History of the Massachusetts Bay Colony – History of Massachusetts Blog
The cross-cutting relationships between ethnicity and political organization are complex Just as Native American experiences during the early colonial period must be of labour and depressing wages; mass expulsions of Jews and Protestants France was almost constantly at war during the 15th and 16th centuries. Massachusetts Bay Colony was a British settlement in Massachusetts in the 17th century. . Growing resentment between Native Americans and settlers . “At the end of what was known in America as the French and Indian. The second, larger Puritan colony of Massachusetts Bay was conceived as a "city Like their Spanish and French Catholic rivals, English Puritans in America by English authorities for converted Native Americans and to adopt the Puritan.
It is a multifaceted story of dynamic cultures that in turn spawned intricate economic relationships and complex political alliances. Through it all, the relationship of First Peoples to the land has remained a central theme.
Though Native Americans of the region today known as New England share similar languages and cultures, known as Eastern Algonquian, they are not one political or social group. Rather, they comprised and still comprise many sub-groups. For example, the Pequots and Mohegans live in Connecticut, the Wampanoag reside in southeastern Massachusetts, while the Pocumtucks dwelt in the middle Connecticut River Valley near today's Deerfield, Massachusetts.
This knowledge, imparted in the form of stories, includes the group's history, information on origins, beliefs and moral lessons. Oral tradition communicates rituals, political tenets, and organizational information.
It is a vital element in maintaining the group's unity and sense of identity. Creation stories, for example, help to define for the listener a sense of how human beings relate to the Creator and to the world. A creation story of the Pocumtucks explains the origin of the Pocumtuck Range, located in present-day Deerfield, and Sunderland, Massachusetts. The story tells of a huge lake in which lived a rapacious giant beaver. The people complained to the god Hobomok that the beaver was attacking them and consuming all of the local resources.
Hobomok decided to kill the beaver. Following a titanic struggle, Hobomok vanquished the beaver with a club fashioned from an enormous tree. The body of the beaver sank into the lake, turned to stone, and formed the Pocumtuck Range. Such stories and their settings establish the Native American presence on this land from time immemorial by relating how the Creator placed the First Peoples in their traditional homelands.
Homelands are stable and permanent cultural and physical landscapes where Native nations have lived, and in some cases, continue to live to the present day. Creation stories thus reflect the central place their relationship with the land occupies in the culture and history of Native peoples.
Certain sites within a homeland might hold special meaning and thus serve as important gathering places or focal points. For example, in the Pocumtuck homeland, Peskeompscut Falls today known as Turners Falls served as an important fishing area and meeting ground.
Sugarloaf is the focal point of the creation story that describes the origin of the Pocumtuck range. Today, the town of Deerfield, Massachusetts lies at the heart of the Pocumtuck people's homeland. Pocumtucks were part of a network of Algonquian communities in the middle Connecticut River Valley. Settlements lined the middle Connecticut River. In addition to the Pocumtuck, the Norwottuck homeland lay near present-day Northampton and Hadley, the Sokokis near Northfield, the Agawams around Agawam, Woronocos near West Springfield, and the Nipmuc homeland lay in central Massachusetts.
These peoples were linked culturally, linguistically, politically, and through kinship.French Colonization of North America (New France Colonial America APUSH) @TomRichey
These Algonquian communities together constituted a formidable power in Southern New England Melvoin Numerous trails and waterways connected these settlements with each other, facilitating intricate and extensive trade networks. Algonquians also traded with other peoples living to the west, north and south. The fertile soil and plentiful game fostered a prosperous society that enjoyed a robust economy and a stable political structure.
Eastern Algonquian people resided in different parts of their homeland at different times according to their needs. They often lived in smaller groupings connected by a network of trails or waterways. Environmental rhythms, kinship networks and ceremonial requirements together formed a calendar that regulated their movements. For example, a group might move to a location nearby to clear new land for their fields once agricultural land became exhausted. They also often located near good hunting or fishing areas.
Groups at times might break up into smaller family units that would leave a village to hunt in other parts of their homeland. People also relocated to more protected areas with the colder weather.
