How did chattel slavery differ from indentured servitude? How did the former system come to replace the latter? What were the results of this shift?

Discussion of chattel slavery vs. indenture servitude.
Discussion of how indenture servitude was replaced by chattel slavery.
Explanation the results of this shift.
Connection to present: How did the change from indentured servitude to chattel slavery still affect the United States today? 

Key passages:

Early Struggles and the Development of the Tobacco Economy pages 74 – 76 Chapter 3 | Creating New Social Orders: Colonial Societies, 1500–1700



Creating New Social Orders:

Colonial Societies, 1500–1700

Figure 3.1 John Smith’s famous map of Virginia (1622) illustrates many geopolitical

features of early colonization. In

the upper left, Powhatan, who governed a powerful local confederation of Algonquian

communities, sits above other

local chiefs, denoting his authority. Another native figure, Susquehannock, who

appears in the upper right, visually

reinforces the message that the English did not control the land beyond a few

outposts along the Chesapeake.

Chapter Outline

3.1 Spanish Exploration and Colonial Society

3.2 Colonial Rivalries: Dutch and French Colonial Ambitions

3.3 English Settlements in America

3.4 The Impact of Colonization


By the mid-seventeenth century, the geopolitical map of North America had become a

patchwork of

imperial designs and ambitions as the Spanish, Dutch, French, and English

reinforced their claims to

parts of the land. Uneasiness, punctuated by violent clashes, prevailed in the

border zones between the

Europeans’ territorial claims. Meanwhile, still-powerful native peoples waged war

to drive the invaders

from the continent. In the Chesapeake Bay and New England colonies, conflicts

erupted as the English

pushed against their native neighbors (Figure 3.1).

The rise of colonial societies in the Americas brought Native Americans, Africans,

and Europeans together

for the first time, highlighting the radical social, cultural, and religious

differences that hampered their

ability to understand each other. European settlement affected every aspect of the

land and its people,

bringing goods, ideas, and diseases that transformed the Americas. Reciprocally,

Native American

practices, such as the use of tobacco, profoundly altered European habits and



Chapter 3 | Creating New Social Orders: Colonial Societies, 1500–1700

3.1 Spanish Exploration and Colonial Society

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

• Identify the main Spanish American colonial settlements of the 1500s and


• Discuss economic, political, and demographic similarities and

differences between the

Spanish colonies

During the 1500s, Spain expanded its colonial empire to the Philippines in the Far

East and to areas in

the Americas that later became the United States. The Spanish dreamed of mountains

of gold and silver

and imagined converting thousands of eager Indians to Catholicism. In their vision

of colonial society,

everyone would know his or her place. Patriarchy (the rule of men over family,

society, and government)

shaped the Spanish colonial world. Women occupied a lower status. In all matters,

the Spanish held

themselves to be atop the social pyramid, with native peoples and Africans beneath

them. Both Africans

and native peoples, however, contested Spanish claims to dominance. Everywhere the

Spanish settled,

they brought devastating diseases, such as smallpox, that led to a horrific loss of

life among native peoples.

European diseases killed far more native inhabitants than did Spanish swords.

The world native peoples had known before the coming of the Spanish was further

upset by Spanish

colonial practices. The Spanish imposed the encomienda system in the areas they

controlled. Under this

system, authorities assigned Indian workers to mine and plantation owners with the

understanding that

the recipients would defend the colony and teach the workers the tenets of

Christianity. In reality, the

encomienda system exploited native workers. It was eventually replaced by another

colonial labor system,

the repartimiento, which required Indian towns to supply a pool of labor for

Spanish overlords.


Spain gained a foothold in present-day Florida, viewing that area and the lands to

the north as a logical

extension of their Caribbean empire. In 1513, Juan Ponce de León had claimed the

area around today’s

St. Augustine for the Spanish crown, naming the land Pascua Florida (Feast of

Flowers, or Easter) for the

nearest feast day. Ponce de León was unable to establish a permanent settlement

there, but by 1565, Spain

was in need of an outpost to confront the French and English privateers using

Florida as a base from which

Figure 3.2

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Chapter 3 | Creating New Social Orders: Colonial Societies, 1500–1700


to attack treasure-laden Spanish ships heading from Cuba to Spain. The threat to

Spanish interests took

a new turn in 1562 when a group of French Protestants (Huguenots) established a

small settlement they

called Fort Caroline, north of St. Augustine. With the authorization of King Philip

II, Spanish nobleman

Pedro Menéndez led an attack on Fort Caroline, killing most of the colonists and

destroying the fort.

