What is the difference between the Chesapeake Colonies and the New England Colonies?
The early colonies in the New England and Chesapeake Bay area's similarities included their religion, language and where their loyalty was placed, whereas their differences included life expectancy, education and the center of their societies.
In England, Catholicism was still an on again and off again affair, this pressed many Protestants to leave England and go to the New World in search of freedom. Protestantism had became a more widely accepted faith and England was becoming much steadier in this faith staying with it longer and longer, so this is one of the main reasons as to why England's new world colonies of New England and Chesapeake share this religion.
Which states belonged to each colony?
- East and West New Jersey
New England Colonies
- Massachusetts Bay Colony
- Rhode Island
- New Haven
Shared Language and Beginning of the Colonies
The shared language of the colonies was English, creating a cultural division from south and central American colonies that were colonized by the Spanish and Portuguese. The charters for both the New England colony and the Chesapeake colony where received from the King of England. This common background guaranteed the colonies the same language roots, as the people brought their language with them from England.
Even though the two colonies groups began similarly, the reason for their origin are quite different. The people that settled the New England area did so for religious freedom (most notable the Puritans), but decided that breaking away completely from the crown would not be to their best interest. While the entire reason the Chesapeake Bay area colonies were started was purely capitalistic, as they seeked to bring wealth from the New World back to England.
Virginia is where the British Empire began,... this was the first colony in the British Empire.
— William Kelso
Differences between the colonies
Even though these two colonies shared some similarities, they had even more dissimilarities, such as the extreme difference in their life expectancy. The Chesapeake Bay Colonies where placed in a more sever climate area, and the land chosen to build and farm on was badly chosen. Their water was brackish, mosquitoes swarmed the area, and most of the incoming manpower would not live out their indentured servitude. These factors dramatically lessened the life span of the people. The average man could have expected to live to about the age of 43, while women could live anywhere from about 35 to 38 years. On the other hand, in New England the people settled in a much more moderate climate and lived in a healthier society that was concerned about the other citizens. The New Englanders life span was close to that of modern day.
Education was also another difference in the two societies. New England required any village with 15 families or more to have an elementary school, and then any town with 100 or more families had to build an advanced middle school. The Chesapeake Bay areas had no such laws. In fact, in Virginia they bragged that you couldn't find a printing press in the entire state. Because of this the North had higher literacy rates that would take the Southern Colonies over 100 years to reach.
Written in Bone: Life and Death in Colonial Chesapeake
Town Centers Matter
The placement and design of the towns and villages show the stark differences between what each of the colonies prioritized. While the New Englanders had a strong sense of unity, and had the church and God in the center of their societies, the Chesapeake Bay citizens didn't even have towns to create unity. In fact, they would not have any town of consequence for decades after their northern counterparts.
While these two areas may have had slightly similar beginnings, they evolved into two distinctly separate cultures that in the end became part of the strong American image of Yanks and Southerners.
niall.tubbs on December 08, 2011:
Not much change since then.