Archaeological evidence suggests that Native people of Southern New England Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island began growing corn over one thousand years ago. In addition to this staple, they cultivated many other plants, including kidney beans, squash, Jerusalem artichoke, and tobacco. The shorter growing season of northern New England led Algonquians living in this region Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine to trade with groups to the south to supplement their food supply.
Like their counterparts in many Native nations throughout the continent, Algonquian women worked together to cultivate common fields, as well as harvesting, preserving and preparing food. They also helped to construct their homes and produced many household accessories.
Algonquian men hunted, fished, made tools and protected their communities. Working communally and dividing responsibilities along age and gender lines enabled Native groups to accomplish many necessary tasks such as building canoes and homes. Significantly, a good deal of children's work and play revolved around activities that helped them to develop the communal and physical skills they would need as adults.
Such activities included keeping crows out of the cornfields and gathering nuts and berries. Sustained contact with Europeans beginning in the fifteenth century subjected lifeways established over centuries or even millennia to severe stress. Native Americans have struggled over the last several centuries to retain and sustain their relationship with the land in the face of changing economic relations, rapidly changing political alliances, demographic catastrophe, and warfare.
Much of the early contact between Europeans and Native peoples revolved around trade. ByFrench, Dutch and English traders frequented the northeast coast of North America trading metal, glass and cloth for beaver pelts.
A reciprocity-based system of exchange characterized initial trade relations. Successful trade depended on good relationships between traders and Native groups. These practices superficially resembled pre-existing exchange patterns among area Native peoples. It quickly became apparent, however, that these new relationships did not really replicate traditional trading practices. They lacked the social and cultural assumptions that provided structure and meaning to the old exchange patterns.
The presence and agenda of these new trading partners generated far-reaching consequences.
Native groups heavily involved in trade with Europeans altered their living patterns to better position themselves to deal with the newcomers. That trade placed disproportionate attention on hunting for lucrative beaver pelts in place of traditional subsistence hunting.
Native traders became increasingly reliant on European trade goods, adapting them to their own traditional uses. Competition among groups for a rapidly diminishing beaver population increased.
The power balance shifted in favor of groups and individuals with connections to traders and European goods Salisbury Trade with Europeans generated demographic as well as economic and political consequences.
Native people used preexisting trade routes and communications networks to acquire the beaver pelts European traders prized. They received in exchange desirable trade goods such as textiles, various metals and firearms. In this way, European traders' goods penetrated far into inland North America. Old World diseases traveled with those goods, triggering what one historian has termed a "demographic catastrophe.
They thus did not develop immunities to diseases such as measles and smallpox that plagued other parts of the world. European contact through trading set off widespread epidemics. Old World diseases reduced Native populations in some areas by up to ninety percent. The cultural consequences of this demographic disaster were no less devastating than its economic or political effects.
Astoundingly high mortality rates seriously compromised the oral transmission of collective wisdom and culture. Early and seemingly limited coastal trade contacts with Europeans thus weakened and depopulated many Native nations years before European settlers arrived. As with earlier trading ventures, the Companies that funded colonizing ventures like the one at Plymouth also sought to establish lucrative trade relations with Native peoples.
Unlike individual traders, English families came to establish communities and settle permanently on Native lands. The relatively positive relations that characterized early trade relations between European traders and Native Americans quickly deteriorated.
Cultural clashes and disputes over land escalated as English towns grew and population pressures intensified colonists' demand for more land. The English settlement of Springfield is an example of how first European trader and then settlement affected pre-existing Native American trade networks and political relations.
Settled inSpringfield was the first English settlement in the middle Connecticut River Valley. Englishman William Pynchon and his son John quickly established a lucrative fur trade with local Native peoples.
Native hunters traded furs for European products, while the English sold their furs back to England for high profits. By the s, however, hunters had exhausted the fur supply of the region. Tensions between Native communities flared into open hostility as hunters traveled further into territories outside their homelands to find beavers. Warfare between the Kanien'kehaka Mohawks of the Haudenosaunee from Eastern New York and the Pocumtucks in pushed many Pocumtucks from the central area of their homeland.
When they could no longer supply beaver furs to European traders, Native people lost bargaining power and trading leverage.
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Land became the only resource Europeans were willing to accept in payment for European goods and to pay off debts accumulated through the English credit system. Land sales escalated and English towns began to line the Massachusetts portion of the Connecticut River between and The ideological reasoning of the English who displaced Native Americans from their homelands reveals the radically different and ultimately irreconcilable worldviews of these two societies.
English settlers viewed the land as a wilderness void of civilization. The attitudes of missionaries in New France varied: England England focused its conquest of North America primarily on territorial expansion, particularly along the Atlantic coast from New England to Virginia. The first explorer to reach the continent under the English flag was John Cabotan Italian who explored the North Atlantic coast in By that time, the wool trade had become the driving force in the English economy; as a source of foreign exchange, wool sales softened inflation somewhat but did not render the English immune to its effects.
England responded to the pressure of inflation in several ways that influenced Native American history. One response, the intensification of wool production, ensured that the wealthy would remain secure but greatly disrupted the domestic economy.
To effect the production of more wool, the landed nobility began to practice enclosuremerging the many small fields that dotted the English countryside into larger pastures.
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This allowed more sheep to be raised but came at a harsh cost to the burgeoning population of commoners. The landless majority were evicted from their farms, and many had to choose between starvation and illicit activities such as theft, poaching, and prostitution.
By the mids a new option arose for the dispossessed: The English elite chartered a variety of commercial entities, such as the Virginia Companyto which King James I granted the control of large swaths of American territory. These business ventures focused especially on the extraction of resources such as tobaccoa new commodity that had proved extremely popular throughout Europe. The monarch also made land grants to religious dissidents, most notably to the Puritan shareholders of the Massachusetts Bay Company, to the Roman Catholic leader Cecilius Calvertwho established the colony of Marylandand to the Quaker leader William Pennwho established the Pennsylvania colony.
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English settlements eventually stretched from the Chesapeake Bay north to present-day Massachusetts and included Jamestown founded inPlymouthBostonSt. England was the only imperial nation in which colonial companies were successful over the long term, in large part because ordinary citizens were eventually granted clear and thus heritable title to land.
In contrast, other countries generally reserved legal title to overseas real estate to the monarch, a situation that encouraged entrepreneurs to limit their capital investments in the colonies. In such cases it made much more financial sense to build ships than to improve settler housing or colonial infrastructure; a company could own a ship outright but was at constant risk of losing new construction to the sovereign.
Because English real estate practices more or less assured entrepreneurs and colonizers that they would retain any infrastructure they built, they set about the construction of substantial settlements, farms, and transportation systems.
A tradition of enduring title also caused the English to conclude formal compacts with Native Americans, as some of the former believed and the English courts could potentially have ruled that indigenous groups held common-law title to the various Northern American territories. As a result, tribes from Newfoundland Canada to Virginia U. However, a fundamental philosophical difference undermined many such agreements: The situation was further complicated by the French custom, soon adopted by the English, of providing native communities with gifts on a seasonal or annual basis.
What the colonizers intended as a relatively inexpensive method for currying goodwill, the indigenous peoples interpreted as something akin to rent. Although mortality was high in the malarial lowlands that the English initially settled, a seemingly endless stream of indentured labourers—and, from onward, enslaved Africans—poured into the new communities throughout the 17th century.
This effectively forestalled the formation of multiethnic households in areas that were under close colonial control. However, such households were considered unremarkable in indigenous towns.
In contrast to their Spanish and French counterparts, who were invariably Roman Catholic, most English colonizers were members of the Church of England or of various Protestant sects.
Evangelization was not particularly important to most of the English elite, who traveled to the Americas for commercial, territorial, or political gain, nor for most indentured servants or criminal transportees. Among those who had left in pursuit of religious freedom, however, some proselytized with zeal. Like the clergy from France, their emphases and methods ranged from the fairly benign to the overtly oppressive.