Eliminating Fort Caroline served dual purposes for the Spanish—it helped reduce the

danger from French

privateers and eradicated the French threat to Spain’s claim to the area. The

contest over Florida illustrates

how European rivalries spilled over into the Americas, especially religious

conflict between Catholics and


In 1565, the victorious Menéndez founded St. Augustine, now the oldest European

settlement in the

Americas. In the process, the Spanish displaced the local Timucua Indians from

their ancient town of

Seloy, which had stood for thousands of years (Figure 3.3). The Timucua suffered

greatly from diseases

introduced by the Spanish, shrinking from a population of around 200,000 pre-

contact to fifty thousand

in 1590. By 1700, only one thousand Timucua remained. As in other areas of Spanish

conquest, Catholic

priests worked to bring about a spiritual conquest by forcing the surviving

Timucua, demoralized and

reeling from catastrophic losses of family and community, to convert to


Figure 3.3 In this drawing by French artist Jacques le Moyne de Morgues, Timucua

flee the Spanish settlers, who

arrive by ship. Le Moyne lived at Fort Caroline, the French outpost, before the

Spanish destroyed the colony in 1562.

Spanish Florida made an inviting target for Spain’s imperial rivals, especially the

English, who wanted to

gain access to the Caribbean. In 1586, Spanish settlers in St. Augustine discovered

their vulnerability to

attack when the English pirate Sir Francis Drake destroyed the town with a fleet of

twenty ships and one

hundred men. Over the next several decades, the Spanish built more wooden forts,

all of which were burnt

by raiding European rivals. Between 1672 and 1695, the Spanish constructed a stone

fort, Castillo de San

Marcos (Figure 3.4), to better defend St. Augustine against challengers.


Chapter 3 | Creating New Social Orders: Colonial Societies, 1500–1700

Figure 3.4 The Spanish fort of Castillo de San Marcos helped Spanish colonists in

St. Augustine fend off marauding

privateers from rival European countries.

Click and Explore

Browse the National Park Service’s multimedia

resources on Castillo de San

Marcos ( to

see how the fort and gates have

looked throughout history.


Further west, the Spanish in Mexico, intent on expanding their empire, looked north

to the land of the

Pueblo Indians. Under orders from King Philip II, Juan de Oñate explored the

American southwest for

Spain in the late 1590s. The Spanish hoped that what we know as New Mexico would

yield gold and silver,

but the land produced little of value to them. In 1610, Spanish settlers

established themselves at Santa

Fe—originally named La Villa Real de la Santa Fe de San Francisco de Asís, or

“Royal City of the Holy

Faith of St. Francis of Assisi”—where many Pueblo villages were located. Santa Fe

became the capital of

the Kingdom of New Mexico, an outpost of the larger Spanish Viceroyalty of New

Spain, which had its

headquarters in Mexico City.

As they had in other Spanish colonies, Franciscan missionaries labored to bring

about a spiritual conquest

by converting the Pueblo to Catholicism. At first, the Pueblo adopted the parts of

Catholicism that

dovetailed with their own long-standing view of the world. However, Spanish priests

insisted that natives

discard their old ways entirely and angered the Pueblo by focusing on the young,

drawing them away

from their parents. This deep insult, combined with an extended period of drought

and increased attacks

by local Apache and Navajo in the 1670s—troubles that the Pueblo came to believe

were linked to the

Spanish presence—moved the Pueblo to push the Spanish and their religion from the

area. Pueblo leader

Popé demanded a return to native ways so the hardships his people faced would end.

To him and

to thousands of others, it seemed obvious that “when Jesus came, the Corn Mothers

went away.” The

expulsion of the Spanish would bring a return to prosperity and a pure, native way

of life.

In 1680, the Pueblo launched a coordinated rebellion against the Spanish. The

Pueblo Revolt killed over

four hundred Spaniards and drove the rest of the settlers, perhaps as many as two

thousand, south toward

Mexico. However, as droughts and attacks by rival tribes continued, the Spanish

sensed an opportunity to

regain their foothold. In 1692, they returned and reasserted their control of the

area. Some of the Spanish

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Chapter 3 | Creating New Social Orders: Colonial Societies, 1500–1700


explained the Pueblo success in 1680 as the work of the Devil. Satan, they

believed, had stirred up the

Pueblo to take arms against God’s chosen people—the Spanish—but the Spanish, and

their God, had

prevailed in the end.

3.2 Colonial Rivalries: Dutch and French Colonial Ambitions

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

• Compare and contrast the development and character of the French and Dutch


in North America

• Discuss the economies of the French and Dutch colonies in North America

Seventeenth-century French and Dutch colonies in North America were modest in

comparison to Spain’s

colossal global empire. New France and New Netherland remained small commercial

operations focused

on the fur trade and did not attract an influx of migrants. The Dutch in New

Netherland confined their

operations to Manhattan Island, Long Island, the Hudson River Valley, and what

later became New Jersey.

Dutch trade goods circulated widely among the native peoples in these areas and

also traveled well into

the interior of the continent along preexisting native trade routes. French

habitants, or farmer-settlers, eked

out an existence along the St. Lawrence River. French fur traders and missionaries,

however, ranged far

into the interior of North America, exploring the Great Lakes region and the

Mississippi River. These

pioneers gave France somewhat inflated imperial claims to lands that nonetheless

remained firmly under

the dominion of native peoples.


The Dutch Republic emerged as a major commercial center in the 1600s. Its fleets

plied the waters of the

Atlantic, while other Dutch ships sailed to the Far East, returning with prized

spices like pepper to be

sold in the bustling ports at home, especially Amsterdam. In North America, Dutch

traders established

themselves first on Manhattan Island.

One of the Dutch directors-general of the North American settlement, Peter

Stuyvesant, served from 1647

to 1664 and expanded the fledgling outpost of New Netherland east to present-day

Long Island and for

many miles north along the Hudson River. The resulting elongated colony served

primarily as a fur-

trading post, with the powerful Dutch West India Company controlling all commerce.

Fort Amsterdam, on

the southern tip of Manhattan Island, defended the growing city of New Amsterdam.

In 1655, Stuyvesant

took over the small outpost of New Sweden along the banks of the Delaware River in

present-day New

Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. He also defended New Amsterdam from Indian

attacks by ordering

African slaves to build a protective wall on the city’s northeastern border, giving

present-day Wall Street

its name (Figure 3.5).


Chapter 3 | Creating New Social Orders: Colonial Societies, 1500–1700

Figure 3.5 The Castello Plan is the only extant map of 1660 New Amsterdam (present-

day New York City). The line

with spikes on the right side of the colony is the northeastern wall for which Wall

Street was named.

New Netherland failed to attract many Dutch colonists; by 1664, only nine thousand

people were living

there. Conflict with native peoples, as well as dissatisfaction with the Dutch West

India Company’s

trading practices, made the Dutch outpost an undesirable place for many migrants.

The small size of

the population meant a severe labor shortage, and to complete the arduous tasks of

early settlement, the

Dutch West India Company imported some 450 African slaves between 1626 and 1664.

(The company

had involved itself heavily in the slave trade and in 1637 captured Elmina, the

slave-trading post on

the west coast of Africa, from the Portuguese.) The shortage of labor also meant

that New Netherland

welcomed non-Dutch immigrants, including Protestants from Germany, Sweden, Denmark,

and England,

and embraced a degree of religious tolerance, allowing Jewish immigrants to become

residents beginning

in the 1650s. Thus, a wide variety of people lived in New Netherland from the

start. Indeed, one observer

claimed eighteen different languages could be heard on the streets of New

Amsterdam. As new settlers

arrived, the colony of New Netherland stretched farther to the north and the west

(Figure 3.6).

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Chapter 3 | Creating New Social Orders: Colonial Societies, 1500–1700


Figure 3.6 This 1684 map of New Netherland shows the extent of Dutch settlement.

The Dutch West India Company found the business of colonization in New Netherland

to be expensive. To

share some of the costs, it granted Dutch merchants who invested heavily in it

patroonships, or large tracts

of land and the right to govern the tenants there. In return, the shareholder who

gained the patroonship

promised to pay for the passage of at least thirty Dutch farmers to populate the

colony. One of the

largest patroonships was granted to Kiliaen van Rensselaer, one of the directors of

the Dutch West India

Company; it covered most of present-day Albany and Rensselaer Counties. This

pattern of settlement

created a yawning gap in wealth and status between the tenants, who paid rent, and

the wealthy patroons.

During the summer trading season, Indians gathered at trading posts such as the

Dutch site at Beverwijck

(present-day Albany), where they exchanged furs for guns, blankets, and alcohol.

The furs, especially

beaver pelts destined for the lucrative European millinery market, would be sent

down the Hudson River

to New Amsterdam. There, slaves or workers would load them aboard ships bound for


Click and Explore

Explore an interactive map of New Amsterdam in


( that shows the

city plan and the locations of

various structures, including houses, businesses,

and public buildings. Rolling over the

map reveals relevant historical details, such as

street names, the identities of certain

buildings and businesses, and the names of

residents of the houses (when known).


After Jacques Cartier’s voyages of discovery in the 1530s, France showed little

interest in creating


Chapter 3 | Creating New Social Orders: Colonial Societies, 1500–1700

permanent colonies in North America until the early 1600s, when Samuel de Champlain


Quebec as a French fur-trading outpost. Although the fur trade was lucrative, the

French saw Canada

as an inhospitable frozen wasteland, and by 1640, fewer than four hundred settlers

had made their

home there. The sparse French presence meant that colonists depended on the local

native Algonquian

people; without them, the French would have perished. French fishermen, explorers,

and fur traders made

extensive contact with the Algonquian. The Algonquian, in turn, tolerated the

French because the colonists

supplied them with firearms for their ongoing war with the Iroquois. Thus, the

French found themselves

escalating native wars and supporting the Algonquian against the Iroquois, who

received weapons from

their Dutch trading partners. These seventeenth-century conflicts centered on the

lucrative trade in beaver

pelts, earning them the name of the Beaver Wars. In these wars, fighting between

rival native peoples

spread throughout the Great Lakes region.

A handful of French Jesuit priests also made their way to Canada, intent on

converting the native

inhabitants to Catholicism. The Jesuits were members of the Society of Jesus, an

elite religious order

founded in the 1540s to spread Catholicism and combat the spread of Protestantism.

The first Jesuits

arrived in Quebec in the 1620s, and for the next century, their numbers did not

exceed forty priests. Like

the Spanish Franciscan missionaries, the Jesuits in the colony called New France

labored to convert the

native peoples to Catholicism. They wrote detailed annual reports about their

progress in bringing the

faith to the Algonquian and, beginning in the 1660s, to the Iroquois. These

documents are known as the

Jesuit Relations (Figure 3.7), and they provide a rich source for understanding

both the Jesuit view of the

Indians and the Indian response to the colonizers.

One native convert to Catholicism, a Mohawk woman named Katherine Tekakwitha, so

impressed the

priests with her piety that a Jesuit named Claude Chauchetière attempted to make

her a saint in the

Church. However, the effort to canonize Tekakwitha faltered when leaders of the

Church balked at

elevating a “savage” to such a high status; she was eventually canonized in 2012.

French colonizers

pressured the native inhabitants of New France to convert, but they virtually never

saw native peoples as

their equals.

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Chapter 3 | Creating New Social Orders: Colonial Societies, 1500–1700



A Jesuit Priest on Indian Healing Traditions

The Jesuit Relations (Figure 3.7) provide incredible detail about

Indian life. For example, the 1636

edition, written by the Catholic priest Jean de Brébeuf, addresses the

devastating effects of disease on

native peoples and the efforts made to combat it.

Figure 3.7 French Jesuit missionaries to New France kept detailed

records of their interactions

with—and observations of—the Algonquian and Iroquois that they

converted to Catholicism. (credit:

Project Gutenberg).

Let us return to the feasts. The Aoutaerohi is a remedy which is

only for one particular kind

of disease, which they call also Aoutaerohi, from the name of a

little Demon as large as the

fist, which they say is in the body of the sick man, especially

in the part which pains him. They

find out that they are sick of this disease, by means of a

dream, or by the intervention of some

Sorcerer. . . .

Of three kinds of games especially in use among these Peoples,—

namely, the games of

crosse [lacrosse], dish, and straw,—the first two are, they say,

most healing. Is not this worthy

of compassion? There is a poor sick man, fevered of body and

almost dying, and a miserable

Sorcerer will order for him, as a cooling remedy, a game of

crosse. Or the sick man himself,

sometimes, will have dreamed that he must die unless the whole

country shall play crosse for

his health; and, no matter how little may be his credit, you

will see then in a beautiful field,

Village contending against Village, as to who will play crosse

the better, and betting against

one another Beaver robes and Porcelain collars, so as to excite

greater interest.

