denonville made peace the next year, and the fur trade revived.
Frontenac returned as governor in 1689 during war with England, and the next year he fought off the attack led by Phips against Quebec. La Hontan wrote New Voyages to North-America, praising the Hurons. In Acadia the Jesuits converted Abenakis, who attacked English settlers. Because of surplus beaver furs, in 1696 Louis XIV canceled permits. He sent Le Moyne d'Iberville with five ships to attack the English in Hudson Bay. In the Treaty of Ryswick in 1697 France and England confirmed previous territory. Mohawks lost more than half their warriors in this war. In the summer of 1701 many native tribes made a treaty with the French at Montreal. That year Cadillac founded Detroit, and in 1710 he became governor of Louisiana. The Iroquois let the Hurons, Ottawas, and Miamis trade with the English at Albany. France and England were at war again 1702-13. Governor Callieres urged western Indians to attack English settlers, and Governor Philippe Rigaud de Vaudreuil (1703-25) sent troops against New England. The Iroquois tried to stay neutral. In the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht the French ceded Newfoundland, Acadia, and Hudson Bay to England.
In 1714 Intendant Bégon exploited a monopoly on wheat sales. French soldiers defeated the hostile Outagamies in 1716. Canada had few slaves, some Catholic schools and hospitals, no newspapers, and only one printing press. Those who married Indians tended to live with the tribe because of social prejudice. In 1720 John Law's company caused a financial bubble, but the low interest rates enabled many people to pay off their debts. Bourgmont developed relations with Missouris, Osages, and Comanches. The French began arming Abenakis in Acadia in 1719, and in 1724 the English killed the Jesuit Rale. For the next twenty years the French and English had more peaceful relations. Intendant Hocquart did not use his position for personal profit. Governor Beauharnois (1726-46) sent forces that nearly exterminated the Outagamies in 1734. La Vérendrye and his four sons tried to find a route to the Pacific Ocean, but they were blocked by the Rocky Mountains. France and England came into conflict again and declared war in 1744.
Starting in 1699 Iberville founded colonies at Biloxi, Mobile, and Dauphin Island in Louisiana, and in the war he captured thirty English ships. His brother Bienville governed Louisiana 1701-13, 1718-26, and 1733-41. In 1712 Louis XIV granted Crozat a monopoly on trade in Louisiana that lasted five years. Louisiana began importing thousands of African slaves in 1719. Bienville paid Choctaws for Chickasaw scalps. John Law's schemes financed investment in Louisiana. In 1724 Louisiana excluded Jews and Protestants, and the Code Noir regulated slavery. The Natchez had advanced agriculture, but Bienville attacked them in 1723. After the Natchez killed 236 French in 1729, the French with Choctaw allies defeated them. Some Natchez found refuge with Chickasaws, who were defeated by Choctaws. In 1731 Louisiana became a royal colony and was exempted from commercial duties. Bienville attacked the Chickasaws in 1736 and 1739 but had to cede them land the next year.
The French had trouble founding a colony at Cayenne in Guiana
and did not secure it until 1664. The French gained control of
western Española and named it St. Domingue in 1659. Major
slave revolts broke out in 1679 and 1697. Louis XIV issued the
Code Noir in 1685, severely restricting African slaves while regulating
the owners' treatment. The French extended St. Domingue until
the border was fixed in 1731.
New Haven became part of Connecticut in 1664, but the New England confederation continued with three members. Massachusetts ignored the English Navigation Act of 1660. Land was disputed, and Indians were confined to areas where they could be controlled. The English pressured the Wampanoag sachem Metacom (King Philip) to give them his weapons. Plymouth learned that the Narragansetts were making weapons, and their court made Metacom surrender his arms in 1671. Many Indians resented what missionaries and other colonists imposed on them. After some murders and executions, the Wampanoag uprising led by Metacom began in June 1675. The colonists mobilized, and in September the Commissioners called for a thousand men. Rhode Island only fought defensively and was attacked. New York gave guns to the Mohawks, who kept their enemy Algonquin tribes from moving west. After Metacom was killed on August 12, 1676 most Indians fled or surrendered. The war cost the three New England colonies £80,000, and their debts rose to equal their assets. About six hundred English were killed and more than three thousand Indians.
In 1676 the English Lords of Trade sent Edward Randolph to investigate the New England colonies, but juries in Massachusetts decided against his seizures of ships. New Hampshire was recognized as a royal province in 1679, but the next year the Assembly asserted the right to make their own laws. Cranfield tried to govern New Hampshire for Mason, but he was removed in 1684. That September the United Colonies of New England held their last meeting, and the next month the Massachusetts charter was judged forfeited. Andros was appointed governor of the New England Dominion in 1686 and suspended legal titles and rights, but after the English revolution he and Randolph were arrested in Boston in April 1689. Rhode Island and Connecticut reinstated their elected governments in May, and Massachusetts revived its laws in June. William Phips led the invasion of Acadia and Quebec in 1690. William III appointed him governor of Massachusetts, but the King let Increase Mather choose the first Council, which after that was elected by the Assembly.
In 1692 several girls in Salem complained they were being afflicted by witches, and the ensuing trials resulted in fourteen women and five men being hanged. Increase Mather criticized the evidence, but his son Cotton Mather defended the prosecutions with some reservations. Eventually Governor Phips intervened to stop the executions, and some came to realize that the "afflicted" girls were acting more like witches than those they accused. The convicted had their names cleared, and compensation for confiscated property was paid in 1710.
The new Board of Trade tried to impose mercantile policies with the Navigation Act in 1696 and the Woolen Act of 1699. In 1704 the weekly Boston News-Letter became North America's first successful newspaper, and towns were required to provide schools. Boston slave traders imported most of the Africans for New England and Virginia. In 1700 Samuel Sewall criticized slavery in his pamphlet The Selling of Joseph. To discourage slavery in 1705 the Assembly raised the duty on imported Africans to £4, and in 1712 they banned the importation of Indian slaves. Joseph Dudley governed Massachusetts and New Hampshire from 1702 to 1715. The war with France was expensive, but the 1713 treaty recognized English occupation of Newfoundland, Acadia (Nova Scotia), and Hudson Bay. In the 1720s conflicts with Abenakis, Micmacs, and Pequawkets taught Massachusetts to provide responsible and fair trade with the Indians. Governor Belcher (1730-41) managed to reduce the colony's debt from £311,000 to £205,000.
Cotton Mather tried hard to live piously and wrote a long religious history of New England, the ethical Essays to Do Good, and blended science with religion in his Christian Philosopher. Both Mather and his rival John Wise supported inoculation for smallpox in 1721. Wise had led the tax resistance against the tyranny of Andros in 1687, and he opposed Mather's 1705 Proposals to suppress innovation in churches. Wise published A Vindication of the Government of New-England Churches in 1717. In this work he explained the philosophy of democratic government with human freedom and equality.
In Rhode Island the Quaker governor Walter Clarke refused to obey the authority of Phips over their militia. Clarke's nephew Samuel Cranston was annually elected and governed Rhode Island 1698-1727. Rhode Island sent ships and men for the invasions of Acadia and Canada, and they used paper money to stimulate their economy. Replacing primogeniture with equal inheritance brought social changes.
Connecticut also refused to submit to the commands of Governor Phips and Governor Fletcher of New York. The Assembly began supporting schoolmaster's salaries in 1699. Saltonstall was an ordained minister but governed Connecticut 1707-24. A college was started at Saybrook in 1701 and moved to New Haven in 1717; the next year it was named after Elihu Yale, who donated books. Tax exemption was extended to the Church of England, Quakers, and Baptists, but taxes still supported Congregational ministers.
Jonathan Edwards (1703-58) helped inspire a great revival and became the most influential Puritan theologian. His sermons began a revival in 1734, and in 1737 he described the conversion process in A Faithful Narrative of the Surprising Work of God. In 1740 George Whitefield preached to large crowds, and hundreds of people became much more religious. Some, such as James Davenport, believed they could tell the truly converted ministers from the hypocrites, but he was expelled from Connecticut in 1742 as insane. That year Edwards wrote a book about the revival, but the Boston pastor Charles Chauncey countered with writings emphasizing the importance of reason and sound judgment. Even Edwards admitted that the revival was "dead" by 1744. Edwards emphasized love and wrote about religious affections. He accepted Calvin's idea of predestination and opposed the Arminian doctrine of free will. In a work on virtue he argued that humans can rise above self-love by loving God and others.
In 1664 Charles II granted New Netherland to his brother James, and it was renamed New York. James appointed Col. Nicolls deputy governor. He made Carr give back confiscated goods in Delaware. Although autocratic, Nicolls governed with such justice and tolerance for the Dutch that he was honored when he retired in 1668. Governor Lovelace (1668-74) gave Manhattan merchants a monopoly on Hudson River trade. The Dutch invaded New York in August 1673 with 1,600 men and took over Fort James, but they gave it back by the Treaty of Westminster in February 1674. Charles II again granted the territory to James, who appointed Major Edmund Andros governor. He required all import and export duties to be paid in New York City, increasing its trade tenfold. James appointed Col. Dongan as governor in 1683 and instructed him to choose a Council and summon a General Assembly of all freeholders. They established an elected Assembly with an English majority, but James disallowed the liberal laws when he became king in 1685.
Andros became governor again under the Dominion of New England in 1688. When he was arrested in Boston in April 1689, Captain Jacob Leisler led a rebellion that took over the government of New York. He sent a force under Milborne to defend Albany from an attack by the French and Indians. Leisler supported the working class, and some merchants tried to kill him. In 1690 King William commissioned Col. Sloughter as governor with a Council of wealthy oligarchs, and they replaced the Leisler regime in March 1691. Leisler and Milborne were executed. Governor Fletcher (1692-97) had authority over the militias of Connecticut and the Jerseys. In 1693 taxes supported Anglican ministers, though the Dutch Reformed Church was exempted in 1696. Fletcher was accused of favoring pirates and embezzling funds. New York banned Catholic priests in 1700. After Governor Bellomont died in 1701, Leislerians influenced the government until Governor Cornbury arrived in May 1702 and restored the status quo. Cornbury promoted Anglicans and was also accused of embezzling. After losing ships to the French, New York engaged in privateering during Queen Anne's War. Whigs replaced Cornbury.
Governor Hunter (1710-19) suppressed dissent, and a slave rebellion
was crushed in 1712. Jews could be naturalized in 1718. Large
numbers of Scots and Irish Catholics immigrated. Burnet governed
New York 1720-28, but his trade policy was opposed by the De Lanceys
and other powerful families. The Assembly rewarded Governor Cosby
for opposing the Molasses Act of 1733. John Peter Zenger began
publishing the Weekly Journal, and in November 1734 he
was arrested for accusing the governor of corruption. Andrew Hamilton
defended him so brilliantly that the jury nullified the judge's
instructions and acquitted him in a landmark case for freedom
of the press.
In 1664 James, Duke of York, granted New Jersey to his friends
John Berkeley and George Carteret as a proprietary colony, and
they offered free rent to attract colonists. In 1668 Governor
Philip Carteret summoned the first assembly. In 1674 Berkeley
sold his proprietary rights to the Quakers Byllynge and Fenwick.
Carteret retained the northeastern half of New Jersey, and Quaker
trustees controlled West Jersey property until 1683. The latter
protected religious freedom, but they also had land disputes.
By 1680 the Duke gave up his claims. When George Carteret died
in 1680, Quakers led by William Penn bought East Jersey at auction
for £3,400. When Byllynge died in 1687, Dr. Coxe bought
his proprietary rights and became governor of West Jersey the
next year. In 1688 New Jersey came under the Dominion of New England.
Dr. Coxe sold his holdings in both Jerseys to London businessmen
in 1692 for £9,800, and they made Andrew Hamilton governor
of East Jersey. He was removed because of a technicality in 1697,
and after some intrigues was recommissioned as governor of both
Jerseys in 1699. Hamilton had trouble bringing order and appealed
to the King in 1701. The proprietors of both Jerseys offered to
surrender to King William as long as fourteen rights were reserved.
In 1702 Queen Anne accepted, and New Jersey became a unified royal
colony with the annual Assembly meeting alternately at Perth Amboy
and Burlington; but it was under the governor of New York until
1738, when Lewis Morris became governor of New Jersey. The Assembly
kept taxes low by loaning money at reasonable interest rates,
and they supported the war against Spain in 1740.
William Penn became a Quaker, and while imprisoned in London in 1669 for practicing the new religion he wrote No Cross, No Crown and pamphlets on human rights. His father was the admiral who conquered Jamaica in 1655. After his death Charles II granted young William the proprietary colony Pennsylvania in 1681. Many Quakers and some Mennonites found a refuge there. Penn made special efforts to treat the Indians fairly, and the treaties made helped his "holy experiment" to function without a military for more than seventy years. The Assembly was elected by secret ballot. By 1685 Pennsylvania had 8,000 Europeans, but a third were indentured servants.
Deputy Governor Blackwell arrested his critics in 1689, but he went back to Massachusetts the next year. Publisher William Bradford was tried again in 1692. Although the jury was deadlocked, he spent a year in jail and then went to New York. The Assembly refused to organize a militia, and Pennsylvania was put under Governor Fletcher of New York. In 1697 and again in 1701 the Assembly refused to fund Pennsylvania's quota for colonial defense. Penn suggested a European parliament in 1693 to bring about peace through disarmament, and in 1697 he outlined a plan for uniting the American colonies. He explained the loving, simple, and peaceful ways of the conscientious Quakers. Penn supported efforts to stop piracy and illegal trade. In 1701 the Council was made an administrative cabinet, and the Assembly became a unicameral legislature. Penn granted the Charter of Privileges that protected freedom of conscience.
In 1711 Quakers lost control of the Pennsylvania Assembly, which appropriated £2,000 for the expedition against Canada. Penn suffered a debilitating stroke in 1712. When George became king in 1714, Governor Gookin applied the new conformity law that discriminated against Quakers who refused to take oaths. After Penn's death in 1718 the proprietorship passed to his sons. Thousands of Germans and Swiss immigrated and provided a buffer between the pacifists in the east and the Indians in the west. Those following the simplicity of Jacob Ammon were called Amish. Logan was proprietary secretary from 1701 to 1747 and became wealthy developing trade with the Indians in the Susquehanna Valley. He had the largest library in America and let Franklin use it. Conrad Weiser helped the Iroquois dominate the Delawares in Pennsylvania. Indians resented the notorious "Walking Purchase" of 1737 that brought more settlers. Zinzendorf's Moravians founded Bethlehem in 1741. The Pennsylvania Assembly appropriated £5,000 for the war against Spain.
Benjamin Franklin was born and raised in Boston, learning the printing business from his brother James as an apprentice. His Autobiography is still the most popular ever. He spent his spare time reading. At the age of sixteen he secretly wrote a series of satirical articles called Silence Dogood for his brother's newspaper. When James was arrested for criticizing the government, Silence advocated freedom of speech and warned how dangerous hypocrisy in government may be. Franklin moved to Philadelphia in 1723, and he started the Junto discussion group in 1727. When his former boss started a newspaper to beat Franklin to it in 1729, he wrote the entertaining "Busy-Body" about a moral censor for the competitor Andrew Bradford. Within the year Franklin bought The Pennsylvania Gazette. He published a pamphlet arguing that paper currency secured by land improves the economy by lowering interest rates. He explained that money is a medium of exchange that represents labor time.
Franklin believed in a deity who allows humans some freedom
and may reward prayer and good works as providence. In his Autobiography
he described his practical method for improving himself on the
thirteen virtues of temperance, silence, order, resolution, frugality,
industry, sincerity, justice, moderation, cleanliness, tranquility,
chastity, and humility. His son William was born out of wedlock,
and Franklin lived with a common law wife. He advised wives and
husbands how to get along. Threatening bad publicity got him elected
to the Freemasons of Philadelphia. He recommended simplicity in
living, manners, and speech, and he argued against dishonest cunning
as less successful than virtue. He observed that censuring improves
behavior, warned against drunkenness, and doubted self-denial
is a virtue. He avoided theological sermons and learned that criticizing
religious beliefs is often futile. He often used satire to criticize
and influence politicians. Franklin published Poor Richard's Almanac annually from 1733 to 1758 and included his wit and
wisdom with aphoristic brevity.
Maryland passed laws restricting the rights of African slaves,
and Governor George Calvert excluded the poorer classes from voting
in 1670. The Calvert family continued to dominate Maryland, but
an Association to defend the Protestant religion persuaded King
William to make Maryland a royal colony in 1689. Much tobacco
was exported in exchange for food from New England, New York,
and Pennsylvania and for smuggled wine, rum, sugar, molasses,
and salt from the West Indies. Maryland established the Church
of England and discriminated against Catholics. Thomas Bray founded
libraries and promoted missionary work. In 1714 Queen Anne restored
the Calverts as proprietors. By 1720 Maryland had 25,000 slaves.
Charles Calvert became proprietor in 1732 and approved issuing
£90,000 in paper currency for 31 years.
Berkeley governed Virginia again from 1660 to 1677, and he maintained control by allowing the Assembly to continue for fourteen years without an election. The Assembly also limited suffrage in 1670. Virginia suffered a devastating hurricane in 1667 and a plague in 1673. Conflicts with the Indians escalated in 1676 as Susquehannocks were driven south by the war in New England. Berkeley confiscated ammunition from subject Indians and banned the sale of arms to them. In 1676 Nathaniel Bacon attacked friendly Indians and led a rebellion against Governor Berkeley, taking over and burning Jamestown; but after Bacon died of dysentery, the rebellion was crushed by January 1677. Bacon's laws were repealed, and Berkeley was removed in May.
A surplus of tobacco in 1681 led Virginia to reduce production
despite some protests. Governor Effingham supported Catholic James
II and reduced the Assembly's power. King William replaced Effingham,
and Andros became governor of Virginia in 1692. The College of
William and Mary was founded in 1695, and Christopher Wren designed
the buildings. Andros provoked Indian hostility, and he resigned
in 1698. Francis Nicholson's tyrannical ways were also resented,
but by making government more efficient he turned the £4,600
debt to a surplus of £10,000 by 1702. Col. Spotswood restored
the right of habeas corpus and governed Virginia 1710-22. He compensated
Indians and paid Griffin to teach them. Before leaving office
he patented much land for himself and his friends. Tobacco continued
to be the main crop and currency, and in 1730 Governor Gooch (1727-49)
improved the quality with public inspections. In 1733 Virginia
counted 88,000 Europeans and 42,000 Africans. Parks began publishing
the weekly Virginia Gazette in 1736. Governor Gooch sent
troops to help defend Georgia against a Spanish invasion in 1742.
Charles II granted Carolina to eight supporters as a proprietary Coloniy in 1663. Barbadian planters settled at Cape Fear in 1665 but left two years later. Locke wrote the "Fundamental Constitutions" for Carolina in 1669. Charles Town was founded in 1670, and the next year settlers came from Barbados and New York. Joseph West governed well 1674-82. Cardross led Scots to found Stuart's Town, but they attacked Spaniards, who destroyed Stuart's Town in August 1686. Woodward explored the west and developed a lucrative fur trade with the Creeks. By 1690 Carolina had 1,500 African slaves.
Settlers began going to Albemarle in 1653. Conflicts with Carolina proprietors caused revolts and changes in government in Albemarle between 1676 and 1688, when it became known as North Carolina. In 1689 the proprietors commissioned Philip Ludwell to govern northern Carolina, and in 1693 he declared quitrents only a farthing an acre. Conflict arose when one party excluded Quakers by requiring an oath of office. War with the Tuscaroras broke out in 1711, and Charles Town sent Carolinians and Indian allies to help North Carolina defeat them in 1713. Peace was made, and most Tuscaroras migrated to New York and became the sixth nation in the Iroquois confederation. North Carolina became a royal colony in 1729. The Assembly authorized £40,000 in bills of credit. Governor Johnston (1734-52) tried to collect quitrents in silver or in paper currency at the rate of seven to one.
Governor Ludwell lowered quitrents in the south as well as the north in 1693. Joseph Blake governed South Carolina and promoted rights for the non-English and tolerance for all Protestants before he died in 1700. Africans were imported to grow rice, and laws severely restricted slaves. James Moore traded Indian slaves. He replaced the governor, dissolved the Assembly, won a questionable election campaigning for military preparations, and led the attack that burned San Agustin (St. Augustine) in 1702. This ran up the debt, and Moore let Dissenters be beaten. Governor Nathaniel Johnson sent Moore to destroy Spanish missions and attack Indians. Anglicans gained power in South Carolina in 1706 and established the Church of England, though Dissenters won the election of 1707. The English burned Pensacola. Nairne was elected Indian agent and made peace with the Choctaws; but Governor Johnson had him arrested after he prosecuted his son-in-law for enslaving Cherokees. In 1712 the South Carolina Assembly funded education, founded the first land bank in America, and codified the laws. Slave rebellions were put down in 1711 and 1714, and the number of slaves in South Carolina reached 10,000. Abuses by traders and settlers taking their land provoked a war with the Yamasees in 1715; but the Cherokees signed a treaty in 1716, and Chief Brims united the Creeks at Coweta in 1718. Many pirates were executed.
England made South Carolina a royal colony in 1720, and Governor
Francis Nicholson opposed Dissenters. Loss of the naval stores
business to Sweden caused tax rebellion and resistance to arresting
debtors. Whitmarsh founded the South-Carolina Gazette in
1732, and a theater was built in Charles Town in 1736. African
slaves cleared land in the 1730s, and in 1740 rice exports reached
43 million pounds. That year South Carolina had 20,000 Europeans
but 39,000 Africans. A slave rebellion killed thirty Europeans
in 1739, and new laws regulated treatment of slaves while restricting
their rights. Priber experimented with communal living among the
Cherokees, but in 1743 Georgia authorities imprisoned him for
life. South Carolina authorized £119,000 for the war against
Swiss settlers founded Purrysburg on the north side of the
Savannah River in 1732. That year George II granted trustees a
non-profit charter for Georgia as a colony to help the poor. Parliament
contributed £10,000, and James Oglethorpe with a hundred
colonists settled south of the Savannah River in February 1733.