The Netherlands and Sweden The colonial efforts of the Netherlands and Sweden were motivated primarily by commerce. Dutch businessmen formed several colonial monopolies soon after their country gained independence from Spain in the late 16th century.
In a group of individuals formed the New Sweden Company. They hired Peter Minuita former governor of New Amsterdamto found a new colony to the south, in what is now Delaware, U.
In New Sweden fell to the Dutch. Despite some local successes, the Dutch ceded their North American holdings to the English after just 40 years, preferring to turn their attention to the lucrative East Indies trade rather than defend the colony see Dutch East India Company. The English renamed the area New York and allowed the Dutch and Swedish colonists to maintain title to the land they had settled. Native Americans and colonization: Some Indian communities were approached with respect and in turn greeted the odd-looking visitors as guests.
For many indigenous nations, however, the first impressions of Europeans were characterized by violent acts including raiding, murder, rape, and kidnapping.
Perhaps the only broad generalization possible for the cross-cultural interactions of this time and place is that every group—whether indigenous or colonizer, elite or common, female or male, elder or child—responded based on their past experiences, their cultural expectations, and their immediate circumstances. The Southwest Indians Although Spanish colonial expeditions to the Southwest had begun insettlement efforts north of the Rio Grande did not begin in earnest until At that time the agricultural Pueblo Indians lived in some 70 compact towns, while the hinterlands were home to the nomadic ApachesNavajosand others whose foraging economies were of little interest to the Spanish.
Acoma Pueblo New Mexicoone of many Pueblo Indian communities occupied by the Spanish during the early colonial period. As an occupying force, the Spanish troops were brutal. They continued to exercise the habits they had acquired during the Reconquista, typically camping outside a town from which they then extracted heavy tribute in the form of food, impressed labour, and women, whom they raped or forced into concubinage.
The missionaries who accompanied the troops in this region were often extremely doctrinaire. They were known to beat, dismember, torture, and execute Indians who attempted to maintain traditional religious practices; these punishments were also meted out for civil offenses. Such depredations instigated a number of small rebellions from about onward and culminated in the Pueblo Rebellion —a synchronized strike by the united Pueblo peoples against the Spanish missions and garrisons. The Pueblo Rebellion cost the lives of some colonizers, including nearly all the priests, and caused the Spanish to remove to Mexico.
The Spanish retook the region beginning inkilling an estimated native people in the initial battle. During subsequent periods, the Southwest tribes engaged in a variety of nonviolent forms of resistance to Spanish rule. Some Pueblo families fled their homes and joined Apachean foragers, influencing the Navajo and Apache cultures in ways that continue to be visible even in the 21st century.
Other Puebloans remained in their towns and maintained their traditional cultural and religious practices by hiding some activities and merging others with Christian rites. The Southeast Indians Most Southeast Indians experienced their first sustained contact with Europeans through the expedition led by Hernando de Soto — At that time most residents were farmers who supplemented their agricultural produce with wild game and plant foods.
Native communities ranged in size from hamlets to large towns, and most Southeast societies featured a social hierarchy comprising a priestly elite and commoners. Library of Congress, Washington, D. The indigenous peoples of present-day Florida treated de Soto and his men warily because the Europeans who had visited the region previously had often, but not consistently, proved violent.
As the conquistadors moved inland, tribes at first treated them in the manner accorded to any large group of visitors, providing gifts to the leaders and provisions to the rank and file. However, the Spaniards either misread or ignored the intentions of their hosts and often forced native commoners, who customarily provided temporary labour to visitors as a courtesy gesture, into slavery.
News of such treatment traveled quickly, and the de Soto expedition soon met with military resistance. Indigenous warriors harassed the Spanish almost constantly and engaged the party in many battles.
Native leaders made a number of attempts to capture de Soto and the other principals of the party, often by welcoming them into a walled town and closing the gates behind them. Such actions may have been customary among the Southeast Indians at this time—diplomatic customs in many cultures have included holding nobles hostage as a surety against the depredations of their troops. Such arrangements were common in Europe at the time and were something with which the conquistadors were presumably familiar.
