The Southern Colonies
Virginia, Maryland and Georgia

Text :  Françoise Rochet 

Illustration : Gratianne Garcia 


Since the beginning of our discovery of these thirteen English colonies in America, we decided to visit them from North to South and go down the Atlantic coast.

Here we are finally in the South and we will start with Virginia.

It is a state that lies between Maryland and the Carolinas.

We are therefore obstructing our itinerary simply because Virginia is the first American land conquered by the English and it is around this state that the other southern colonies, Maryland, South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia, will be articulated.


The South is agricultural land.

Tobacco, rice and cotton will be a source of great wealth to the detriment of slaves.


We will see that the king grants concessions to his favorites and great lords. They divide part of their property into lots and establish farmers who pay a symbolic rent.

From farmers, they become insensibly owners.

On the eve of the War of Independence, the American of the colonial era eats more than his European contemporary. It consumes large amounts of milk, cheese, pork and beef (70-90 kilograms of meat per year). The sheep is used for the artisanal manufacture of blankets and clothes.

The abundance is obvious: farmers give 60% of their grain production to animals.

This prosperous agriculture led to a commercial network that was not limited to tobacco, rice and indigo.

The colonies are now able to sell their agricultural surpluses abroad.

Outlander, his heroes and their religions


"Originally, Virginia was all of America."


William Byrd II (1674–1744)

Marked by a subtropical climate, the southern colonies had an economy oriented towards commercial agriculture (tobacco, cotton, indigo, cereals, silk).

Cities were rare and relatively sparsely populated. (Charleston, Baltimore and Norfolk).

It was a set of large aristocratic plantations where black slaves worked.

The population of African origin was larger than in the other colonies.


In the eighteenth century, it was the cradle of many military leaders during the Seven Years' War and then during the War of Independence as well as the starting point of the first attempts to expand westward.


If the American myth is that the founding act of this great power is the arrival of the Mayflower in New England, the fact remains that it is in Virginia that the adventure began.


Virginia was the first English colony in North America. Throughout the seventeenth century, it was the most populous of the continental English colonies but the beginnings were very chaotic.

Before setting foot on the mainland, the English took possession of a small island.



This is Roanoke's story. 


By the early 1580s, England and Spain were on the brink of war.


Catholic Spain regarded the English as infamous Protestant heretics, while the English jealous of the gold, silver, precious stones that the Spaniards proudly brought back from America on their galleons.

The English were beginning to understand the importance of a colony to counter the Spanish.

Queen Elizabeth 1st commissioned Sir Walter Raleigh to establish a colony in the New World.

The challenge was enormous:

Crossing the Atlantic and facing its storms;

the possible hostility of the American Indians;



the very real one of the Spaniards, already established in the Caribbean and South America.

In 1584 Walter Raleigh embarked on an expedition that he financed to identify a site suitable for the establishment of a permanent colony in North America. With his men, he found the ideal place on the coast of present-day North Carolina, in what is now called the Outer Banks.


The English chose this place out of caution to build their first colony, in order to avoid provoking the Spanish.


Walter Raleigh landed on April 27, 1584 and named the Virginia region in honor of the Queen of England Elizabeth 1st, (supposed virgin).

This first colony settled on roanoke Island, a modest 30 kilometers long and 10 kilometers wide. 

75 men, mostly former soldiers, were landed on the island. 


Alas, they behaved like welders vis-à-vis the Algonquins. 



They had been welcoming; relationships escalate rapidly. 

After a very difficult year, without supplies, surrounded by now hostile Indians, the soldiers-settlers took advantage of the passage of an English fleet in the vicinity to be repatriated.   

Arriving on the scene a month later, Raleigh's ships found the colony abandoned.   

They left fifteen men behind and then set sail again.   


When the next contingent – 117 settlers in total – arrived a year later, the 15 men had disappeared. They learned from the Croatan, a peaceful Indian tribe living on a nearby island, that their settlers had been attacked by an unknown tribe: 9 of them had fled in a boat, and no one had ever seen them again.     



It was under these dark auspices that "the lost colony of Roanoke" was officially founded on July 22, 1587 with 80 men, 17 women and 11 children.  

On August 18, 1587, a woman from the colony, Eleanor Dare, gave birth to a baby girl whom she named Virginia; he was the first English child born on American soil.


Destitute and frightened, the colonists sent their governor, John White (little Virginia's grandfather), to England to recruit new soldiers. He set out on the only ship in the colony, leaving roanoke's settlers with no way to leave the island.

But the outbreak of war between England and Spain delayed the governor's return by nearly three years.


When he finally landed at Roanoke on August 18, 1590, his granddaughter's third birthday, he found the colony completely abandoned.


Alas, no one ever knew what became of this first little American girl.

What happened to the Settlers of Roanoke?


The clues are meagre, but some assumptions have been made.

John White found neither a grave nor a human remain in the colony.

It therefore seems unlikely that its inhabitants were massacred by the Indians: why would they have taken the bodies since we know that the Algonquins were not cannibals?


Another possibility, the Spaniards, at war with England, would have captured the colonists and reduced them to slavery. But Spanish records show that they were unaware of the existence of the Roanoke colony.

John White found two inscriptions engraved on trees in the colony: CROATAN and CRO

Would the settlers have been abducted by the Croatans, or would they have placed themselves under their protection?

In 1587 they were the only tribe in the region that maintained a friendly attitude towards the English; it is therefore to be hoped that the departure of the settlers was voluntary and not forced.

By 1590, they had passed to the mainland. White and his men could not get in touch with them.

Later, English settlers noted that some Algonquins of Carolina looked like "whites." There is little hope, however, that DNA studies will elucidate the legend of roanoke's lost colony.

