John Rolfe - saved Jamestown by developing a desirable strain of tobacco in 1614 (by mixing American and West Indies plants) - cash crop that made Jamestown/Virginia profitable - cultivated through the Chesapeake Region, including Maryland - Rolfe married Pocahontas and brought temporary peace between the Powhaton and Jamestown
Indentured Servants - The Chesapeake colonies suffered from a labor shortage - Land owners contracted with poorer Englishmen to come and work in America. - Servants would contract to work, commonly for seven years, in exchange for transportation to America - At the end of their ‘indenture’ the servants would become free men
Headright System - for each worker a landowner brought to Virginia they would receive 50 acres of land - made some landowners rich after they brought in more workers Neither indentured servants or headrights provided enough tobacco workers
First Africans in Virginia - In 1619 African servants were bought from a Dutch ship and became the first Africans in English North America - Those who survived became free men
Virginia House of Burgesses - The first legislative body in English America was formed in 1619
Anglo-Powhatan Wars - Between 1609 and 1613 the English & Powhatan were constantly at war - Fighting began again in 1622, after Pocahontas’ death, with a deadly Powhatan surprise attack - an unsuccessful attempt to drive out the English - Fighting continued off and on for more than twenty years - Another attempt to drive out the English, in 1644, led the colonists to aggressively counter-attack and finally destroy the power of the Powhatan in Virginia by 1646
Royal Colony - 1625 - After the 1622 conflict with the Powhatan and the discovery of corruption in the Virginia Company James I dissolved its charter and made Virginia a Royal Colony
Population grows in Virginia Initially the population of Virginia grew slowly because there were a limited number of women in the colony. By the mid-1600’s the population and tobacco production increased, making the colony profitable. However, their economy was dependent on the price of tobacco, and when prices fell, the people of Virginia suffered economically. Indentured servants provided most of the labor force, but after their indentures ended, most workers moved to the frontier and tried to establish their own farms and communities.
Bacon's Rebellion - In 1675-6 Poor Virginians, on the frontier, former indentured servants and their descendents, asked the government to help them fight against American Indian tribes to secure more land - Virginia’s Governor Berkeley and the Jamestown government worked for the benefit of rich coastal planters and refused to help - English aristocrat Nathanial Bacon formed a militia and marched to Jamestown - The government refused to assist them, fighting broke out, the town was burned and the government fled.
Bacon's Rebellion (cont’d) - Bacon became ill and died of dysentery and the Rebellion fell apart. - Berkeley harshly punished the rebels, executing so many of them he was recalled by the King. - Nonetheless, Virginia’s government came to realize that the interests of all Virginians must be considered, not just the elite. - Virginia planters also increasingly turned to more easily controlled slave labor instead of the potential trouble that more indentured servants would bring
Maryland – (1634) - Lord Baltimore established it as a haven for English Catholics on the Chesapeake Bay - A proprietary colony - economy based on tobacco and indentured servants Act of Toleration passed by Maryland in 1649 - gave religious freedom to all christians