Columbus’ Arrival Causes the Columbian Exchange
• Columbus, sailing for Spain, was the first European to find AND colonize America.
• Like other explorers, he was seeking a route, called the Northwest Passage, to Asia.
• Many other explorers followed Columbus. As they did, they brought new plants, animals, and other organisms to America, and they brought American life forms to Europe, Asia and Africa. This exchange of plants and animals was called the Columbian Exchange (or the Encounter). You should especially remember:
o Different foods were brought between the continents. Potatoes and tomatoes originally grew only in the Americas; rice and chicken were only in Europe and Asia.
o Europeans brought diseases like smallpox to the Americas. Native Americans didn’t have immunities to these diseases, so they died by the millions.
o Europeans brought African slaves to the Americas to work on plantations.
• A colony is a land settled by a more powerful country from another area.
• European countries including Spain, France, England, and the Netherlands colonized the Americas.
• France settled St. Lawrence River. They made money fishing and selling beaver skins.
• Most Europeans came to the Americas in hopes of making more money.
• However, the founders of Massachusetts, Maryland, and Pennsylvania started their colonies so they could be free from religious persecution.
• The Netherlands was the first European country to settle in what is now New York.
• New Netherland was the original name for New York State; New Amsterdam was the original name for New York City.
• People from the Netherlands are called the Dutch. Don’t ask me why—I don’t know!
• The Dutch settled the Hudson River Valley starting in the 1620s.
• Their governor, Peter Stuyvesant, surrendered to the English in 1664. The English renamed New Netherland and New Amsterdam as New York.
• All thirteen colonies, including New York, had African slaves.
• Slaves came from Africa in crowded ships along a route called the Middle Passage.
• Slaves were part of the Triangular Trade in which slaves were sent to the Americas, crops were sent to Europe, and rum was sent to Africa.
The Geography of the Thirteen English Colonies
• Starting with Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607, the English established 13 colonies on the Atlantic Coast of North America.
• All of the biggest colonial cities formed along rivers and oceans, because boats were the most efficient form of transportation back then.
• But different colonies developed differently, mainly because of their geography.
• The northern colonies, known as New England, relied on fishing, trade, and small farms for their economy.
• The Middle Colonies, like New York, had larger farms and excellent trade opportunities.
• The Southern Colonies had huge farms called plantations, where they grew cash crops like tobacco, rice, and cotton.
The Government of the Thirteen Colonies
• All of the British colonies had some form of democracy. This means that citizens had a say in government decisions.
• However, only men who owned property had the right to vote.
• The Virginia House of Burgesses was the first representative government in America.
• The Mayflower Compact declared that the Puritans (Pilgrims) would rule themselves.