The colonists of New England left their homeland for multiple reasons but I believe the most constant, was the financial opportunity that the new world offered. In fact, English leadership, French, Dutch, and the Portuguese all seemed quite fed-up with the Spanish reaping all of the financial benefits of the new world.England claimed that it needed to spread the proper doctrine of Christianity as the Spanish were incapable of doing so correctly. In addition, most of Europe despised or at least officially despised the treatment of the indigenous americans. Regardless of the atrocious treatment of the indigenous people, the rest of Europe was missing out on the money to be made in the new world, and most of Europe began to complete with Spain.Most of the early settlers of New England came for the obvious monetary opportunity but also for religious reasons as we can clearly see from John Winthrop’s (1630) work in City upon a hill . As detailed in The American Yawp, many French settlers left after protestantism was criminalized in the motherland.
Furthermore, the French came for profits and trade, and not necessarily to colonize. Because of this there was a higher level of cooperation w/ the native americans. For instance, French Missionaries lived alongside the Huron indians, while the Spanish preferred the native americans to reside in their missionaries.Like the French, the Dutch were more interested in the profit motive of the new world, rather than the possibility of taking over physical space.Portugal, like England had a very strong rivalry with Spain. They also wanted a bite of the new world, and sent settlers to modern day Brazil for its sugar, gold, and silver. The portuguese also created one of the largest slave trades in the new world.The english created its first colony in a place they named Jamestown in current day Virginia.
As described in The American Yawp, the English settlers chose a location 40 miles up the James river. They chose this location because of the lack of indigenous people there. What they failed to realize was that this was because the soil was terrible for farming. In my opinion this is the first indicator that the settlers were not prepared. Out of all the men brought to Jamestown no one seemed to have significant farming knowledge; At least not enough knowledge to identify the lacking farmable land. In addition to the lacking soil, the water wasn’t completely fresh water, or completely salt water, but something in-between. Due to this, there was a higher likelihood of diseases and contamination.Within nine months, one half of all of the Jamestown settlers had died.
The conditions only worsened. During the winter the englishmen were so hungry they dug up corpses of their starven allies and consumed them. Although I believe it fair to say they were wholesomely unprepared, it was only made worse by factors that may not have been avoidable.
English ships bringing resources were sometimes lost at sea. In addition, the cultures between the native Powhatan Indians and the English in Jamestown were completely different. The understanding of property ownership between European settlers and the indigenous Americans was not the same and led to misunderstandings around New England throughout american history and even into modern day America.
REFERENCE:(The American Yawp)Erin Bonuso et al, “Colliding Cultures,” Ben Wright and Joseph L. Locke, eds. The American Yawp, Joseph L.
Locke and Ben Wright, ads., last modified August 1, 2017, http://www.AmericanYawp.comWinthrop , J. (2016). City Upon a Hill.
Retrieved January 11, 2018, from http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/