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Chapter 2 – European Colonies in America. Section Notes. Video. European Colonies in America. European Settlements in North America The English in Virginia The Northern Colonies The Middle and Southern Colonies. Maps. European Explorations of the Americas, 1492–1682

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Chapter 2 – European Colonies in America

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Chapter 2 – European Colonies in America

Section Notes


European Colonies in America

European Settlements in North America

The English in Virginia

The Northern Colonies

The Middle and Southern Colonies


European Explorations of the Americas, 1492–1682

A Foothold in the New World

Northern Colonies

Middle and Southern Colonies

History Close-up

Plymouth Colony

Quick Facts


The English Colonies in the America

Visual Summary: European Colonies in America

The Spanish in America

Jamestown and Plymouth

Pocahontas Engraving

Pocahontas by Henry Brueckner

european settlements in north america
European Settlements in North America
  • The Main Idea
  • In the 1500s and 1600s, European nations, led by Spain, continued to explore, claim territory, and build settlements in America.
  • Reading Focus
  • Which Spanish conquistadors explored North America, and what were they seeking?
  • How did Spain build an empire?
  • What other nations explored North America?
spanish conquistadors
Spanish explorers of the 1500s were called conquistadors, Spanish for “conquerors.” They traveled to spread Christianity, find wealth, and win fame.

Ponce de León explored Puerto Rico and became its governor.

In 1513, he left to search for gold and a “fountain of youth.” He was the first Spanish explorer to touch mainland North America when he landed on the Florida coast.

Hernán Cortés landed in Mexico to conquer the Aztec Empire.

Was successful with the help of the Aztecs’ enemies that he had gathered as his allies

Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca traveled from the present-day Texas coast near Galveston through New Mexico and Arizona, then down the Mexican Pacific coast. His tales may have given rise to the legend of Seven Golden Cities of Cíbola, cities rich in gold.

Spanish Conquistadors
spanish conquistadors1
Expeditions in search of the Seven Cities legend

Hernando de Soto explored from Florida to the Carolinas and Tennessee. He was the first European to see the Mississippi River. Also explored Arkansas

Francisco Vásquez conquered the Pueblo peoples. Then his group split up; one of his men was the first European to see the Grand Canyon. The others traveled to present-day Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas.

Juan Cabrillo explored the coast of California.

The Spanish never found gold in the American Southwest, so they turned their attention to mining in Mexico.

Pedro Menendez de Avilés founded St. Augustine in Florida. Today it is the oldest city in the United States.

Spanish Conquistadors
spain builds an empire
The government of Spain established colonial governments while conquistadors were exploring North America.

Spain set up viceroyalties, provinces that were ruled by a representative of the monarch.

New Spain was a viceroyalty and included much of the American Southwest and present-day Mexico, Florida, Central America, part of Venezuela, and some Caribbean islands.

Spain Builds an Empire
spain builds an empire1
Social Structure

Peninsulares: people who came from Spain. Considered themselves superior to the creoles

Creoles: people born in the Americas of pure Spanish descent

Mestizos: mixed Spanish and Native American descent

Lowest on social scale were people of mixed Spanish and African descent, pure-blooded Indians, and Africans

Catholic missionaries ran missions and taught Native Americans Christianity, European farming, herding, and crafts.

Land and Labor

Spain tried to use Native Americans as laborers, encomienda system

Many laborers were worked to death on huge estates called haciendas.

As Native American population declined from disease and ill treatment, landowners came to depend on African slaves for labor.

Spain Builds an Empire
spain builds an empire2
The Pueblo Revolt

Juan de Oñate was sent to settle New Mexico in 1598.

Missionaries wanted all native religions replaced by Christianity.

In 1680 the Pueblo Indians, led by a shaman named Popé, revolted in Santa Fe to take back their ways of life.

Many villagers joined the revolt.

After a 10-day siege, the Spanish settlers fled.

Popé tried to restore their traditional ways and wipe out all traces of Spanish culture.

In 1692 Spanish soldiers retook Santa Fe.