However, the Spanish troops responded to these situations with violence, typically storming the town and setting upon the fleeing residents until every inhabitant was either dead or captured. Hernando de Soto committing atrocities against Indians in Florida, engraving by Theodor de Bry in Brevis narratio eorum quae in Floridae Americae provincia Gallis acciderunt, The Southeast nations had little gold or silverbut they had accumulated a plenitude of pearls to use as decoration and in ritual activities.
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The slave trade was also extremely lucrative, and many of those who survived the immediate effects of conquest were kidnapped and transported to the Caribbean slave markets.
Some indigenous communities relocated to Catholic missions in order to avail themselves of the protection offered by resident priests, while others coalesced into defensible groups or fled to remote areas. The Northeast Indians The Northeast Indians began to interact regularly with Europeans in the first part of the 16th century. Most of the visitors were French or English, and they were initially more interested in cartography and trade than in physical conquest.
Like their counterparts in the Southeast, most Northeast Indians relied on a combination of agriculture and foraging, and many lived in large walled settlements. However, the Northeast tribes generally eschewed the social hierarchies common in the Southeast. Oral traditions and archaeological materials suggest that they had been experiencing increasingly fierce intertribal rivalries in the century before colonization; it has been surmised that these ongoing conflicts made the Northeast nations much more prepared for offensive and defensive action than the peoples of the Southwest or the Southeast had been.
The discussion below considers two broad divisions: The mid-Atlantic Algonquians The mid-Atlantic groups that spoke Algonquian languages were among the most populous and best-organized indigenous nations in Northern America at the time of European landfall.
They were accustomed to negotiating boundaries with neighbouring groups and expected all parties to abide by such understandings. Although they allowed English colonizers to build, farm, and hunt in particular areas, they found that the English colonial agenda inherently promoted the breaking of boundary agreements. The businessmen who sponsored the early colonies promoted expansion because it increased profits; the continuous arrival of new colonizers and slaves caused settlements to grow despite high mortality from malaria and misfortune; and many of the individuals who moved to the Americas from England—especially the religious freethinkers and the petty criminals —were precisely the kinds of people who were likely to ignore the authorities.
Secoton, a Powhatan Village, watercolour drawing by John White, c. Courtesy of the trustees of the British Museum The earliest conflict between these Algonquians and the colonizers occurred near the Chesapeake Bay.
This region was home to the several hundred villages of the allied Powhatan tribes, a group that comprised many thousands of individuals. In this populous area was chosen to be the location of the first permanent English settlement in the Americas, the Jamestown Colony.
Acting from a position of strength, the Powhatan were initially friendly to the people of Jamestown, providing the fledgling group with food and the use of certain lands.
By friendly interethnic relations had ceased. Powhatanthe leader for whom the indigenous alliance was named, observed that the region was experiencing a third year of severe drought; dendrochronology the study of tree rings indicates that this drought ultimately spanned seven years and was the worst in eight centuries. In response to English thievery mostly of foodPowhatan prohibited the trading of comestibles to the colonists. He also began to enforce bans against poaching.
These actions contributed to a period of starvation for the colony —11 that nearly caused its abandonment. It is not entirely clear why Powhatan did not press his advantage, but after his death in his brother and successor, Opechancanoughattempted to force the colonists out of the region. His men initiated synchronized attacks against Jamestown and its outlying plantations on the morning of March 22, Within five years, colonists were flouting the new boundary and were once again poaching in Powhatan territory.
Given the persistence of the mid-Atlantic Algonquians, their knowledge of local terrain, and their initially large numbers, many scholars argue that the Algonquian alliance might have succeeded in eliminating the English colony had Powhatan pressed his advantage in or had its population not been subsequently decimated by epidemic disease. The Iroquoians of Huronia During the 15th and early 16th centuries, warfare in the Northeast culture area fostered the creation of extensive political and military alliances.