They developed good trading relationships with the Creeks and
others. Oglethorpe went to England and got the Parliament to prohibit
the importation of slaves and liquor. Trustees sent more than
a thousand indentured servants. Lutherans developed silk production,
and Moravians settled in Georgia but moved to Pennsylvania because
of the war with Spain. Whitefield replaced the Wesleys in 1738
and raised money for Bethesda Orphanage with his popular preaching.
A Spanish fleet attacked St. Simons Island, and 4,000 Spaniards
marched on Frederica in July 1742; but they left after burning
Fort St. Simon. The prohibition of alcohol was repealed in 1742,
and efforts to allow slavery caused Oglethorpe to abandon Georgia
After buccaneering, Henry Morgan became lieutenant governor of Jamaica in 1674. Governor Stapleton (1672-85) convened an assembly of the Leeward Islands with two representatives from Antigua, Montserrat, Nevis, and St. Kitts. Slaves on Jamaica revolted in 1685 and 1690, and in 1698 Barbados had eighteen slaves for every European male. The 1713 Treaty of Utrecht gave the British a monopoly to supply 144,000 slaves to the West Indies. Between 1716 and 1726 the British executed about five hundred pirates and killed more than a thousand in battles. Woodes Rogers governed the Bahamas 1718-32. In 1722 the weekly Jamaica Courant began publishing. The Barbados Gazette was started in 1731, and two years later Barbados and the Leeward Islands persuaded the British Parliament to impose a heavy duty on foreign sugar, molasses, and rum imported to the northern colonies.
Because the human species evolved in Africa and spread around the world from there, the number that reached the American continents across the northern bridge from Asia or by ships across wide oceans was naturally much smaller than the civilizations that developed in the Middle East, India, China, and Europe. These cultures also had the advantage of learning from each other's discoveries. Thus cultural evolution in America was much more isolated and slower, especially in regard to technology. Most of the scattered peoples in North and South America remained as hunters and gatherers because the resources of the land enabled their smaller numbers to do so. Yet these indigenous tribes were able to refine their ethics and learn how to live in harmony with nature. Though they surely must have had their conflicts, they probably avoided the massive violence and injustice of war and imperialism that tend to infect the urban cultures that develop more specialized social and political functions.
In central America and the Andes Mountains cities eventually developed with the consequent pressure to exploit natural resources and engage in imperialistic wars to do so or face possible collapse in a deteriorating environment. The competition and clash of cities also stimulated humans to develop political skills and institutions in order to handle such interactions without destroying each other. America had much less of this experience before the fifteenth century.
People settled down to grow maize (corn) and beans, which enabled the Mayans to build cities, specialize labor, develop religious institutions, and even play sports. The conflicts that developed after they built cities in the third century CE often led to wars and the enslavement of the captives. Thus the culture was militarized, and by the ninth century CE these wars brought about the demise of this civilization back to a more localized culture. Two centuries later the Toltecs developed skilled artisans and cities and were brought the wisdom of Quetzalcoatl by Topiltzin, who taught them to avoid the violence of war and human sacrifice. However, he was apparently killed, and the Mexica used warfare to expand the Aztec civilization in the 14th century into a powerful empire by the 15th century. Nezahualcoyotl stands out as a great leader who codified laws and improved agriculture, transportation, and the arts. Yet in the stratified Mexica culture kings, priests, warriors and merchants dominated the vast numbers of serfs and slaves. The massive killing in wars and human sacrifices that the Aztec emperors used to maintain and display their individual power indicate a cruel system that provoked rebellions and more wars. Although many local clans and tribes probably used consensus and democratic methods, on the scale of large nations and empires democratic institutions had not developed to resolve conflicts with greater justice. Moteuczoma Xocoyotl was using military power to consolidate and maintain his empire, which was being threatened by rebellions, when messages began arriving that Spaniards were approaching his capital.
In the Andean region the development of the Inca culture was roughly parallel in time to the Mexicas, but in the 15th century the Incas seem to have developed social and political institutions that placed priority on meeting the needs of all their people. The rulers were still an elite class who exploited others, but their ethics included the responsibility for making sure that no one was suffering poverty that would lead to crime. Although more benevolent, the Incas were imperialistic and forced other peoples to adopt their religion and culture and serve in their army. The conflict between the princes Atahualpa and Huascar brought about a brutal civil war among the Incas just as the Spaniards were arriving.
The struggle between the great civilizations of the Mexicas and Incas against the invading Spanish conquistadors was very one-sided because the Europeans had the advantages of steel, gunpowder, and horses. The Spaniards also used war-dogs to intimidate the natives. Thus with much smaller numbers the Spaniards were able to conquer big cities. Also the colonists represented the power of much greater numbers in Europe that could always be called upon if needed. Furthermore the Europeans were more resistant to various diseases that devastated the native Americans. Although syphilis was one disease that spread from America to Europe, this could only be transmitted by sexual contact and thus could be avoided more easily. Smallpox, measles, influenza, and other diseases were weapons that Europeans did not usually consciously employ but which nonetheless greatly reduced the numbers of the Americans. The Europeans also brought a powerful religion (Christianity) with sophisticated teachings that made them feel superior to the culture of the native Americans and which they used as a justification for dominating and converting those they considered "heathens." Yet ironically, what most conquistadors were doing to the native people they met was in direct violation of what Jesus taught.
