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Founding the Thirteen Colonies. Guided Reading Activity Answers. John Cabot.

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founding the thirteen colonies

Founding the Thirteen Colonies

Guided Reading Activity Answers

john cabot
John Cabot

In 1497, just five years after Columbus discovered the New World – and the same year that Vasco De Gama reached India – John Cabot discovered Newfoundland. But England never pursued colonization of the region – it was too far away, and seemingly without resources like gold, silver, or other precious metals.

the puritans
The Puritans

Believing that the Catholic Church was corrupt and impure, the Puritans set out to remove all influence of the Catholic faith from the Church of England – commonly known as the Anglican Church. They sought to “purify” the Anglican Church. They left in order to practice their religion in their own manner.

joint stock company
Joint-Stock Company

Joint stock companies were publically owned businesses which were able to raise large sums of money from individual investors. This way, they could afford the high cost of exploring the New World, while managing the risks economically.

the english spanish rivalry
The English-Spanish Rivalry

The principle reason for the conflict between Spain and England was a difference in religion. The Spanish were Catholics, and they did not consider Elizabeth I of England – a Protestant – to be the legitimate ruler of the islands.

the lost colony at roanoke island
The Lost Colony at Roanoke Island

The “Lost Colony” at Roanoke Island was established in 1587 by Sir Walter Raleigh. In the autumn, a group from the Colony took to the seas to get supplies from England. Because of the fight against the Spanish Armada (1588) they were unable return to “The Lost Colony” until 1590. When they returned, the only sign of the colony was a carving in a nearby tree that read:


the virginia company of london
The Virginia Company of London

The Virginia Company of London owned and established Jamestown in 1607. The colony was built along the James River in present day Virginia. The swampy land it was established upon turned out to be both unhealthy and difficult to improve. During the first years of the venture, the colonists came very close to being wiped out.

indentured servitude seven years of labor in exchange for free land
Indentured Servitude: Seven Years of Labor in Exchange for Free Land

The Virginia Company of London was desperate for any kind of laborers. The gentlemen and aristocrats who had settled the colony simply refused to work. Starving the colonists were forced to eat dogs, cats, rats, mice, and then, horrifyingly, the corpses of the newly dead…


King James described tobacco as a “vile stinking weed – bitter, stinking fumes – baleful to the nose, harmful to the brain, and dangerous to the lungs.” He might also have described it as addictive, easy to sell profitably, and the salvation of the Jamestown colony. Tobacco products have been killing Americans ever since, and the money keeps flowing in!

the house of burgesses
The House of Burgesses

Although it was not especially democratic, the House of Burgesses was a critical step towards democratic self-government in Virginia. In 1618, the Virginia Company allowed the colonists to elect a lawmaking body. Twenty representatives – two per township – were allowed to vote on a range of issues. Elections to replace these representatives were few and far between.

the powhatan invasion of 1622
The Powhatan Invasion of 1622

The Powhatan tribe, which by this time was led by Opechancanough, attacked Jamestown in 1622, because the flood of new immigrants were encroaching upon their lands and taxing the resources of the region in such a way as to damage the quality of life in the region. The attack was successful; however, destroying food supplies and killing over 350 colonists; nevertheless, Jamestown survived.

maryland a haven for catholics
Maryland: A Haven for Catholics

Maryland was established as a haven for Catholics in 1632. George Calvert – Lord Baltimore – was granted the land to create the colony by the Protestant King Charles of England. Because so many of the colonists who went to Maryland were Protestant, the colony soon passed an act guaranteeing limited religious freedom.

the act of toleration 1649
The Act of Toleration (1649)

The degree to which any group of colonists was actually “tolerant” is a questionable affair. In the case of Maryland’s Act of Toleration of 1649, the religious freedom only extended as far as Christianity. Denying the divinity of Jesus would be a crime punishable by death.

plymouth 1620 the mayflower compact
Plymouth, 1620: The Mayflower Compact

The colony of Plymouth was created by the Pilgrims in 1620. Before they ever stepped off the ship, they expanded the nature of democratic participation in government by signing the Mayflower Compact – agreeing that the community would support one another, and that everyone would be allowed to participate in government.

twenty thousand puritans join a city upon a hill
Twenty Thousand Puritans Join “A City Upon a Hill.”

In describing Massachusetts Bay Colony as “A City Upon a Hill,” Reverend John Winthrop meant to suggest to his followers that their model of Christianity should be an example for others to follow in future generations. Whether or not they were successful is an open question, but they certainly arrived in large numbers. Over 20,000 arrived in New England by the year 1643.

theocracy the rules of puritan new england
Theocracy: The Rules of Puritan New England
  • No Gambling
  • No Blasphemy Banishment and even

death may be used as

  • No Adultery punishment for those

who contradicted

  • No Drunkenness Puritan laws.
  • No Heretics
rhode island
Rhode Island

Established by heretics Roger Williams and later Anne Hutchinson, the colony of Rhode Island made freedom of religion part of the colony’s charter. Rhode Island has had a reputation for valuing dissent ever since. The illustration above shows Roger Williams making his way South from Massachusetts to Rhode Island.

connecticut the fundamental orders of connecticut
Connecticut – The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut

Thomas Hooker established this new colony in 1636, seeking a colony which would allow suffrage and the right to participate in government for all men – not just church members.

wars with native american peoples
Wars with Native American Peoples

The Pequot War

King Philip’s War

new amsterdam
New Amsterdam

When it was first founded, the economy was invested in the fur trade. It was profitable, but only sparsely populated. But in the middle 1600s, the Dutch began allowing anyone from any nation to purchase land here. As a result, the colony was extremely diverse in its population, and it grew rapidly.

new york
New York

After a virtually bloodless coup, the newly named New York – an English colony now – became the center of commerce and trade in America.

william penn and quaker pennsylvania
William Penn and Quaker Pennsylvania

William Penn was the recipient of a debt that was owed to his father by Charles II. The reigning monarch of England granted Penn the land where he would found the colony of Pennsylvania. Seeking to create a land of complete political and religious freedom, Penn carefully planned out the colony and the capital city (at the time) Philadelphia.

tenets of the quaker faith
Tenets of the Quaker Faith:

No need for ministers.

The Bible was less important that individual’s “inner light.”

Religious toleration was essential.

Quakers always opposed war.

the carolinas before the plantation system
The Carolinas – Before the Plantation System

Before plantations were established, settlers in North Carolina made a living by growing and selling tobacco. In South Carolina, settlers sold deer skins and attempted to start a slave trade by selling Native Americans captured as prisoners of war. Neither proved profitable. Rice, indigo, and tobacco plantations would prove much more profitable.


Georgia was established in the 1730s – long after most of the other colonies had been settled – in order to create a debtor’s community in an advantageous spot. In addition to serving as a debtor’s colony, Georgia was also a buffer from the English’s most feared rival – at the moment – Spain.

Georgia was located in between the prized plantation colony of South Carolina – where rice, indigo, and tobacco were actually profitable – and Spanish controlled Florida. The Spanish were constantly attempting to undermine the stability of English Colonies in the New World.