It is generally believed that this period of increasing conflict was instigated by internal events rather than by contact with Europeans; some scholars suggest that the region was nearing its carrying capacity. Two of the major alliances in the area were the Huron confederacy which included the Wendat alliance and the Five Tribes later Six Tribesor Iroquois Confederacy. The Huron were a relatively tight alliance of perhaps 20,—30, people who lived in rather dense settlements between Hudson Bay and the St.
Lawrence Riveran area thus known as Huronia. This was the northern limit at which agriculture was possible, and the Huron grew corn maize to eat and to trade to their Subarctic Indian neighbours—the Innu to the north and east and the Cree to the west—who provided meat and fish in return. The Huron confederacy is believed to have coalesced in response to raids from other Iroquoians and to have migrated northward to escape pressure from the Five Tribes to their south and southeast.
The alliance comprised the MohawkOneidaOnondagaCayugaand Seneca peoples; the Tuscarora joined the confederacy later. Evenly matched with the Huron alliance in terms of aggregate size, the Iroquois were more loosely united and somewhat less densely settled across the landscape. While the Huron nations traded extensively for food, this was less the case for the Five Tribes, who relied more thoroughly upon agriculture.
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Before colonization they seem to have removed southward, perhaps in response to raids from the Huron to their north. The alliances among the Five Tribes were initiated not only for defense but also to regulate the blood feuds that were common in the region. By replacing retributory raids among themselves with a blood money payment system, each of the constituent nations was better able to engage in offensive and defensive action against outside enemies.
The Northeast was crisscrossed by an extensive series of trade routes that consisted of rivers and short portages. The Huron used these routes to travel to the Cree and Innu peoples, while the Iroquois used them to travel to the Iroquoians on the Atlantic coast. The Huron alliance quickly became the gatekeeper of trade with the Subarctic, profiting handsomely in this role.
Its people rapidly adopted new kinds of material cultureparticularly iron axes, as these were immensely more effective in shattering indigenous wooden armour than were traditional stone tomahawks.
For a period of time the new weapons enabled the Huron confederacy to gain the upper hand against the Iroquois, who did not gain access to European goods as quickly as their foes.
By about the long traditions of interethnic conflict between the two alliances had become inflamed, and each bloc formally joined with a member of another traditional rivalry—the French or the English. Initially the Huron-French alliance held the upper hand, in no small part because the French trading system was in place several years before those of the Dutch and English. The indigenous coalitions became more evenly matched afterhowever, as the Dutch and English trading system expanded.
These Europeans began to make guns available for trade, something the French had preferred not to do. The Huron found that the technological advantage provided by iron axes was emphatically surpassed by that of the new firearms.
French records indicate that a smallpox epidemic killed as many as two-thirds of the Huron alliance in —38; the epidemic affected the Iroquois as well, but perhaps to a lesser extent. The Iroquois blockaded several major rivers in —49, essentially halting canoe traffic between Huronia and the Subarctic.
The combination of smallpox, the collapse of the beaver population, and the stoppage of trade precipitated an economic crisis for the Huron, who had shifted so far from a subsistence economy to one focused on exchange that they faced starvation. Decades of intermittent warfare culminated in fierce battles in —49, during which the Iroquois gained a decisive victory against the Huron and burned many of their settlements.
In the Huron chose to burn their remaining villages themselves, some 15 in all, before retreating to the interior. Having defeated the Huron confederacy to their north and west, the Iroquois took the Beaver Wars to the large Algonquin population to their north and east, to the Algonquian territory to their west and south, and to the French settlements of Huronia.
They fought the alliances of these parties for the remainder of the 17th century, finally accepting a peace agreement in With both the Huron and the Iroquois confederacies having left Huronia, mobile French fur traders took over much of the trade with the Innu and Cree, and various bands of Ojibwa began to enter the depopulated region from their original homelands to the south of the Great Lakes.
The Subarctic Indians and the Arctic peoples The European exploration of the Subarctic was for many decades limited to the coasts of the Atlantic and Hudson Bayan inland sea connected to the Atlantic and the Arctic oceans. The initial European exploration of the bay occurred in It was led by the English navigator Henry Hudsonwho had conducted a number of voyages in search of a northwest passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific.