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America's History in the Making

Colonial Designs

In the Video

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Historical Perspectives

Historical Perspectives

The search for profit drove many colonial ventures in North America, and the Spanish and French also hoped to convert Native Americans to Christianity. England relied more heavily than other European powers on private ventures, which varied a great deal in their goals and the composition. Those in the Chesapeake region relieved heavily on indentured servants and then slaves to labor on their plantations. The English seized Dutch, Spanish, and French colonies in North America, and their colonies gradually grew more powerful in the eighteenth century, in part due to their liberal immigration policy. Cities on the coast grew with imports and exports.

Faces of America

Faces of America

Many in the colonies were not in positions of power and were forced to resist in novel ways to the persecution that they faced.

Popé was a Tewa shaman born about 1630 into Spain’s repressive New Mexico region. In 1680, Popé united the diverse Pueblo groups and led a revolt that overthrew the Spanish authority in the region.

Elizabeth Key was born into servitude in Virginia. In 1655, she sought her freedom in court, challenging her status as a slave. As Virginians increasingly associated blacks with life-long servitude, she was able to challenge her position and win her freedom.

Lady Deborah Moody was an Anabaptist who left England in search of religious toleration in Salem, Massachusetts. She left there for the same reason in 1643 and came to New Amsterdam, where the Dutch allowed her to found a town with like-minded settlers. Few women of her time played that sort of public role.

Hands on History

Hands on History

How can archaeology be used to settle disputes about the past?

Jim Bruseth works as an archaeologist for the Texas Historical Commission. His work excavating Fort Saint Louis proved that the Spanish had built the largest Presidio in the Americas. Read edited Hands on History interview with Jim Bruseth.

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