Most of the Tainos, who first met Columbus and the Spanish explorers, were friendly, hospitable, and giving. In the warm Caribbean climate most wore little or no clothing. The first Spanish colonists were men, who naturally were missing and desiring women. Thus the temptation to exploit the native women was overwhelming despite Christian teachings. Yet this lust was surpassed by an even greater greed for gold, silver, pearls, and other precious gems that were trinkets to the natives but represented great wealth in European society. The Europeans were also imperialistic and warlike. In the second half of the 15th century the Atlantic nations of Europe had begun to exploit captured Africans as slaves. Thus many Spaniards were easily tempted into capturing natives to sell as slaves or conquering them to exploit their labor for agriculture, building, and mining. The natives, who were used to a simple life of ease in harmony with nature, were forced to work long hours to pay tribute to the conquering Spaniards. Many who refused to do so had their hands cruelly cut off and bled to death. Armed rebellions were crushed with superior European weapons.
Within a few years the Spaniards had developed the encomienda system that gave natives and their land to European settlers. By threat of violence the natives were compelled to accept Spanish sovereignty and Christianity. Many of the priests who accompanied the conquistadors went along with this exploitation, but a few such as the friar Montesinos and Las Casas tried to reform the system and alert the Europeans that they were not practicing the teachings of the Christ. When the Spaniards realized that most of the native Americans did not make good slaves, they began importing Africans, who were more resistant to disease and more willing workers.
Cortes and the Spaniards were also greeted as gods at first until the natives realized they were murderous conquerors. He was able to use the rebellious peoples in the Mexica empire as allies in his conquest of the capital. When people resisted, Cortes ordered the men killed and the women and children enslaved. Welcomed into the capital as a guest, Cortes turned on his host and took over his empire by force of arms. He sent out forces to conquer Mexico and Central America, assigning encomenderos to exploit up to three hundred natives each. Franciscans arrived and destroyed hundreds of temples as they began to convert the natives. Guzman plundered northern Mexico; Montejo subjugated the Yucatan peninsula; and Alvarado committed genocide as four million people died in Guatemala. These atrocities are some of the most serious ethical violations in the history of the world.
Once again in Peru in 1532 Atahualpa offered Pizarro hospitality and was forced to provide gold and then was killed. The Pizarros and others conquered the great Inca cities and established encomenderos to exploit native labor and land. The attempt to reform the system by Las Casas and Carlos V in 1542 did not last long, and his efforts to colonize in a peaceful way were only isolated examples of how settlements could be more just. In 1574 the Inquisition began enforcing Catholic dogma by prosecuting heretics. The conquistadors set up an aristocratic hierarchy with African slaves and natives on the bottom. Not only were the mestizo children of the Europeans and natives discriminated against, in Latin America even the creoles of European parents who were born in America were in a second class behind those born in Europe. The Spaniards exploited the silver mines of Potosi and went to other regions looking for gold. The lack of ethics was also reflected in the lawless buccaneers who plundered coastal towns and ships at sea. The Spaniards brought their laws, but they allowed mine owners to compel non-Christians to work. They did not use a jury system, and the natives were at the mercy of autocratic judgments by their conquerors.
The Portuguese discovered eastern South America and followed
a similar pattern of conquest in Brazil. This region did not have
large cities, and so already mined gold and silver were not easily
found. Brazilwood was exploited, and in the late 16th century
sugar plantations developed using slave labor. Africans were imported
from Angola until the Dutch blocked that. Then slave raiders captured
natives in the interior. The Portuguese had competition from the
French and Dutch, resulting in some European conflicts. The Dutch
governed much of Brazil for thirty years and tolerated Jews, but
in 1654 they were defeated and left. The missionary Vieira tried
to bring reforms to Brazil by his friendship with Joao IV, but
he was expelled in 1661 and imprisoned by the Inquisition in Portugal.
Gold was discovered, and in the first half of the 18th century
it was increasingly mined by imported African slaves.
In northern America the population was much more sparse, and there were no large cities. The mound builders of the Mississippi Valley rose and fell. Hiawatha helped the Five Nations of the Iroquois develop a confederation based on the peaceful teachings of Deganawidah; but by the time European colonists began settling in the 17th century the Five Nations were using their consolidated power to subjugate other tribes. Women had important roles, and the tribal peoples tended to be more egalitarian. The Mohawks obtained firearms from the Dutch and English and used them against the French and their Algonquin enemies. Champlain entered America by way of the St. Lawrence River and formed alliances with the Algonquins and Hurons. Again the French had steel swords, armor, guns, and devastating diseases that enabled them to dominate the natives. In addition to the fishing off the Grand Banks, the French traded for furs, especially beaver which was prized by Europeans who wanted felt hats. Thus the French came in fewer numbers than the Spanish and English settlers and so were not as threatening to the Indians. Jesuits attempted to convert natives but did not impose their religion and culture as forcefully as the Spaniards. The Dutch colonized Guiana and the Hudson River Valley, where they fought the Indians 1643-45. After they pushed the Swedes out of Delaware in 1655, they were defeated militarily by the English in 1664 and surrendered New Netherland, which became New York. As Protestants and merchants, the remaining Dutch made an easy transition to English culture.
The English established a colony in Virginia in 1607, and they began applying their democratic values by electing the first Assembly in 1619. They grew tobacco and developed a profitable business that civilization has come to learn has harmful effects. Native resentment against their encroachments led to their first major Indian war in 1622. Many of the English colonists who came to New England were Puritans and other Dissenters seeking a refuge from religious persecution. The pilgrims who came on the Mayflower in 1620 tried to live by their Christian principles; they celebrated thanksgiving and made a treaty with the Wampanoags that lasted forty years. Winthrop and the Puritans that founded the Massachusetts Bay colony in 1630 were intent on maintaining their Congregational ways. They arrogantly took land from the Indians without compensating them, and they persecuted and expelled Europeans who did not agree with them. Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson were banished, and they founded Rhode Island as a colony that protected freedom of conscience, establishing the important principle of separation of church and state. They even tolerated the radical Gortonists. Colonists moving into the Connecticut River valley provoked the Pequot War in 1636 that set the pattern of mutual fear and hostility between the English and the Indians in New England. The colonists strengthened their power by organizing the New England Confederation of Massachusetts, Plymouth, Connecticut, and New Haven while Rhode Island as a refuge for dissent remained independent and did not join their offensive campaigns. Missionaries tried to convert some of the Indians, who then became allies.
Maryland was founded as a proprietary colony owned by the Calverts. Their Assembly passed an important tolerance law in 1649. During the English Civil War the Protestants took over Maryland, and the House of Burgesses took control of Virginia. However, after the restoration of Charles II, the Calverts were reinstated, and Berkeley returned as governor of Virginia. The British also colonized the West Indies and used slave labor on sugar plantations. They founded a colony in Guiana in 1651 and took Jamaica by force from the Spaniards in 1655.
In 1663 Louis XIV took over New France from the Company, and Canada was ruled by governors and a council in Quebec. The French colonies were Catholic, and the first bishop Laval tried to prohibit the sale of alcohol to Indians. Giving or trading liquor to Indians was often used by the French and English to take advantage of the natives. Trading for beaver pelts continued, and strategic forts were built. The authoritarian nature of the royal colony and Catholic religion did not allow for the development of democratic assemblies nor even a newspaper. By traveling down the Mississippi River and claiming Louisiana, La Salle prepared the way for France to dominate the western territory from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. As the English colonists moved west, this would lead to increasing conflicts between the French and English in the wars of 1689-97, 1702-13, 1744-48, and the major war that would break out in 1754; greater numbers and military power would enable the English to take over French Canada in 1760.
New France was also administered by intendants, who often were corrupt and enriched themselves and their merchant friends. For mutual benefit the Indians and the French attempted to get along with each other, and an important peace treaty was made with most of the Indian nations at Montreal in 1701. Because of European social prejudices against the Indians, those in mixed marriages usually lived with the native tribe. The Indian life-style must have been appealing for there to be more French going native than Indians choosing to join the Christian society. Jesuits established some communities for Christian Indians. The Mohawks were closest of the Iroquois to the English and had already lost half their warriors. Acadia being near New England was a region of greater conflict as the Abenakis were French allies. Between 1724 and 1744 New France enjoyed a period of peace with less corruption after 1729 under Intendant Hocquart. In the west most of the Indian nations learned to get along with the French traders except for the hostile Outagamies, who were attacked until the tribe dissolved. Colonies in Louisiana after 1701 developed a different economy as African slaves were imported to work on sugar plantations. Again battles were fought between the European colonists and the native tribes. French colonists also exploited slaves in the West Indies and Guiana under the Code Noir, and slave revolts would lead eventually to a successful slave revolution in Haiti.
The New England Confederation suppressed the uprising led by Metacom in 1675 in a costly war. The imperialist pattern had been established that the English settlers would take Indian land and fight those who resisted. The colonists in New England asserted their democratic rights. After the English Revolution replaced James II with William III, they arrested Governor Andros, who had been appointed to rule the New England Dominion. Most colonies based their laws on England's that had statutes on witchcraft. In 1692 Salem authorities hanged 19 people after bizarre trials in which none of the defendants had a lawyer. British attempts to impose mercantile policies by restricting trade and collecting customs duties were also resisted by the colonial merchants, especially in Boston. The Assembly of Massachusetts and other colonies used the tactic of withholding the salary of the governor from year to year in order to get their legislation approved. John Wise led the effort for the important principle that the representatives of the people should be able to control their taxation and spending. Gradually the elected Assemblies in the English colonies were gaining power from the King and the royal governors that would eventually enable them to assert their revolutionary authority.
Although the northern colonies had fewer African slaves than the southern colonies, Boston was the center of the slave traders who carried food and supplies to the West Indies for rum, which they traded in West Africa for slaves, who were brought back to the West Indies to be sold in the colonies. Some Assemblies tried to reduce the number of slaves by raising the duties on importing Africans, but often the Crown vetoed such legislation. As the wars with the French and Indians became more expensive, the Assemblies went into debt by offering bills of credit. New England led the way in publishing books and newspapers and in developing education from grammar schools to Harvard and Yale. The religious revival of the early 1740s caused a flurry of excitement but did not bring about significant ethical improvements in behavior.
New York was a proprietary colony under James Stuart, and Governor Andros helped New York City became a center for trade. During the revolution that put William III on the throne, a rebellion that put Leisler in power supported workers. However, New York became a royal colony, and William appointed a governor and a council of wealthy oligarchs who replaced the Leisler regime. During Queen Anne's War many merchants gained riches by sponsoring privateers. Zenger in his Weekly Journal criticized the policies of the wealthy who dominated the government. The Governor put him in jail in 1734, but he was acquitted by a jury that refused to follow the judge's instructions. Defended by the lawyer Andrew Hamilton from Philadelphia, the English colonists were exercising freedom of the press. New Jersey also began as a proprietary colony but was divided in 1674 when a group of Quakers bought West Jersey. In 1702 New Jersey was reunited, became a royal colony, and was put under the governor of New York. Many of the Quakers moved to Pennsylvania.
I believe that the Quakers' influence on early American civilization is tremendously important because they led a radical experiment in pacifist government that was successful for more than seventy years. Although Pennsylvania was under the proprietor William Penn, he was a brilliant Quaker leader who established liberal policies by insisting on the just treatment of Indians, allowing democratic institutions, and protecting freedom of conscience. Penn and other Quakers had been imprisoned in England for their conscientious beliefs, and they made Pennsylvania a haven for Quakers and other pacifists such as German Mennonites and Moravians. Penn also offered prophetic ideas for the unification and disarmament of Europe as well as a similar plan for America. Pennsylvania remained a proprietary colony, and unfortunately Penn's heirs were not Quakers and did not always follow his enlightened policies. They had their problems and conflicts, but Pennsylvania was generally successful in maintaining good relations with the Indians until they started cheating them in land deals in 1737.
The freedom in Pennsylvania also allowed the wise writer and public servant Benjamin Franklin to flourish. He published a newspaper and organized discussion groups and various community improvement projects for cleaner streets, better lamps and stoves, a fire brigade, a lending library, paper money, a hospital, and a university. Franklin wrote on self-improvement and suggested in his almanacs that the practice of justice, industry, frugality, and temperance lead to happiness and prosperity. He also explained why using paper money helps the economy for everyone.
Maryland had tolerated Catholics, but while a royal colony from 1689 to 1714 they established the Church of England and discriminated against Catholics. Then Maryland returned to being a proprietary colony under the Calverts. Their tobacco plantations exploited many thousands of African slaves.
During an Indian war in 1676 Nathaniel Bacon led a rebellion against Governor Berkeley; but this violent effort at change was defeated militarily, and his reform laws were repealed. The economy of Virginia also depended on growing tobacco, and slaves were a third of the population by 1740. Virginia had a large population, and settlers were expanding to the west toward Ohio; their desire for land would eventually put pressures on the French and Indians and would erupt in a major war in 1754.
Carolina began as a proprietary colony in 1663, and Charles Town became the main port for bringing in African slaves. They fought a war with the Tuscaroras in 1711 and another with the Yamasees in 1715. Africans taught the Carolinians how to grow rice, and it became the main commodity in South Carolina's economy. Africans were worked hard to clear the land, and a slave rebellion was crushed in 1739. By then African slaves outnumbered Europeans two to one. South Carolinians were proud that they had the highest standard of living in America, but they neglected to include in their calculations the poor Africans who provided their prosperity. South Carolina had a newspaper and a theater; but schools were not well supported as the planters usually hired tutors or sent their sons to England.
James Oglethorpe led another experiment in Georgia, which was granted a charter in 1732 as a non-profit colony to help the poor. The trustees prohibited slavery and alcohol and tried to develop good relations with the Indians. The evangelist Whitefield came to Georgia and used his sermons to raise funds for an orphanage. Oglethorpe led the military defense against the Spanish invasion of 1742; but he withdrew from the experiment when he learned the prohibitions against slavery and alcohol were being abandoned.
The British had colonies in the West Indies, and in 1713 the
Treaty of Utrecht gave them a monopoly on the importation of African
slaves. During King William's War and Queen Anne's War privateering
had become a lucrative business, and some continued to rob as
pirates after the wars ended. Eventually the British navy killed,
captured, and executed enough of the buccaneers to reduce these
crimes. As islands these colonies were isolated and remained slave
societies under British domination.
In early American history many serious ethical violations are obvious and clear to most detached observers. The greatest injustices were caused by the powerful Europeans taking advantage and exploiting the native peoples in America and those they brought by force from Africa. As the Europeans came into their territory, the native Americans had their lives and culture severely disrupted by a technologically more advanced people. Because so many were annihilated by diseases most Indian nations would never recover fully their previous way of life and would have to adapt to the European culture of the invaders. The numbers of natives would diminish as the numbers of Europeans in America would grow steadily.
Because of the greater populations in the south and their more ruthless policies, the Spaniards and Portuguese killed many more people in what became Latin America than the English, French, and Dutch did in the north. In the earlier phase the Spaniards thought of themselves as conquistadors who came to dominate and find wealth, usually in the form of gold or silver. They often succeeded in their endeavor and shipped fabulous amounts of these minerals to Europe; but from an ethical perspective they were mass murderers and robbers. Some of the Catholics attempted to educate the natives and reform the society but without much success. Yet the efforts and teachings of Las Casas were a prophetic voice for the remediation of Spanish crimes. The Catholic cultures of Spain and France tended to be more authoritarian and did not encourage democratic institutions. The French were also motivated by becoming wealthy by trading for animal furs. Millions of beavers were exterminated as the traders moved west.
Most of the English colonists of the 17th century had different motives. They usually came for the opportunity to settle and farm. A good portion of these began as indentured servants; but after a few years of service they were free to make their own way by working for good wages. In the colonies with plantations the temptation was great, if they had the capital, to import African slaves to do the hard work. Thus the southern colonies became slave societies while in the north colonists either had no slaves or very few. The Puritans in New England and later the Quakers in Pennsylvania had religious motives for finding a place where they could make a new start and live according to their deeply held beliefs. In many cases, but not always, these beliefs affected their ethical attitude toward the Indians, and they developed better and more stable relations with them and the land.
Also endemic in these ethical violations is the violently militaristic culture of the Europeans. Thus they not only subjugated the natives and kept the Africans enslaved by violence, they also fought each other over national allegiances or even differences within the Christian religion itself. This is why I believe that the contributions of the Quakers' holy experiment in Pennsylvania and the practical ethics of Franklin are so important, for these offer object lessons how life on Earth can be better if people actually practice the way of love.
This chapter has been published in the book America to 1744. For ordering information please click here.