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Colonial Life In America – The Colonials
Colonial life in America was very difficult for the hopeful settlers who came to escape poverty, persecution, and to gain religious freedom. Later came the adventurous explorers and those sent by European Nations to begin business ventures in this uncharted new land.
They eventually settled into the original 13 colonies now known at the States of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, New Hampshire, Maryland, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware, and Georgia.
Colonial Life In America – The Hardships
The settlers did not know how to live in the rugged wilderness and had no experience in preparing for the harsh, bitter cold winters. They faced many hardships such as knowing little about how to hunt for game or how to plant crops on this new soil. As a result, many succumbed to malnutrition and diseases.
In Massachusetts, for example, the Plymouth settlers, spent most of their first winter (1620–21) on board the Mayflower. It took a great deal of time to clear the land and erect adequate shelters. The following winter, the Pilgrims were able to live on land but it was under extremely primitive conditions. Many were sick and all were hungry. Nearly one-quarter of them died before a ship from England brought fresh supplies. They relied heavily on their faith and spent much time in prayer. In time, the colonists learned how to live in the wilderness through trial and error and with the help of an English speaking warrior named Squanto and the Wampanoag Chief, Massasoit. By the 1700s, small cities and towns were established. The colonists slowly developed their own customs and lifestyles. Eventually they began to feel that this new land was now their true home. Life in colonial America centered on the family. Most of the following took place at home in the very earliest years of the settlements:
learning a craft or trade
Large families were common and necessary in colonial days. Everyone was needed to get all the work done. The father was considered the head of the family. He made all of the family decisions and earned a living by farming and other crafts such as blacksmithing. Women worked in the home raising children, preparing meals, making clothes, preserving food for winter, fetching water and scrubbing clothes. They made their own candles, soaps, and most other basic items. None of this was easy and often done without the proper tools. Much of their dawn to dusk work was merely for day to day survival.
Colonial Life In America – Forming a Nation
After concerns of survival, came the Colonists desires and struggles to form a fair and democratic government. The tyranny that some of them came from made this a priority. Those who survived had a very difficult life but they had determination and steadfast faith that this would be a great land. Many died before their time, but for most of them, their faith in God and the Bible is what helped them persevere. They were grateful to God for sending the Indians who taught them how to survive in this new land. It was through their faith and determination that America was born a free, democratic, and Christian nation.