According to this account, how did Indians attempt to cure disease? Why

did they prescribe a game of

lacrosse? What benefits might these games have for the sick?


Chapter 3 | Creating New Social Orders: Colonial Societies, 1500–1700

3.3 English Settlements in America

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

• Identify the first English settlements in America

• Describe the differences between the Chesapeake Bay colonies and the New



• Compare and contrast the wars between native inhabitants and English

colonists in

both the Chesapeake Bay and New England colonies

• Explain the role of Bacon’s Rebellion in the rise of chattel slavery in


At the start of the seventeenth century, the English had not established a

permanent settlement in the

Americas. Over the next century, however, they outpaced their rivals. The English

encouraged emigration

far more than the Spanish, French, or Dutch. They established nearly a dozen

colonies, sending swarms of

immigrants to populate the land. England had experienced a dramatic rise in

population in the sixteenth

century, and the colonies appeared a welcoming place for those who faced

overcrowding and grinding

poverty at home. Thousands of English migrants arrived in the Chesapeake Bay

colonies of Virginia and

Maryland to work in the tobacco fields. Another stream, this one of pious Puritan

families, sought to

live as they believed scripture demanded and established the Plymouth,

Massachusetts Bay, New Haven,

Connecticut, and Rhode Island colonies of New England (Figure 3.8).

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Chapter 3 | Creating New Social Orders: Colonial Societies, 1500–1700


Figure 3.8 In the early seventeenth century, thousands of English settlers came to

what are now Virginia, Maryland,

and the New England states in search of opportunity and a better life.


Promoters of English colonization in North America, many of whom never ventured

across the Atlantic,

wrote about the bounty the English would find there. These boosters of colonization

hoped to turn a

profit—whether by importing raw resources or providing new markets for English

goods—and spread

Protestantism. The English migrants who actually made the journey, however, had

different goals. In

Chesapeake Bay, English migrants established Virginia and Maryland with a decidedly


orientation. Though the early Virginians at Jamestown hoped to find gold, they and

the settlers in

Maryland quickly discovered that growing tobacco was the only sure means of making

money. Thousands

of unmarried, unemployed, and impatient young Englishmen, along with a few

Englishwomen, pinned

their hopes for a better life on the tobacco fields of these two colonies.

A very different group of English men and women flocked to the cold climate and

rocky soil of New

England, spurred by religious motives. Many of the Puritans crossing the Atlantic

were people who

brought families and children. Often they were following their ministers in a

migration “beyond the

seas,” envisioning a new English Israel where reformed Protestantism would grow and

thrive, providing a

model for the rest of the Christian world and a counter to what they saw as the

Catholic menace. While the

English in Virginia and Maryland worked on expanding their profitable tobacco

fields, the English in New

England built towns focused on the church, where each congregation decided what was

best for itself. The

Congregational Church is the result of the Puritan enterprise in America. Many

historians believe the fault

lines separating what later became the North and South in the United States

originated in the profound

differences between the Chesapeake and New England colonies.


Chapter 3 | Creating New Social Orders: Colonial Societies, 1500–1700

The source of those differences lay in England’s domestic problems. Increasingly in

the early 1600s,

the English state church—the Church of England, established in the 1530s—demanded

conformity, or

compliance with its practices, but Puritans pushed for greater reforms. By the

1620s, the Church of England

began to see leading Puritan ministers and their followers as outlaws, a national

security threat because of

their opposition to its power. As the noose of conformity tightened around them,

many Puritans decided

to remove to New England. By 1640, New England had a population of twenty-five

thousand. Meanwhile,

many loyal members of the Church of England, who ridiculed and mocked Puritans both

at home and in

New England, flocked to Virginia for economic opportunity.

The troubles in England escalated in the 1640s when civil war broke out, pitting

Royalist supporters

of King Charles I and the Church of England against Parliamentarians, the Puritan

reformers and their

supporters in Parliament. In 1649, the Parliamentarians gained the upper hand and,

in an unprecedented

move, executed Charles I. In the 1650s, therefore, England became a republic, a

state without a king.

English colonists in America closely followed these events. Indeed, many Puritans

left New England and

returned home to take part in the struggle against the king and the …

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