Spain Builds an Empire
other nations explore
Other Nations Explore
  • In 1497 King Henry VII of England sent John Cabot, an Italian navigator, on an exploration voyage.
  • Cabot landed in Newfoundland and claimed it for England. He thought he was in Asia.
  • Sebastian Cabot, John’s son, launched a voyage looking for a Northwest Passage to the Pacific Ocean, creating a shorter sea route to Asia.
other nations explore1
Other Nations Explore
  • England’s Navy
  • Queen Elizabeth I built England into a sea power.
  • Sir Francis Drake circumnavigated the globe while plundering Spanish ships and towns on the Pacific coast of South America.
  • Spanish Armada sent to invade England was defeated by superior English navy
  • New France
  • 1524 Giovanni da Verrazano explored for France along coast from present-day Carolinas to Maine.
  • Jacques Cartier discovered St. Lawrence River.
  • Samuel de Champlain founded France’s first permanent settlement in New World.
  • Sieur de la Salle claimed land from Great Lakes to mouth of Mississippi.
  • New Netherland
  • In 1609 the Dutch sent Henry Hudson to search for a Northwest Passage. He found what is now called the Hudson River.
  • The Dutch claimed territory along the Atlantic coast.
  • The colony of New Netherland drew settlers from all over northern Europe.
the english in virginia
The English in Virginia
  • The Main Idea
  • After several failures, the English established a permanent settlement at Jamestown, Virginia.
  • Reading Focus
  • Why were the first English colonies established?
  • What helped the Jamestown colony survive?
  • How did Virginia grow and change during the 1600s?
the first english colonies
English settlers had many reasons to come to the New World.

There were economic problems in England, and many wanted new opportunities.

English farm workers were unemployed, and small farmers were struggling.

In the wealthy class, large plots of land had been divided among heirs for years until land was scarce.

Young men who did not inherit land were looking for adventure.

King James issued a charter that divided America between the Plymouth Company and the London Company.

The two groups were joint-stock companies. They were to govern and maintain the colonies. Profits from the colonies went back to the companies’ investors.

The First English Colonies
the jamestown colony
The First Settlers

In 1606 the London Company sent three ships and 144 men to Virginia. 100 survived the crossing.

They built Jamestown 60 miles up the James River.

Site was low and swampy, filled with malaria-carrying mosquitoes.

Jamestown was in the territory of the Powhatan Confederacy, led by Powhatan.

Water supply wasn’t safe; some settlers died of malaria or dysentery from drinking it.

Other settlers became too weak to work, while others spent more time looking for treasure than for food.

Many were English gentlemen, unused to physical labor.

Only 38 were alive when more English colonists arrived.

The Jamestown Colony
the jamestown colony1
Captain John Smith helped trade for food with the Native Americans, built houses, and explored the area.

When the Powhatans captured him and were about to kill him, Powhatan’s daughter, Pocahontas, intervened. Later she helped keep the peace between the Powhatans and the colonists.

In 1608 Smith became the leader of Jamestown.

Organized raids to steal food from the Indians

Imposed a law that if a man wanted to eat, he had to work

More settlers came in 1609. That winter was called the starving time because the Indians, who were angry about the food raids, killed the settlers’ livestock and prevented them from hunting.

The Jamestown Colony
the jamestown colony2
Growing tobacco finally made Jamestown profitable.

John Rolfe was the first settler to grow tobacco.

Rolfe and Pocahontas married. Their marriage secured peace between the settlers and the Powhatans.

Conflicts with Powhatans arose by 1622. Both Pocahontas and Powhatan were dead.

The English farmers were taking over more Indian lands to farm tobacco.

In 1622 the Indians launched a surprise attack on Jamestown, killing many settlers, including John Rolfe.

Attacks persisted for twenty more years.

The Jamestown Colony
virginia grows and changes
The Virginia Company offered headrights, 50-acre grants of land. There were various ways to obtain them

The company brought in skilled artisans to help the economy grow

The company also sent 100 women to marry the colonists and make society more stable

The Virginia Company formed America’s first legislature, the House of Burgesses.

Members were white male landowners.

This group had the power to raise taxes and make laws.

