Colonial Times and People: Life in the Thirteen Colonies

The colonial period in America started in the 17th century, and it lasted until the Revolutionary War. There were 13 colonies altogether, and they were divided into three different regions, namely, New England (Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island), Middle (Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, and Delaware), and Southern (North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, and Georgia). The inhabitants of the colonies were mostly made up of British immigrants, but there were a significant number of people from other European countries as well.

The colonists had decided to migrate to the New World because they were experiencing great poverty and religious restrictions back in England. They had thought that there was an abundance of gold and precious stones in the New World, but they found that their expectations were false. After they arrived in America, the colonists had trouble making a living, because farming was difficult due to the unfamiliar climatic conditions, and land in most of the colonies was not fertile. Nevertheless, farming was the only thing that they could do to feed their families, and they had to find ways to overcome the adverse conditions.

Of all the colonial regions, the Middle region had the most fertile land, and it was referred to as the “breadbasket”. The middle colonies prospered from farming, and their major crops included wheat, rye, barley, and corn. The southern colonies cultivated cash crops such as cotton, tobacco, and indigo, with Virginia being the largest producer of tobacco. During the colonial times, families had to take care of their own food. They cultivated crops and hunted animals to feed their families. On Thanksgiving Day, they consumed food such as turkeys, geese, ducks, lobsters, and corns.

Many colonists had come to America because they wanted to seek freedom of religion. The most dominant religion in New England was Puritanism, while the Middle colonies had more diverse religious practices, such as Catholicism, Quakers, and Jewish. The inhabitants of the Southern colonies were mostly Anglicans, but a significant percentage of them were Baptists. Colonies in New England valued education, but the southern colonists did not give education much importance. Nonetheless, children from rich families in the south received excellent education from private tutors. Universities were established in America around the middle of the 17th century.

Here are links to more information about life during colonial America: