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In the Classroom > Course Overview > Unit Overview > Lesson 1
Lesson 1
Settlements in the New Land

Outside forces Impacted on the New World during the 1680-1720 period. Although promoters of colonial enterprises emphasized political or religious reasons for settlement, the establishment of the colonies were often motivated by business ventures. Early relations with the Native Peoples centered mainly on trade, which after a time had the effect of destabilizing economy and culture of the native Peoples. After large population decreases caused by wide spread diseases, such as smallpox and typhus, brought by the Europeans, the New World became a probable location for European settlement. Actions by Charles I of England in 1625 against the Puritans, the economic depressions of the cloth industry in southern England, as well as crop failures paved the way for the "Great Migration" of the English in the 1630's. The English settled first in Virginia, and later in Massachusetts. These English settlers occupied Indian lands and altered their surroundings to suit their needs, pushing out the Native Peoples.

The English brought with them the religious traditions of the Anglican church in Virginia and the Congregational in New England. Both churches were supported principally by the taxes of the local or state governments and enjoyed a dominant position in the colonies during this period.

Spain had settled in the southwest, claiming what was to become Mexico and part of what is now southwestern United States. Spain also had established a colony in Florida. Her efforts were to create a northern boundary and impose the culture of Spain and the Catholic religion on the inhabitants. Although the endeavor was not successful, the Spanish influence still remains in the culture of the southwest.

France was the dominant power in Europe, though it had a few scattered colonies in Canada. Political upheavals and a series of wars in Europe weakened the powers of England, Spain and the Netherlands. England sought to solidify its power in the colonies by forming alliances and keeping France out of the New World. By the end of the series of European Wars (Queen Ann's War in the Americas), France had lost control of Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Hudson Bay to the English. Still to be decided was the territory south of the St. Laurence River claimed by the French.

When discussing the comparison of the paintings, talk about the need of the English to create order out of chaos. The English sought to order the frontier by carefully designing the settlement arrangements using proprietors, rather than a non-ordered settlement pattern. Similarities to English houses, gardens, and furniture are obvious. Systems were developed to ensure an orderliness to the settlement and continued occupation of the settled area.


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