The English Colonies
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Reasons for Colonization

The English explored and conquered their part of the new world and did not settle down until a century after the Spanish had done so. The English colonized North America for many reasons; some individual groups wanted a place to start over and to create a perfect society. At the time of colonies England was being over populated, it was convenient to send some of those people away. Money was of course a reason for England's colonization, at this time the idea of mercantilism was developed which influenced England to send over settlers to accumulate wealth so they did not have their power as a nation taken from underneath. The American colonies gave back natural resources which have been previously bought from other countries. Many people came to America to establish their utopia, some to escape religious persecution and others to make their old religion better. The Puritans wanted the new religion of England to be more pure to the roots of Catholicism and less Protestant. The Puritans left England to establish their own church in America.

First Colonies

external image jamestown.jpg The first permanent English settlement was established at Jamestown Virginia in 1607. Before Jamestown there were several unsuccessful attempts at colonizing North America. The reason why the English did not colonize right after discovering the new world, was that they were afraid of the Spanish. The Spanish were the most powerful empire, already having colonies in the Americas, and they had the largest navy. It wasn’t until the Spanish had a naval offensive against the English to bring them back to Catholicism, when the English were forced to fight back and in doing so won. Now the English felt safe to travel via sea and weren't afraid of what the Spanish would do if they settled in America. The first exposition to establish a colony was in 1583, although land was claimed for England the sailors that got there became lost at sea when they went exploring other areas of the land. Another unsuccessful attempt at colonization took place in Roanoke where they established a colony. The English sent reinforcements to the island to find their settlement destroyed by the natives. After several failed attempts and a new ruler, England had success in a northern area of North America. The new ruler was King James I, he issued a charter that gave two groups exclusive rights to colonize. The London company got the rights to colonize the south and the Plymouth group had rights to the north. Plymouth was successful in establishing the first permanent colony, they named it after the king, the settlement was Jamestown. Now with a settlement the English could start to colonize and become the empire that they dreamed of when they first heard of the new world.

A Survey: American History by Allan Brinkley