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Northern American in the Atlantic World


In the period 1640-1720, the mainland colonies who were the Caribbean brought their agricultural and trade experiences to America who increasingly involved themselves in an international trade network leading to expansion of territories and growth of the economy. The fertile lands produced a lot of food products and exported the surplus to the West Indies and Caribbean islands. The slavery business introduction was a step forward changing relations with England, and conflicts with the neighbors shaped the colonial development.

The Growth of Anglo-American Settlements

New York

In 1664, James gave his brother Charles 11 the Duke of York which previously was an area of New Netherland settled by the Dutch. At first, the Netherlands were hesitant to release the land and James’s warships secured off Manhattan Island demanding their surrender. It was until 1674 that the Dutch finally surrendered it to his brother James.

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In the territory that James renamed as New York were many tribes who consisted of the Dutch, Indians, Africans, Scandinavians, Germans, and other Europeans. The Africans were the imported slaves by the Dutch West India who remained in Netherlands as laborers. Recognizing the diversity of the population, James was cautious in his establishment of the English authority. Consequently, he maintained the Dutch local government allowing them to maintain their customary legal practices. Each town chose their church and allowed to support it with tax revenues. It was not until 1683 that James agreed to elect a legislature hence the takeover had little instant effect. Since Duke did not encourage migration, the population growth was very slow.

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New Jersey

The Duke of York granted his land between Hudson and Delaware Rivers, East and West Jersey to his friends Sir George Carteret and John Lord Berkeley. This limited the geographical scope and economic advancement of New York. Furthermore, the Jersey proprietors quickly attracted settlers by promising them land grants, limited religious freedom and a representative assembly. Many New Englanders, Barbadians, Dutch New Yorkers, and Scots migrated to Jersey. By 1726, Jersey possessed 8,000 inhabitants lower than that of New York. Within twenty years, the Society of Friends known as Quakers purchased part of West and East Jersey.


Charles 11 granted the land between Maryland and New York to William Penn. However, Penn offered the land to settlers on generous terms, promising them religious lenience and pledging in order to establish a representative assembly. He contacted settlers by publicizing the availability of land through promotional tracts in Dutch, French, and German. Pennsylvania land was fertile, and this enabled residents to produce bountifully and export the surplus flour and food products to the West Indies. Penn set strict rules on trade regulations such as forbidding the sale of alcohol to Indians. These policies attracted many natives who moved to Pennsylvania in the late 17th century to escape from clashes with the English colonists who were in North Carolina, Maryland, and Virginia.

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This was a land granted by Charles 11 to some proprietors in 1663. The land stretched from Virginia’s southern bounder to Spanish Florida. The land was fertile promoting the growth of silk, figs, and olives. Later, Carolina split into two the Virginia planters occupying the northern side of North Carolina and others who were herders occupying the Southern side of South Carolina.

The Northern settlers concentrated on tobacco cultivation and export of forest products. The Southern settlers reared cattle, which they sold to the Caribbean planters. In addition, they sold deerskins to Europe and practiced slave trade.


After the end of English Civil War, immigration resumed and colonies expanded. Some settlers like the Chesapeake who were tobacco planters began importing great numbers of slaves to work on the farms, which had developed into big plantations. The Chesapeake became a society with slaves due to the slavery that existed there.

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New England

Migration in New England ceased when the Civil War began in 1642. However, the population grew considerably by natural increase and tripled in 1670. However, this increase created pressure on the land available causing migrations in the search for lands. Some of the people moved to New Hampshire or Maine in the north and others to New York and New Jersey to the south where farmlands were available. Those who remained in the densely populated areas received accusations of witchcraft most of the accused being middle aged women.

By the end of the seventeenth century, approximately all the Anglo-American colonies had a governor and an elected or appointed council that advised the governor. In addition, this council served as the upper house of the administration. Each of these colonies had a judiciary leading to the emergence of county courts and local governing bodies.                

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A Decade of Imperial Crisis

Because of the need to control trade and the desire for more farming lands, settlers and Native Americans interests were in conflict; thus, causing wars. New France clashed with Iroquois Confederacy over the control of the fur trade. The Iroquois had acquired this valuable fur trade after fighting hard for it. The battles, which were a result of bitterness for this control, hence started and lasted for twenty years before ending in a neutrality treaty.

Similarly, in 1670 the densely settled New York colonies developed hostility because the Wampanoag with the leadership of King Phillip felt insecurity from the Anglo-American communities surrounding their territory. Thus, this led to a bloody war in New England in 1675-1676. The New Englanders received the victory, and although they were victorious, approximately one-tenth of the white male population were killed or wounded.

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In Virginia, conflict between English settlers and the Indians resulted to a political struggle. Nathaniel Bacon and his followers targeted on seizing the desirable interior lands from the Indians. They started an attack in order to fulfill the desire where they finally pushed the Indians further west.

The Atlantic Trading System

Slavery at that time was the center of trade. Furthermore, the means that helped in the expansion of the trade network between Europe and its colonies. Initially, England did not practice slave trade since the Christians here did not believe in the trade. However, Chesapeake found that his English laborers were not enough to work in the tobacco plantations hence adopted the European style of importing slaves. The slaves whose origin was Africa were purchased by the English, Dutch, French and Spanish planters to ease labor. The increment in labor forces boosted the production and exports of tobacco greatly.

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African slaves brought some skills, which were crucial to the South Carolina’s development. They build dugouts and canoes in the Carolina Rivers to help with transportation. Also, they constructed better fishing nets and used their African techniques to herd cattle. Women slaves were excellent in the rice cultivation, which rapidly became a staple food for the South Carolinas. Slaves of the Caribbean origin used their knowledge on indigo a dye in the textile industry in order to boost the growth of the English textile industry.

The involvement of the Northern colonies in this slave trade resulted in many of the Africans residing there. Occasionally, there was rebellion among the slaves or sometimes they pretend to be ill or run away from their master as a way of resisting them. In English, there were seven major rebellions planned before 1713.

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Imperial Reorganization

England used its colonies for self-sufficiency and still maintained a favorable balance of trade with its trade countries, an economic theory known as mercantilism. The parliament further sought to improve the mercantilist policies by the use of trade laws passed between 1651 and 1673. These laws only allowed the English merchants to trade in the colonies, select American goods sold to England; moreover, other English colonies and goods were to be shipped through England only where related duties were to be paid. Later, colonies were blocked from exporting goods that would compete for market with the English goods.

These rules were unfair to Chesapeake planters since they would not sell staple foods to the foreign countries. Also, it was unfair to the sugar planters in Caribbean because they would not sell their sugar elsewhere. In 1696, parliament aimed to improve the administration over the colonies by establishing the Board of Trade and Plantation.












In this period, Northern America grew considerably due to the establishment of colonies where it was able to practice farming in the plantations. Its involvement in African slave trade brought higher yields in its plantations due to more labor, skills, and knowledge availability. In 1720, nearly all the North America east coast was under the English. Most of people were American born though there were Africans in South Carolina and Chesapeake.

They had vast production of rice, tobacco, and indigo due to the adoption of slaves who brought useful skills in their fields. New England sold corn and wood products to West Indies while the planters shipped sugar and molasses. Pennsylvania and New York sold their livestock, grains, and wheat flour to the Caribbean. An administrative system governing the English colonies had established lasting until 1775. It was later that there was a war due to the conflict of a king and the parliament.

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