Virginia Grows and Changes
  • The majority of colonial workers were indentured servants.
  • They were contracted to work for a certain number of years. When the contract was up, they were free to go.
  • By the late 1600s, there were fewer indentured servants.
  • Landowners saw advantages to using slaves, such as not having to pay slaves like indentured servants.
virginia grows and changes1
Virginia Grows and Changes

Conflicts among settlers

  • Settlers on the frontier wanted to push farther westward, into Indian lands.
  • The governor, Sir William Berkeley, wanted good relations with the Native Americans to protect his fur trade with them. Wealthy frontier tobacco planter, Nathaniel Bacon, formed an army after one of his workers was killed in an Indian attack.
  • Bacon’s army attacked Jamestown, which was burned in the fight. The governor fled.
  • Bacon’s Rebellion collapsed after Bacon suddenly became ill and died.
  • As a result, the House of Burgesses opened more frontier land.
the northern colonies
The Northern Colonies
  • The Main Idea
  • The pilgrims founded colonies in Massachusetts based on Puritan religious ideals, while dissent led to the founding of other New England colonies.
  • Reading Focus
  • Why did the Puritans flee England?
  • How did dissent among the Puritans threaten the New England colonies?
  • What was life like in New England?
puritans flee to freedom
Puritans wanted to “purify” the Church of England.

Wanted simpler church service

Objected to the wealth and power of bishops

Separatists were more strict Puritans.

Wanted to remove all traces of Catholicism from their religion

Wanted total separation from the Church of England

Church of England was the official church of the land.

English subjects required to attend services and pay taxes to support the church

Dissenters were fined and put in prison

Puritans Flee to Freedom
puritans flee to freedom1
Plymouth Colony

Some English Separatists moved to the Netherlands in 1608.

Their children were becoming more Dutch than English.

War with Spain seemed near. They were ready to move to the New World.

Led by William Bradford, 35 Separatists joined 66 others on the Mayflower in 1620.

Their sponsor, the Virginia Company, intended they land near the Hudson River. They landed instead at Cape Cod.

Founded Plymouth Colony south of present-day Boston

Colony never grew very large

Massachusetts Bay Colony

Puritan merchants formed the Massachusetts Bay Company.

In 1630 John Winthrop set out with 11 ships and 700 people for New England.

This colony grew faster than Plymouth. Other towns were established nearby.

Massachusetts General Court was formed.

Success of Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay colonies inspired the Great Migration.

Over 20,000 English men and women came to settle in New England.

Puritans Flee to Freedom
dissent among the puritans
Dissenters left the Massachusetts Bay Colony and settled new towns.

Thomas Hooker, a Puritan minister, and his congregation settled in the Connecticut River Valley. They adopted America’s first written constitution: the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut. It extended voting rights to all free men, not just church members.

Roger Williams, a Separatist minister who believed in religious tolerance and the separation of church and government. Bought land from the Narragansetts to establish Providence, now Rhode Island

Anne Hutchinson believed that people did not need a minister’s teachings to be spiritual. Was imprisoned, tried, and banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony

Hutchinson’s brother-in-law left Massachusetts to start a settlement in present-day New Hampshire. In 1679 it became a royal colony, under direct control of the king.

Dissent among the Puritans
life in new england
Life in New England
  • Massachusetts General Court passed education laws.
  • Girls learned reading, writing, and some arithmetic.
  • Boys had more education opportunities. By the 1700s Harvard and Yale colleges were available to them.


  • By late 1700s most colonies were royal colonies. In town meetings church members and land owners voted on town matters.


  • Colonists became less dependent on the Indians for survival. The Native Americans now had guns.
  • Some Puritans felt it was their duty to drive the Native Americans out or kill them.
  • Land conflicts were behind the Pequot War and King Philip’s War. Both wars nearly wiped out the Native Americans involved.


the middle and southern colonies
The Middle and Southern Colonies
  • The Main Idea
  • Events in England during and after the English Civil War led to a new wave of colonization along the Atlantic coast south of New England.
  • Reading Focus
  • What brought about a new era of colonization in America?
  • Why were new southern colonies founded?
  • Why did the Quakers settle Pennsylvania?
  • Why was Maryland founded?
a new era of colonization
A New Era of Colonization
  • After the English Civil War, the reign of Charles II was called the Restoration because it restored the English monarchy.
  • Charles repaid political favors by establishing proprietary colonies, grants of land to loyal friends. Four new colonies were established: New York, New Jersey, Carolina, and Pennsylvania.
    • Colonies were governed by their Lords Proprietors.
  • The king granted the Duke of York land that included the area already claimed by the Dutch as New Netherland. Their town, New Amsterdam, was thriving.
  • In 1664 an English fleet sailed into the harbor and demanded New Netherland’s surrender. Gov. Stuyvesant surrendered.
  • By 1674 New Netherland was firmly in English hands.
  • The duke renamed it New York.
puritans flee to freedom2
New York

Had a diversified population: English, Dutch, Scandinavians, Germans, French, Native Americans, and enslaved Africans

Grew and prospered under English rule

A treaty with the Iroquois protected the fur trade.

The Duke of York gave the land south of the Hudson River to two of his political allies. They named it New Jersey.

By early 1700s, New York and New Jersey became royal colonies.

Puritans Flee to Freedom
new southern colonies
The Carolinas

Was co-owned by eight men

Gave themselves large estates

Some people had to pay to bring in boatloads of settlers.

Southern Carolina

Had a port in Charles Town

Had prosperous estates of aristocrats

Plantation owners from West Indies moved there with their enslaved Africans.

Northern Carolina settlers were small farmers without slaves.

They did not have a good harbor.


James Oglethorpe, humanitarian and member of English Parliament, wanted debtors to have a new start in life instead of going to prison.

He and 20 other trustees received a charter to settle Georgia.

In 1733 he founded city of Savannah, Georgia, with a boatload of colonists.

The trustees governed but did not own land or expect a profit.

Georgia’s population included former debtors, impoverished British craftspeople, religious refugees from Germany and Switzerland.

By 1770 nearly half of the population was made of enslaved Africans.

New Southern Colonies
quakers settle pennsylvania
Of all the Nonconformist groups, the Quakers upset people the most.

They believed in direct, personal communication with God; they had no ministers or hierarchy of priests and bishops.

They had simple meetings where their members rose to speak.

They believed in the equality of all men and women.

They were pacifists who refused to fight in wars.

They were only welcomed in Rhode Island.

Quakers Settle Pennsylvania
quakers settle pennsylvania1
A tolerant colony

William Penn named his colony Pennsylvania and named the city Philadelphia, Greek for “City of Brotherly Love.”

In the 1600s, wars in Europe ruined farms and trade, and religious clashes caused social upheaval.

Penn offered refuge for Quakers and others suffering religious persecution. He offered opportunities and land at reasonable prices.

German Protestant sects such as the Amish and Mennonites moved to Pennsylvania. French Protestants, called Huguenots, settled there, too.

Quakers Settle Pennsylvania
In 1638 small colony of Swedes settled near present-day Wilmington, Delaware

In 1655 the Dutch took over New Sweden.

Later the colony was seized by England.

William Penn persuaded the duke of York to make him the proprietor of an area along the Delaware River and bay.

This was the area that would later became the colony of Delaware.

Control of this waterway gave Pennsylvania access to the Atlantic Ocean

the founding of maryland
The Founding of Maryland
  • The founding of the Church of England as the nation’s official church made life difficult for Roman Catholics living there.
  • Some English Catholics were influential.
  • George Calvert, the first Lord Baltimore, converted to Catholicism, and it ended his career.
  • He wanted land in America, as a haven for Catholics and for personal wealth.
  • Calvert founded a settlement in Canada, but it was too cold for him.
  • He tried to move to Jamestown, but was banned because of his religion.
  • He asked King Charles for land around Chesapeake Bay.
  • Calvert died before the land was granted, but his son received the rights and founded Maryland.
  • Because of clashes between Catholics and Protestants, the Toleration Act was passed to protect the right of all Christians to practice their religion in Maryland.