Chesapeake Colonies

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1721 map of the Chesapeake region

The Chesapeake Colonies were the Colony and Dominion of Virginia, later the Commonwealth of Virginia, and Province of Maryland, later Maryland, both colonies located in British America and centered on the Chesapeake Bay. Disease ravaged settlements of the Chesapeake region grew slowly due to disease (malaria etc.) Most of these settlers were male immigrants from England who died soon after their arrival. Due to the majority of men, eligible women did not remain single for long. The native-born population eventually became immune to the Chesapeake diseases and these colonies were able to continue through all the hardships.

Chesapeake had one crop economy that was based on tobacco. This contributed to the slave labor necessity in the southern colonies. The tobacco also ruined the soil and much more land was in demand. White indentured servants were also common in this area. Indentured servants were people who volunteered to work for their Chesapeake masters for several years and, when finished, would be given land and an "outfit" consisting of a suit of clothes, some farm tools, seed, and perhaps a gun.

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Mark C. Carnes & John A. Garraty, The American Nation: A History of the United States, Pearson Education, 2006.