Profile of the Southern Colonies
Many of the plantations and great estates were owned by nobility or people who had come
Hello I'm Milo for About.com and today we're talking about the Southern Colonies of Colonial America. The sites of the first settlements from England in the new world, these colonies of Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia were agricultural powerhouses and held the strongest ties to old Europe, in addition to all being named after British monarchs. Founded on cash crops, such as tobacco, many of the plantations and great estates were owned by nobility or people who had come to the new world for financial gain, not so much religious freedom. Second sons of great families and others who could not inherit their wealth in the old world came to find their fortune. Linguistically much of this region still has connections to Elizabethan England as well, faded remnants of the strong ties these colonies had with Britain.Maryland was started by Catholics similar to the New England Colonies with Calvinism, however the tobacco economy caused that to fade and it became more like its Southern neighbors. In 1632, Lord Baltimore sought to create a haven for Catholics fleeing Anglican England in similar ways that the Quakers and Calvinists did to the north. In fact Maryland is named after England's Catholic Queen Henrietta Mary.Interestingly as economic concerns overshadowed religious ones, the Catholic controlled House of Delegates in charge of the colony in 1649 drew up the Maryland Act of Toleration which granted religious freedom. The drafters of this document saw potential conflict on the horizon with the influx of protestants that came with the growing economy. While it didn't quite work as they had hoped to stave off religious intolerance and strife, it did form a legacy that would later become the 1st Amendment of the American Bill of Rights.Another remnant of the old world that held more sway in the Southern Colonies was the use of indentured servants and slaves. This workforce formed the backbone of the economy of the Southern Colonies and did so for many years to come. The Carolinas were founded by Charles the Second as the monarchy returned to the British throne after Cromwell's brief interruption.Their main contribution was rice, and great plantations owned by aristocrats and manned by slaves marked much of the territory. Georgia was the last colony to be created and started off as a Utopian experiment by James Oglethorpe with permission from King George in 1733, but it never really got off the ground and soon Georgia began to reflect the other Southern Colonies with cash crop plantations. For excellent, insightful, and interesting information on history check us out at About.com.