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North America and the Carribean

Independence Day1600 By this date the Spanish (and Portuguese) had been established in South America and Mexico for 100 years and there was a huge incentive in Protestant England to catch up with the hated and feared Catholic Spaniards. Three things gave the then much weaker English the courage to start.

  • The sinking of much of the Spanish navy by Sir Francis Drake in the English Channel, as the Spanish, sponsored by the Pope attempted to invade and conquer England and assassinate Queen Elizabeth 1st. (Spanish Armada 1588)
  • The success of the English sea going pirates (Drake, Raleigh etc) in seizing the gold, silver and sugar carried by the Spanish ships from South America en route to Spain as they passed the Caribbean Islands.
  • Sales talk by Sir Walter Raleigh on "how rich" settlers could get in "his" new land of Virginia in North America.

Within a short space of time English immigrants had settled in three distinct areas on the other side of the Atlantic.

  • Sir Walter Raleigh's Virginia in 1585, actually now North Carolina. The first settlement was Roanoke island which was sold on the basis it was at the same latitude of Southern Spain and hence wine could be produced. Actually Roanoke was not that much better than a mosquito infested swamp and the poor settlers soon died. The second area settled, in 1607 was just north, in Chesapeake bay where tobacco leaves imported from South America were successfully cultivated and sold back into England.
  • In 1620, the now famous little ship the Mayflower, set sail from Plymouth, England for New York with a boatload of Protestant fundamentalists (Calvinists or Puritans as they were known in England, who under the more "Catholic" Church of England, were not allowed to follow their faith and were persecuted along with the remaining Catholics in England). They were swept north by heavy seas and landed instead near present day Provincetown close by Cape Cod, Massachusetts, which they called the Plymouth Colony.
  • 1627 The Spanish Main now better known as the Caribbean after the Carib "Indians" who lived there. The English were well briefed as to the potential of the Caribbean islands by English pirates including Drake and Hawkins. The Spanish were well established in the Island of Espaniola now Haiti but Barbados was uninhabited, fertile and well watered. The English were attracted there with the hope of making a second Virginia but the tobacco they grew could not compete with the established Virginian crop. A cotton crop faired no better but the saviour was sugar. Barbados soon became the most valuable colony for England on the west side of the Atlantic.

French in Canada.
Readers should remember that the French as well as the Spanish were in North America before the English. French navigator and explorer Jaques Cartier sailed down the St Lawrence sea way in 1536, planted the French Flag close to present day Montreal but there was no immediate royal backing to set up a colony. Montreal is less than 300 miles north west of Boston Massachusetts.

The East coast of North America, over the next 100 years came to be totally dominated by English immigrants in the so called 13 colonies, as follows:

Note:
- N stands for North or the "New" England colonies which were all settled within 16 years of each other by families with high moral codes who were being persecuted in England because of their more fundamental Protestant religions. Products exported to England included furs and pelts, timber for ships, fish.
- S stands for South where colonists were looking for riches from farming (Tobacco, Wheat, or Cotton. Sugar and wine were also tried.)
- M stands for Middle where a mixture of all types of colonists settled from England and continental Europe. This area was the original industrial powerhouse of North America but initially traded in wheat and firs.

The 13 colonies in order of settlement

all independently ruled from England were:

  • 1607 Virginia S
  • 1629 Massachusetts N
  • 1632 Maryland N
  • 1635 Rhode Island N
  • 1636 Connecticut N
  • 1664 New York M
  • 1664 New Jersey M
  • 1670 North Carolina S
  • 1670 South Carolina S
  • 1680 New Hampshire N
  • 1681 Pennsylvania M
  • 1702 Delaware M
  • 1732 Georgia S
  • Plus
  • 1610 Newfoundland N

The Southern colonies plus Barbados were dependent on negro slaves purchased from Africa for farm labourers as the original white "slaves" from England and Ireland could not work in the unaccustomed heat of the Southern Colonies.

The Northern Colonies were worked by a different breed of Englishmen generally with high moral standards developed through their Puritan (Calvinist) faith. It was not long before these northern colonialists were better educated than their cousins back in England.

These 13 colonies which were all east of the Appalachian Mountains occupied less than 1/20th of the North America Continent and by 1700 hosted 250,000 Englishmen. The huge remaining area was only colonised to a very limited extent by a very few European White Men mainly French and Spanish. The north part in what is now Canada had immigrants from two countries.

The English who, in 1668, claimed control of a territory called Rupert's Land (Hudson Bay and west to Alaska) some 10 times the size of the 13 colonies but much too far north for farming but great for hunting deer and beaver for fur hats and shoes back in England.

The French concentrated their exploration down the St Lawrence Seaway setting up forts in Quebec 1608, Montreal 1642 and Detroit 1701 eventually pushing south down the Mississippi river to New Orleans 1699. In the south the Spanish pushed north from Mexico looking for more gold and silver and crossed the River Grande as early as 1535.

Neither the French or Spanish governments could ever persuade their people to emigrate in anything like the numbers of the English. This was probably due to three main factors.

  1. The French and Spanish always emigrated to government owned land. Whereas the English colonialists were granted ownership of largish tracts of land by royal charter. So the English became land owners to exploit the land as they wished while the French and Spanish remained as government employees.
  2. In England after 1550 there was both religious turmoil and religious diversity but any religion except the new Church of England was outlawed. Hence there was a huge incentive for Catholics, Puritans, Lutherans, Calvinists and Quakers to emigrate to a land were they were free to worship as they wished. In France and Spain the Catholic Church remained the sole religion.
  3. After 1600 in England the need for land for grazing more sheep was satisfied by land owners kicking out their tenant farmers. England at this time was the largest producers of wool in Europe. This coupled with a period of poor (economic) rule under James 1st and Charles 1st created a further incentive to emigrate.

Native American "Red Indians" 

A name given to them by Columbus because he thought he had discovered India.
The Americas were the last land mass to be colonised by humans, 15,000 years ago. Perhaps for this reason when the Europeans arrived they found a stone age society, (no swords and only stone tipped arrows), no horses or bullocks for transport, no wheel and very little land cultivation. Indians did grow a limited amount of, Maize (Sweet Corn), beans, squash and pumpkin. Indians also had no immunity to some killer European diseases, like smallpox. Their population of 20 million in 1500 was only about 2 million in 1800 largely due to death from smallpox.

Sexual Morals amongst the Red Indians was much observed and written about but not published until recently. Basically one man would have up to 7 wives but this did not stop Indians having sex with any body at any time and this included other peoples wives and husbands and one own children. Indians were blessed with being free from sexually transmitted diseases. Clearly they had not had the benefit of Moses and his Ten Commandments (actually about 100) which the Christian settlers took as their moral goal. (Sources, reports from the Hudson Bay Company in the north and Amerigo Vespucci in the south.)

Land ownership. Christian settlers believed that anybody who had the opportunity but did not till the land had no territorial rights. (Biblical Old Testament text origins) Hence they had no compunction about forcibly taking land occupied by Indians.

The above two differences between Indians and Christians contributed to Christians thinking the Indians were savages who had no territorial rights.

Slavery

Farming in the hot American southern colonies was originally undertaken by the settlers themselves. However as was also found in India the European soon suffered from heat or sun stroke and became useless. Indians were the next in line for "slave labour" but they very quickly died from smallpox or another European disease for which they had no immunity. The solution was the importing of black slaves from west Africa who were used to the heat and hard manual labour and where slavery was already practiced by the locals and the Arabs (mainly on the east coast). The Portuguese started the profitable slave trade around 1515 to feed their sugar plantations in Brazil. However English sea pirates soon followed suite and eventually dominated this trade. In Brazil the Portuguese settlers generally came without their families and regularly interbred with the female black slaves producing the interesting ethnic mix we have in Brazil today as is evidenced by their beautiful women and top class footballers.

In North America many settlers brought their wives and there was little interbreeding with either Indians or Black African slaves. White men who had sex with non white women were ignored but Blacks who had sex with white women were killed.

The English people who emigrated. Today England compared with America, is a class ridden society. (Much better now than 400 years ago over the whole of Europe). The English ruling aristocratic classes were notably absent from the hordes who emigrated and later American English wanted to keep it that way. Initially there were two types both described as Middling people:

  • Calvinist or Puritan or Protestant fundamentalists
  • Yeoman Farmers.

both noted for fair intelligence, hard work, toughness and good moral standards.

By 1700/50 the living standards of the successful settlers was better than if they had stayed at home. Visitors were impressed by the standards of their houses, their fashion, their education and their wealth. Some of the original immigrants while not being aristocrats were by no means poor. One "pilgrim" who travelled in the Mayflower took 126 pairs of shoes and 13 pairs of boots. A useful categorisation of immigrants is by those who paid for their passage and those who didn't. The former were immediately land owners by the laws of England and the latter had to work for the former for 5 to 7 years and then would be given (by the English Crown) enough land to be self sufficient. Early immigrants also included a manageable number of convicts (jailed for anything from petty larceny to murder) who again could gain their freedom after a period of "slave" labour. This group included many non Church of England worshippers including Catholics and Puritans.

1700 By this time the three English colonised areas in the west were:

  • The Caribbean, Barbados
  • Virginia
  • And the six colonies in the north around New England

were established and self supporting but by far the most valuable to England at the time was Barbados and their sugar production which helped England to dominate the European sugar trade.

The early colonies in more detail

Virginia
This was Sir Walter Raleigh's "personal" territory which he had named after Queen Elizabeth 1st his virgin queen. He sold the idea of moving there to city entrepreneurs or adventurers for easy pickings from local silver and gold deposits. They settled on Roanoak Island c 1585 off the north coast of modern Carolina. There were no minerals and the settlement failed. A third attempt to settle in 1607 was a success this time a few miles north in Chesapeake Bay. The Town and the river were called after the current King James 1st who had granted a royal charter to the Virginian company to settle in Chesapeake Bay. The colony would not have survived without the leadership of a certain Captain John Smith (as portrayed in the film Pocohontas) but when he returned to England in 1609 the settlement almost collapsed with lack of discipline, disease and Indian attacks. Smith's mantle was eventually taken up by John Rolfe who revolutionised the settlement by

  • Crossing a South American Tobacco with a local one and the flavour was an instant success back in England.
  • Marrying Pocahontas, the daughter of the local Indian Chief whose dowry included thousands of acres of land.

By 1624 some 1400 people had emigrated to James Town but only 1,132 had survived. A sales document produced in 1620 asked for investment and entrepreneurs for the new colony of Virginia where the climate was good enough to supply many of the needs of the English now purchased from Francs and Spain such as wines, fruit and salt and even Chinese Silk and Scandinavian tar (for sealing ships). The promoters had collected £200,000 by 1633 but none of the above products were produced in Virginia. Instead it was John Rolfe's tobacco which was first planted in 1617 and by 1700 Virginian Tobacco was providing 20% of the English exchequers custom duties. Smoking which had been a rich mans pastime at £2 a pound of tobacco was now available to everybody at 5p per pound. England was now importing 13 million pounds annually for domestic consumption and a further 25 m pounds for export to tobacco hungry Europe.

Newfoundland
Never included as one of the 13 colonies but founded in 1620 some 120 years after it had been discovered by Italian John Cabot who was financed by English King Henry 7th. During those 100 years English fishing fleets had sailed on a regular basis (300 ships a year by 1620) all the way to the coast of Newfoundland to fish (initially with line and hook) for the prized Cod to be salted and smoked and sold mainly to fish loving Spain. The land and climate were harsh and the colony only existed to serve the English fishing fleets.

New England, Plymouth and the Massachusetts Bay Colony
Whereas the original settlers in Virginia were adventurers looking to copy the Spanish and get rich quick from gold the New England settlers were fleeing religious persecution in England. In brief before the Reformation commenced by the German priest Luther in1517 and reinforced by the Swiss Zwingli and John Calvin in 1520 the whole of Europe had been spiritually ruled by the Pope in Rome for over 1000 years and the Church had become "worldly" or corrupt. The reformers wanted to bring the Church back to basics and get rid of corruption. In England as elsewhere taxes were collected and sent to Rome to finance the Church. In England in 1530 the current king Henry the 8th wanted to divorce his first wife and as was required had to ask the Pope who refused. Henry immediately took England away from the Popes rule and married his second wife the attractive Anne Boleyn. This set the scene for a 100 years of bloody religious turmoil.

The next King Edward commenced the move of the now independent English Church from the Roman Catholic Church to a mixture of Lutherism and Calvinism called Protestantism. Mary the next Queen took the country back to the Catholic faith and was called Bloody Mary as she murdered so many of the new Protestants. Elizabeth 1st was the next English Queen and she had the task of persuading the now Catholic English Bishops to change to Protestantism, she failed but a compromise was developed which combined some of the "old" Catholic rules with the new rules of Protestantism in the Church of England. This left some half a dozen versions of the original faiths whishing to pray their specific version of the rules when only one was permitted by law. This religious chaos remained at least until 1690. It was during this time that the New England territories were the refuge for a number of diverse Protestant religions who wanted freedom from religious persecution.

Massachusetts
In England in 1607 a group of Calvinists also called Pilgrims, Puritans, Presbyterians or Separatists fled from England to the already Protestant Holland but were not accepted into Dutch society. So in 1620, having obtained a land grant from the English Virginian Company set sail from Plymouth England for the Hudson River area (discovered in 1609 by Englishman Hudson funded by the Dutch Royal Family). They were blown off course and landed further north near Cape Cod at the start of winter. Two things stopped them starving:

  1. They were few in number, about 100, 40 Puritans and 60 ordinary folk. They were sensible enough to make friends with the local Wampanoag Indians who shared some winter food and survival habits with them (hunting and fishing). Even so 50% of them died mainly from disease. In the spring the Indians showed then how to crow the local corn crop (Maize/Sweet corn) and the following autumn they celebrated their "thanksgiving" with full bellies in prayer. Americans have celebrated this Thanksgiving ceremony every year since. Originally based on the Harvest festival in England. Abraham Lincoln set the first official date and Roosevelt changed it to the current forth Thursday in November.
  2. Their Puritan religion taught hard work and a stoic mind to fight off the pain of hunger as a way of getting nearer to God without the constant help of a priest. Puritans being religious escapees always showed a healthy disregard for English Royal authority right up to the American War of Independence.

The initial leader of this group was called William Brewster supported by William Bradford who called his followers Pilgrims and who also became known as the Founding Fathers. Their colleague John Carver became the first "Governor" to be succeeded on his death by Bradford.

News of the success of this colony prompted King Charles 1st to encourage all the troublesome Puritans to emigrate to New England and by 1630 Puritans were leaving in droves. By 1660 the largely Calvinist population of Massachusetts with its main town Boston had increased to 30,000 people. These numbers were not sufficient however to stop a Puritan Uprising in England under Oliver Cromwell, the English Civil War of 1642-49, when Charles 1st was beheaded and England was ruled as a republic.

Rhode Island c. 1636
Not everybody could live under the fundamentalist Calvinist rule of Massachusetts were all work was done in Gods name and non Calvinists including Indians were Heretics. Land was taken from Indians without discussion or payment and when many Indians died of Smallpox the Calvinist leader John Winthrop wrote in his diary "they are all dead of the small pox so as the Lord cleareth our title to what we possess". A John Williams educated at Cambridge University (England) where he joined the Calvinist following, arrived in Massachusetts in 1631 but by 1636 was expelled for his heresy. Actually he openly questioning the treatment of the Indians and the right of Charles 1st to grant Indian lands to English settlers. A man of some means he purchased land to the south of the Massachusetts colony from the Narragansett Indians and started a new settlement in what is now called Rhode Island. Here he ensured that religion would always be separate from the state and that immigrants from any religion could settle there. The Rhode Island freedom of religion clause found its way into the U S constitution.

New Haven Colony in Connecticut
1637 A Calvinist Puritan leader the Rev. John Davenport also fed religious persecution, indeed in England he was on the special extermination list of Charles 1st and his tough Archbishop Laud. Not liking the Massachusetts regime he also settled to the south and created the New Haven colony. The grandson of his friend Theophilus Eaton made a fortune in India and was persuaded by the grandson of Davenport to start a university with his money. He was called Elihu Yale, hence the university.

Maryland
1632 Calvinist Puritans were not the only religious group wanted out of England in the reigns of James 1st and Charles 1st as they tried to establish the unique Church of England. Catholics were seen to be just as bad if not worse and the Catholic Lord Baltimore persuaded Charles 1st to give him land north of the Potomac river. The first town was called St Mary's and is to be found near the junction of the Pontiac and Chesapeake Bay. Hence Maryland.

The end of the first phase of immigration to North America.

1642 saw the start of a civil war in England when the elected parliament under the Calvinist Puritan, Oliver Cromwell, fought the supporters of the corrupt and useless nominally Church of England King, Charles 1st. Emigration from England stopped.

What were the people like who were now living in North America?

  • Generally in the northern colonies the leaders were religious refugees mainly of the more extreme Protestant faiths which stood them in good stead for suffering and conquering the hardships of trying to learn how to live as castaways in a totally new climate and where none of the familiar crops, wild or cultivated, were available. Those who came with them were convenient hangers on who so long as they could work hard and live in a highly structured religious environment would soon be better off than they would have been at home. This immediately included an education based on the Bible which required them to learn how to read and write and behave to the rules of Moses and the philosophies of the Old and New Testaments.
  • The first settlers in the Southern Colonies were city adventurers and not refugees of any type and generally had money and were looking for gold. They were not suited for farming and knew nothing of it but that is what they had to become. They were in a position to hire skills from England and thus became land owners and employees as soon as they could. When they found that the English Scots and Irish labourers could not work in the unaccustomed summer heat they employed Indian slaves who they found equally useless (see below) so they followed the Portuguese in Brazil and bought black West African slaves from the English slave traders who had already cornered the market.

All colonial regions on the east coast also attracted more than a proportionate share of skilled Artisans. (Tilers, Thatchers, Carpenters, Smithies etc.) This was because men with such skills in England would generally travel from town to town to look for the best work suited to their trades and because of the mini slump caused by the poor governance by Kings James and Charles 1st they saw little hardship in trying their luck in the New World.

Such people were called middling types and were the early Middle Class in England. At the other end of the social scale all colonial areas were expected to receive or have dumped on them the over flow from overcrowded prisons populated generally by fairly soft criminals like prostitutes and petty thieves. Ships captains would be paid to transport such people who they could sell at a profit as slaves to the colonists looking for labour. All such "slaves" were supposed to be freed after 5 to 7 years of good conduct and hard work and given land and tools to make a new life for themselves.

Indians or Native Americans
There were some 20 million Indians living in North America circa 1600 and 300 years later it was only 2 million. This was not a deliberate massacre or ethnic cleansing as we would call in now but a tragic loss of life through diseases brought into the Americas by Europeans. Small Pox was the big killer but Europeans also introduced TB and a host of sexually transmitted diseases. The religious Europeans thought that the Indian's death through disease was an act of God as Protestant English as well as Catholic Spanish thought that they had Gods Will behind them in their quest to establish the perfect religious environment. So God was doing the ethnic cleansing.

Second phase of colonisation after the English Civil War

New York originally called New Amsterdam 
English explorer Henry Hudson, sponsored by the Dutch royal family, discovered the Hudson river and Manhattan Island in 1609. The first Dutch settlers landed soon after and by 1517 had built a fort a couple of hundred miles up the Hudson river at present day Albany. The Dutch were interested in the fur trade and this fort was on the edge of the rich hunting and trapping grounds of the Iroquois Indians. In 1624 the Dutch bought Manhattan Island from the Iroquois and Established the town New Amsterdam to be renamed New York. This colony was of no interest to the Dutch Royal family and soon settlers from England joined the Dutch on Long and Manhattan islands. Finding the Dutch settlers poorly treated, a message was sent to King Charles 2nd that the islands could be easily captured and so they were, by a fleet led by the English Duke of York in 1664, who found the Dutch only too willing to join the English.

Pennsylvania 
The first European settlers were Swedish but in 1655 were dispossessed by the Dutch. In 1681 the area was given by Charles 2nd to his personal friend and Quaker William Penn who made it a safe haven for Quakers. To boost immigration Penn offered a safe haven to any religion and many of the European minority religious groups settled there including, Quakers, Amish, Baptists, Mennonites and Moravians. Access to Pennsylvania which straddles the Appellations and has no Atlantic seaboard was by the Delaware river. Penn and his followers practiced what they preached. For example Quakers were very fair to women treating them almost as equals and to Indians who were paid in full for their land.

North and South Carolina 1670
This area had attracted English settlers moving south from Virginia 20 years earlier and the first royal governor was appointed in 1664. Around 1670 some more English settlers moved south from New England for warmer climes and north from Barbados for more land. The first mass immigration came from France from those who had converted to Protestantism, called Huguenots, and were fleeing from their staunchly Catholic King, came and settled peacefully in an English speaking environment and set up the first town. An economic base was soon found by this mix of intelligent hard working races and religions from selling to England Indigo (dye) timber and rice. The Carolinas were probably the first to capture Indians as slaves but they soon found as the Spanish had discovered 100 years earlier that the Indians made useless slaves. They either soon died or escaped back to their tribe.

Georgia
The last of the colonies not really established until 1732 where under General James Oglethorpe, Georgia was seen as a frontier land between the English and Spanish colony of Florida. Oglethorpe was also something of a reformer and Georgia became a colony where the poor and previous prisoners could be led away from crime and corruption.

1680
At this time, the east coast from Newfoundland to the Carolinas was dominated by English speaking settlers who had established themselves as farmers, trappers, traders and manufacturers although the latter was still cottage industries. As settlements were nearly always by rivers water mills were soon built and operating. The majority of skills available in England were also available in the colonies and were augmented by skills from German farmers and French Huguenots.

In the south particularly in Florida and north of the Rio Grande (New Mexico) the Spanish were present but in very small numbers and basically always looking for, but not finding, a quick buck from a gold deposit. The Spanish government supported missionaries were also present trying in vain to convert Indians into good Catholics. In the huge cold unfriendly north both the French and English had set up trading links for furs with the local Indians which supported only a few at subsistence level. The English far north in Hudson Bay and the French a little further south in the St Lawrence River area where the French government supported them by building forts. The French government laid claim to all the vast lands from the St Lawrence via the Great Lakes south via the Mississippi to New Orleans but did not support it with any real money.

Relationships with the local Indians who were rapidly dying out from European imported diseases was generally bad except for the French and the English in the Hudson Bay area. Both groups were very small in number compared with the Indians and used them to snare the animals like Beaver for a continuous supply of valuable pelts. Elsewhere the English and the Spanish saw the Indians as stone as savages with no morals particularly sexual who could be hounded by dogs. The English used Bloodhounds to track them down and vicious Bull Mastiffs to tear them apart. One has to remember that life in both England and Spain at this time was barbaric by today's standards and dogs were regularly used in Warfare to kill the opposition and by land owners to kill poachers. The English also considered the Biblical texts made it clear that any man not working the land had no ownership rights. This applied to Indians who were largely nomads. Hence the settlers had no moral laws which disallowed taking Indian land by force.

The relationship between settlers and the English King who felt he had the right to grant the land in the New World to his subjects and who appointed a governor for each of the 13 Colonies was not understood by either party. The King and English Parliament thought the colonies were subject to English laws and taxes even though they had no Parliamentary representative. (This was not surprising as the majority of English citizens at this time had no representative.) The settlers on the other hand felt they were

  • Out of sight hence out of mind even though they were revolutionising the economy back home.
  • Religious dissenters and hence were effectively self governing.
  • In New England rapidly becoming better educated (more literate and numerate) than their kinsmen back home. In the north there was compulsory education for everybody. Initially, so they could all read the Bible but soon such subjects as accountancy were studied. In the south where a rich landed gentry, slave owning class was rapidly emerging and tutors from England were hired to teach the wealthy offspring, boys firstly but girls were not left out.

North American Colonial Expansion

The next 100 years 1660 to 1760 and on to 1900

This period is dominated by another 100 years war with the old enemy France. The winner was to become the world superpower so that post 1815 to 1900 all nations kowtowed to England or better Great Britain as Scotland, Wales and Ireland were all ruled from London.

North American Colonial Expansion.

The English Civil war of 1642-1651 temporally brought a halt to emigration from England to the American colonies. Indeed many Puritans from New England returned home to join the Puritan Oliver Cromwell who eventually over threw the King (Charles 1st). Cromwell was well known for fighting Catholic uprisings particularly in Ireland in a ruthless fashion but should also be remembered for:

  • Realising the potential economic importance of the embryonic colonies, the expansion of the Navy to defend the colonies and commencing hit and run wars against the French and the Spanish in their profitable Caribbean sugar islands.
  • Agreeing to a request from some European Jews to settle in England as Cromwell saw the improvement to Dutch government finances they had facilitated.

After 1651 emigration form England to North America recommenced and was equalled by Catholics fleeing Ireland oppressed Scots from the Highlands. They were joined by religiously persecuted Protestants and Catholics from Europe who gravitated to those colonies who were set up to practice religious tolerance. These included Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and later Georgia. Most of the territorial expansion followed to fertile river valleys which flowed into the Atlantic from the Appellations. Pennsylvania was the exception. Run by Quakers who are pacifists and also religiously open they were soon outnumbered by non English speaking Europeans who generally could live with Quaker fundamentalists who were not out to impose their tough rules. Pennsylvania is the only one of the 13 colonies which straddled the Appellation Mountains and held a unique position on a high plateaux in these mountains and westwards to the Ohio river valley where they were the first to discover the hated French already there, be they in small numbers largely as hunter trappers and explorer mappers, rather than farmer settlers.

The French were ahead of the English to North America thanks to seaman and navigator Jacques Cartier who, sponsored by his King, Francis 1st went looking for the North West Passage (to China) in 1534 but along with everybody else failed to find it. However in 1536 on his second trip he sailed up the St Lawrence River to Montréal and founded a colony in 1536. (Montréal of course did not exist at the time neither did he call his colony Montréal). However he called the land Canada which corresponded to a French pronunciation of a local Indian word probably meaning place. Later French settlers never tried to sell the concept of a New France to any French King as they considered the land adjacent to the St Lawrence river too cold to cultivate and concentrated on trapping Beaver for fir hats or rather as did the English, further north in Hudson Bay, they traded goods including firearms with the local Indian tribes, for Beaver pelts. French explorers ventured south and found the Great Lakes and the Mississippi river which lead them south all the way to the Mexican Gulf by way of Detroit and Des Moines to New Orleans.

The only French King with a credible expansionist policy outside Europe was their "Sun King" Louis 14th 1643-1715. However his real thinking was always to expand France in Europe north into the Rhine Valley and south to rule Spain thereby picking up all Spain's overseas colonies. The English realised they could not let him achieve this ambition and hence the "War of Spanish Succession" which was a battle within the 100 years campaign between England and France. The French had effectively previously shot themselves in their religious feet when in 1589 they took away the religious rights of the French Protestants (Huguenots) who happened to account for 90% of their skilled seamen plus many manufacturing skills. These men and their families made new homes for themselves in England and the new English American Colonies.

The 100 years war with France for world domination which included domination of the North American Continent.

Please note that generally historians do not call this period a "Hundred Years War" as the name is already given to the Medieval "Hundred Years War" between England and France of 1337-1453 when five consecutive English Kings tried to regain the land they had lost in France (Normandy south to the boarders with Spain). The great Medieval English King Henry 5th won all this land back but died before he could marry the French Princess Catherine of Valois and secure the French throne. The Kings son Henry 6th was as useless as his father had been great and almost immediately lost all the gains achieved to the now famous female military leader, Joan of Arc.

The Hundred Years War we look at now, won by England over France made England the world's undisputed Super Power from 1760 until about 100 years ago (c1900).

The important battles were:

  • 1689-97 The Nine Years War. Known in America as King Williams War. William was now ruling England as well as his native Holland and needed to stop King Louis 14th of France from taking over the Hapsburg dynasty of Austria which was ruling Hungary, Bohemia and Spain, together with much of Italy. Ended in stalemate with no major territorial exchanges.
  • 1702-14 The War of Spanish Succession. England against France and Spain commenced by England to stop France taking over all Spain's territories including their vital colonies
  • 1739-48 The War of Austrian Succession. England supported Austria against designs by the French on the Austrian throne, again!
  • 1756 -63 The Seven Years War. Called in America the French and Indian Wars. This was a global battle between England and France where the main theatres of war were Europe, India and North America. In Europe, England went to defend Hanover (the base of the German English Georgian Kings) against Invasion by France supported by Austria, Russia and Spain. In India the Englishman Clive fought France and the Bengali Prince for domination of Bengal (now Bangladesh). In North America the English under Wolfe fought the French in the Ohio valley and Canada (Quebec). The English won all three of these major battles for territorial domination ending up as the undisputed world superpower. It was an astonishing achievement bearing in mind France at the time had a population of 25 million to England's 8 million. The Key was the superior English Navy which blockaded the French sea ports and the English financial system created through Jewish backed loans. These victories were confirmed along with England as the world superpower in the Treaty of Paris 1763.

These Victories put England in a position where they could dominate world trade which took the form of shipping goods out of India to the Colonies in North America and vice versa always, by law, in English ships. All in the English Garden was however not rosy.

  • The huge territories now controlled by England needed standing armies in case of attack.
  • Similarly the Navy needed expanding to protect the huge merchant shipping fleets. More costs for England who was already saddled with huge war loans.
  • The Kings of England, the Georges, were German not English appointed because they were the nearest Protestants to the English royal linage. Neither George 1st 1714-27 nor George 2nd 1727-60 spoke English which at least forced them to appoint an elected Prime Minister (for the first time) to run the country.
  • While Englishmen were valiantly expanding the Empire their Kings were servicing their numerous mistresses. George 2nd had more then 100 regulars. By the same token the English aristocracy many of them being parliamentarians lived at a time when the majority regularly slept with high class society prostitutes called courtesans.
  • The Englishman of the moment was William Pitt who had military, moral and economic naus to rule an Empire but became too ill to regularly take his seat in Parliament
  • Benjamin Franklin an American, born in Boston and brought up in Philadelphia lived in London as representative of a number of American Colonies and observed the corruption endemic in the Royal Family and the ruling classes of the most powerful nation in the world. He also observed the plight of the poor and the birth of the Industrial and Agricultural revolutions. He was also directly aware of the writings of the Enlightenment philosophers Englishman John Locke and Frenchman, exiled to London, Voltaire. Both preaching the rights of the individual against the state.

In America after the end of the seven years war and the fall of French controlled Canada to the English.

  • The English gave control of the vast lands west of the Appellation Mountains in the Ohio and northern Mississippi valleys to their new French speaking subjects in Quebec. The loyal English Americans were flabbergasted as this was land adjacent to the 13 colonies and scheduled for their expansion.
  • The Parliament in London decided to impose taxes on the American colonists to help pay for the 7 Years War and support a standing English army in North America. The taxes levied added up to much less than the taxes being paid by tax payers in England but not withstanding this, the colonialists objected to taxation without representation in the London Parliament. These taxes were opposed by the Pitt but he was too ill to force his views through parliament. The new King now 20 year old George 3rd supported the concept of getting taxes from the stupid colonists but his views were from a "child" who had hardly ventured outside his palace at Kew before he became King.
  • Not surprisingly a revolutionary spirit was brewing in the American colonies led in Boston by the brewers son Samuel Adams. Today he would have been described as a leftwing rabble rouser and was regularly seen in the Boston portside inns drumming up support from dockers for a militia. The concept of American Independence was not popular however either in America, where support was probably less than 10% or in England were the common man organised rallies calling for the abolition of these taxes on their brothers in America. Indeed in America the call for independence was seen as a civil war of brother against brother and father against son. The most famous example of the latter being the separatist Benjamin Franklin against his loyalist son.
  • Together with King George 3rd the two parliamentary ministers responsible for dreaming up and implementing these taxes were Prime Minister and Chancellor Lord George Grenville followed by Chancellor Charles Townsend. The Grenville taxes were from 1764, on imported Sugar, then the Quartering act of 1765 which forced householders to billet English soldiers, then the 1765 Stamp Act which put a stamp duty on every form of transaction like invoices and purchases to printed matter like newspapers and playing cards. Thanks partly to Samuel Adams no Stamp duty was ever collected. PM Grenville was forced to resign. The new Chancellor Townsend limited his taxes to import duties on glass, paper, lead, paint and tea. The latter led to the so called "Boston Tea Party" where some of Adams' men dressed up as Indians tipped a shipload of tea into Boston Harbour. The response from England was to close the Harbour and so the livelihood of Samuel Adams' thugs. Such a move was enforced by the small standing army the English employed in each colony.
  • The Lexington conflict. 19th April 1775. Who fired the first shot? The English army in Boston was made up from English Red Coat regulars augmented by German mercenaries, in all only a few hundred men. Spies had told them that the American militias has a huge cache of firearms in Concorde a few miles outside Boston so they were instructed to find and destroy them. Halfway there they stopped in Lexington where they were surrounded by a gang of Adams' men and they eyed each other defiantly. Bang! Nobody knows who fired the first shot but it gave the excuse for the highly nervous English soldiers to fire a series of volleys, which they were very good at, into the crowd. Many American fell wounded and the soldiers marched on to Concorde found the arms cache and destroyed it. Adams saw his chance and quickly sent messages to his many militia to harass the soldiers all the way back to Boston. They were very good at it and when the bedraggled English returned to barracks they effective never ventured out again. A ship was sent to England to request reinforcements but on seeing the request George 3rd was livid wondering why the most powerful nation in the world could be humiliated by a bunch of colonial thugs. The request was denied. In Boston the fastest horseman was dispatched south to spread the astonishing news to the other 12 colonies.
  • George Washington was a wealthy landowner typical of the Virginian gentry who had fought alongside the English against the French where he distinguished himself though his military acumen and natural leadership. The news of the Lexington massacre and the subsequent dousing of the English Red Coats, caused all 13 colonies to meet (for the first time) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Washington was elected to organise an American army to fight the English from the various colonial militias. Independence was declared on 4th July 1776 and the interested European observers thought the English would win easily but after two years when it was seen that this was not the case all the European countries who were jealous of the world domination of the English joined the fight on the American side who achieved surrender by the English in 1783.
  • America could now be divided into two with English Canada moved back to north of the 48th parallel giving the 13 colonies now under one leader for the first time, (George Washington) the freedom to move west over the Appellations into uncharted Indian country.

Independence

This is not the end of the story of the English in North America, far from it. After Independence there was a huge influx (50,000 people) of American Loyalists (to England) who moved north into Canada and settled west of French speaking Quebec in modern day Ontario. The French speakers could have requested to pledge their allegiance to France but they preferred rule by the British! English Canada was bourne. (The population of French speakers in Quebec at the time was only some 50/60,000 people.)

On the west coast south of present day British Columbia was a huge unpopulated area then called Oregon which stretched south to Spanish California and East to the Dakotas. It was agreed to share this between the English and the Americans. As with the rest of the Wild West the Americans had a policy of populating these territories as fast as possible and soon they out numbered English and Spanish settlers by 5 to 1. American annexed the Oregon territories peacefully and Texas which was part of Mexico declared independence initially and then joined the United States. California was purchased. The last time the English fought on American soil was in 1812. France had declared war on England, (again!) in a quest under Napoleon Bonaparte to conquer the whole of Europe (Again!) The all powerful English navy could not (or did not bother to) discriminate between French and American shipping on the high seas and America declared war on England. The English had Canada to defend and so attacked and burnt down Washington DC. The Americans retaliated by burning down Toronto. The English sent a fleet to attack New Orleans but peace had already been declared. The American won the battle of New Orleans in vain. The English and Americans have been friends ever since!

Summary of build up to independence 

  • England, France and Spain commence colonisation of North America (plus the Caribbean and India c. 1600.
  • England and France struggle for world domination in a hundred years war from c. 1650-1763. England a small Protestant island of some 5 million people and France its large neighbour across the English Channel, a Catholic country of some 20 million people.
  • France is run by a royal family dictatorship and the Catholic Church and England who after Elizabeth 1st find it extremely difficult to find a suitable Protestant King (or Queen) is run by a Parliament of wealthy generally arrogant men and a King chosen by Parliament.
  • England's state religion is the Church of England, a hybrid of Catholic and early Protestant religions developed by Elizabeth 1st with her mainly catholic bishops. All other religions are banned.
  • English colonists in North America are mainly religious refugees in the north around Boston and wealthy entrepreneurial farmers in the south around Virginia. After 1700 that is 100 years of the commencement of colonisation both areas are prospering with those in the south sending their young men back to England for an education and in the north men and some women being educated in local schools and universities in a Puritanical theme where God supports hard work and kinship. This God does not support lazy people like native American Indians.
  • 200 miles north of Boston the French have settled down the St Lawrence sea way where it is too cold for profitable farming but where a living can be scratched from the land with help from the local Indians by trapping firs for export back to Georgian Europe. The St Lawrence takes the French far inland to the Great Lakes and south via the Mississippi to the Mexican Gulf.
  • In the far south the Spanish are plundering the land by pinching gold and silver discovered by the local Indians and setting up small religious settlements with the object, supported by the Pope, of converting the Indians to the "superior" Catholic Faith.
  • In 1700s the English Kings called the Georges, are all German, as there are no suitable English born Protestants. The early Georges can neither speak English nor seem to want to set an example to be admired. Indeed George 1st arrives in England with two mistresses and leaves his wife locked in prison in Germany. The only benefit of this is that George has to choose a senior minister to be called Prime Minister to run the country on his behalf. Walpole is the first English Prime Minister the first of many excellent such first ministers.
  • Americans who visit England for trade and education do not return with high praise of the politics and morals of the old country although it is rapidly becoming the most powerful nation in the world via trade between India and America into Europe which fuels the industrial revolution. (Tobacco, Sugar, Furs,Pelts, Fabrics- Chince, Cotton, Spices, Tea, Fish, Silks and Cocaine.)
  • 1763 England is now acknowledged as the world superpower as it removes any vestige of French aggression from both India and North America.
  • Just before this date George 3rd came to the throne in 1760. He was only 22 and had hardly ever ventured outside his palace at Kew in west London. He had never developed the skill of finding the right advisors and was not supported by good Prime Ministers or Chancellors of the Exchequer. The right man for the time was Minister Pitt (the elder) who George did not spot but Pitt became sick during the majority of the next 20 years. As a result of this George was persuaded and indeed supported two concepts which lost the English their American colonies.
  • The first concept was the idea of letting American lands west of the Appellations be given to the new English ruled French colonists in Quebec.
  • The second concept was the idea of taxing the American colonialists in order to pay for the war effort. This was taxation without representation. In spite of these humilities only some 10% of the colonists wanted home rule (Independence).
  • The third element which thinking Americans realised, was that they did not wish to be ruled by the sort of Kings which sat on the English (or any other) throne and they were particularly influenced by such Enlightenment writers as Englishman John Locke and Frenchman living in England Voltaire and later Englishman Thomas Paine.
  • In addition to this Americans may not have declared independence if the following three American men were not alive at the time:
  • Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790). He lived in London for about 25 years prior to 1776 as political representative of a number of colonies. Franklin was an educated man and a noted scientist. He communicated his thoughts of the English scene to his base in Philadelphia the largest city in America at the time.
  • Samuel Adams (1722-1803) A Boston based Puritan political revolutionary who hated the English and their arrogant ways. He set up the first effective militia recruited from Boston dockers which using gorilla tactics against the New England British standing army gave the rest of the colonies the courage to form an army to oust the most powerful nation in the world from their land.
  • George Washington (1732-1799) A wealthy farmer from Virginia who fought successfully with the English against the French in the Ohio valley and then 15 years later was persuaded by the Philadelphia conference to form an Army out of the various militia to oust the English. A man of noted high morals and integrity who became America's first President.

The Founding Fathers of the United States of America

The men who were largely responsible for the initial social and political developments of the United States were looking to develop a country which was appreciably more fairly run than England were power was in the hand of a few, often corrupt aristocrats, with weak morals and an unelected King who was also head of the state Church of England the only legal religion. 

  • George Washington (1732-1799) a natural (military) leader with impeccable morals who became the first President. (Virginia)
  • Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) scientist, philosopher, diplomat and businessman working both in England and France as a diplomat. (Pennsylvania)
  • John Adams(1735-1826) Lawyer and intellectual responsible for developing much revolutionary thought. Became first vice President and second President. (Boston Massachusetts)
  • Samuel Adams (1722-1803) A Business man and revolutionary nobody in power realy liked. Became governor of Massachusetts. Cousin of above. (Boston Massachusetts)
  • Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) Lawyer, politician (in Virginia) and diplomat (to France) largely responsible for authoring the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. The third President of the US. (Virginia)
  • Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804) First Secretary to the US Treasury, set of the first federal bank, was killed in a duel. (Born in the Caribbean of mixed race)

The Constitution of the USA
The founding fathers developed a written document stating the objectives and rules of government and a series of checks and balances to minimise corruption and permit the voice of the people to be heard by those in charge. The Constitution ratified in 1788 consists of 7 articles and 27 amendments of which 10 are a Bill of Rights. The Constitution defines the separation between the President (the executive), Congress (Legislature) and the Supreme Court (Judiciary). The Bill of Rights as defined by Jefferson are what people are entitled to against every government on Earth and include:

  • Freedom of the Press, of speech and of Religion.
  • The right to carry arms.
  • Prohibition of being compelled to quarter troops.
  • Protection against unlawful search and seizure.
  • The right to a fair and public trial by jury.
  • The right of due process of law.
  • Prohibition of cruel punishments.