The Colonization of Virginia - North American Colonies

The North American Colonies till their Separation from Britain

(Taken from The British Empire in the Nineteenth Century, Volume I., Chapter II., 1898, by Edgar Sanderson)

Britain begins her colonial dominion—Sir Walter Raleigh—Colonization of Virginia by the London and Plymouth Companies—The slave-trade introduced—The "Pilgrim Fathers"—Birth of "New England"—The Dutch claim "New Netherland"—End of Dutch sway—The Thirteen Colonies—General Oglethorpe's emigration plans—Progress of the colonies—Their differences in social character—The quarrel with Great Britain—Attempt to impose taxes—Faneuil Hall and Boston Harbour—Beginning of the Revolutionary War—General Washington—Surrender of General Burgoyne at Saratoga—Surrender of Lord Cornwallis—Paul Jones and the privateers—Independence acknowledged by Britain—Constitution of the United States—The first president and first ambassador—Progress of the cotton cultivation.

It was in the later Tudor days and in early Stuart times that Britain fairly began to found a colonial dominion, and to have her people living on both shores of the Atlantic. In religious dissension, in the desire for extended trade, and in other sources of action, the causes and motives of emigration are to be discovered. Under Elizabeth, Sir Walter Raleigh, soldier, mariner, poet, courtier, prose writer, scholar, and gentleman-adventurer, made vain attempts to found settlements in the great undefined territory called, from the unwedded queen, "Virginia". The art of smoking tobacco was the solitary trophy of Raleigh's enterprises in North America, but he had shown the way for later efforts. The matter was taken in hand by trading corporations, and early in his reign, James the First gave charters for the colonization of Virginia to the London Company and the Plymouth Company. The London merchants were to have the region between the 34th and 38th degrees of latitude; the men of Plymouth were to be masters of the soil, in what was then styled "North Virginia", between the 41st and 45th degrees.

In 1607 a colony sent out by the London Company made at Jamestown, on the river named in honour of the king, the … continue reading »

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