Colonization in Virginia and Massachusetts; Business and Religion in the1600s

Colonization in Virginia and Massachusetts; Business and Religion in the1600s


Print page

In 1607 the first wave of English settlers was sent to find profit in the new world by a group of businessmen that called themselves the Virginia Company of London. The Virginia Company had high hopes of discovering a profit with gold and silver. The first colonists consisted of 104 males of various ages, searching to find fortune, not a new life, in the Virginia Colony. The first settlers suffered from disease and distress due to climate conditions and geography.

In 1618, the General Assembly of Virginia House of  Burgeses held a convention establishing the first governing body in the British colonies. Tobacco later became the most important cash crop. The cultivation of tobacco was labor-intensive, so Virginia planters sought African slave labor to work the crop. The first purchase of an African slave was in 1619. Originally planters promised freedom to African workers after a certain amount of time, in order to pay their dept for coming to the new world. This was pretty uncommon but there were some cases in which some African Americans were able to establish themselves as free working members of the community. In 1620 the first large-scale arrival of women occured in contribution to Virginia’s expansion of settled area. In 1624 Virginia became a Royal colony, and continued developing as an agrarian society with its basic political structure resting in English law.

Unlike colonial ventures for profit, Plymouth was initially settled for religious freedom. Who were the pilgrims that established Plymouth? They were religious separtists who left Europe seeking a new home for their community. In 1620 the Mayflower sailed to the new world by William Bradford who led a group of 102 Pilgrims. The Pilgrims landed in present-day Massachusetts. Since they had no authorization from the crown to settle at Plymouth, the Pilfrims established their own government. The Mayflower Compact established necessary laws to preserve order for the fledgling settlement. This compact, considered by some to be Americas first constitution, may have influenced the Founders during the Revolution.