The Algonquin tribes of Carolina were wiped out within a few generations by diseases and weapons brought from Europe by subsequent waves of settlers. Climatological studies have also shown that the period 1587-1589 was marked by the worst drought known to America in 800 years.

Did the settlers of Roanoke, starving to death, return to the mercy and charity of the Indians?


Roanoke became the "Lost Colony" forever.

Following this tragedy, the territory is unexploited for twenty years.


An expedition was funded by a private group, the Virginia (or Plymouth) Company under a Charter signed April 10, 1606 by King James I to establish a permanent base on the North American coast because it was necessary to maintain the commercial balance between England and Spain. In fact, the English were finally becoming aware of the interest of having colonies in America.


On May 14, 1607, a handful of English landed on the North American coast and founded a permanent settlement on this land.

In a country like the United States, so attached to the foundations, this founding fleet has won posterity. Americans will celebrate the founding of Virginia, and by extension, the United States in 2007, four hundred years later with the slogan: "The journey that changed the world." »

That day, three ships, the Susan Constant, the Godspeed and the Discovery, landed in the Chesapeake Bay, a veritable inland sea at the confluence of several estuaries.

On board were 105 men under the command of Sir Christopher Newport.

These migrants had only one goal, to improve their economic living conditions.

They dreamed of making a quick fortune.

They were younger sons of English noble families who were looking for gold and precious stones and hoped to find large estates to exploit.

None were ready to face the difficult task ahead.

Christopher Newport and his men went up the river he named the "James River" for 70 kilometers and settled in a site difficult to spot by the Spanish.


They immediately set about building a fort, Jamesfort, which later became Jamestown.

The settlers received specific instructions from the Company, deposited in a sealed chest that they were forbidden to open before their arrival in Virginia.

Once there, they discover that an administration will be set up.

A president (Edward-Maria Wingfield) and members of a council are chosen.

They have a mission order:


* attack the Spaniards;
* find gold deposits;
* discover the famous passage to Asia;
* maintain good relations with the Amerindians and evangelize them;
* experiment with all kinds of crops in order to find new export products, such as tobacco, whose monopoly was in the hands of the Spaniards;
* lay the groundwork for a new policy;
* found a colony across the Atlantic because the English are ready to build in the long term.

While the commander returned to England to seek reinforcements, a handful of men remained in the precarious fort of Jamestown.

Their leader is a 27-year-old captain, John Smith. (1580-1631).

The first two years were terrible, especially the winter of 1609.

They will be called "starving time", an expression systematically associated with the history of Virginia. And yet, game and fish are enough to feed the small colony. But these gentlemen are not ready to face this wild environment. They are reluctant to clear and plough the land with their hands.

The overwhelming heat, insects and putrid waters of the swamps bring dysentery and malaria. In addition, they suffered the attacks of the Indians.

However, they managed to get by thanks to the energy of John Smith, whose determination was great.

Captain John Smith is truly an extraordinary character whose fate marked the early years of Virginia's history and whose adventurous life deserves to be told.

Smith was a career soldier who served in the United Provinces and Scotland and fought against the Turks under the Transylvanian Prince Sigismund I Báthory.


Seriously wounded, he was taken prisoner. Bought as a slave by a Turk who wishes to offer him to his mistress, he reaches Istanbul on foot, chained. He eventually finds himself on the shores of the Black Sea.


As soon as he arrives, Smith is immediately subjected to harsher treatment. Stripped naked, his skull was shaved and an iron necklace was put around his neck. He becomes, in his own words, "the slave of all other slaves." One day, however, as his master beats him, Smith kills him, dresses in his clothes, and flees. He crossed Europe, reached England and embarked for Virginia.

Accused of fomenting a mutiny, it is in the jail of the Susan Constant that the one who will be considered the savior of Jamestown (and the legendary Prince Charming of Pocahontas) arrives on the banks of the Chesapeake.


From the autumn of 1607 Smith took the reins of a colony besieged by hunger and divided by dissension.

Captain John Smith played a vital role at a pivotal moment in Jamestown's history. With energy, determination, authority, sometimes even violence, he forces all the settlers to sow maize to guard against hunger. His creed, borrowed from St. Paul, is: "He who does not work will not eat either."

The goal is to depend less on the natives to refuel. Smith also had the fort's palisade reinforced and houses built. He also led expeditions along the rivers and inland to map the area and establish contacts with as many Native American villages as possible.


But it was necessary to find sources of income in this colony in the making in order not to survive, but to grow.

The settlers soon began planting a future herb, tobacco.

This was the beginning of prosperity.

John Rolfe (1585-1622) was the one who introduced tobacco as a cash crop to the settlers of Virginia. Its production conditioned the future development of the colony.

In May 1610 John Rolfe and his wife landed in Virginia; his wife died, probably shortly after their arrival.

John Rolfe began his attempts at tobacco planting in 1612. But Virginia's native tobacco was too strong for European taste.

Without knowing how, Rolfe obtained seeds of a very fashionable variety grown in Trinidad and South America, while Spain punished with death punishment anyone who sold this type of seed to those who were not Spanish.

Rolfe planted seeds from the West Indies (West Indies) and produced a more fragrant and sweet harvest than the local tobacco, and which, moreover, was well adapted to the climatic conditions of the new colony. He discovered a method to dry tobacco and give it a taste that was accepted by Europeans.

Around 1617 the settlers produced enough tobacco to deliver to England. Although Virginia tobacco was considered inferior to Spanish tobacco, it was abundant and cheap.

John Rolfe's role in the introduction of tobacco secured his position in the colony, having found an economic way to sustain it.


In less than 10 years, wealth was acquired in Virginia.

You have to try to imagine life on a plantation: here is that of George Washington.  

On July 30, 1619, the first assembly of the colony was held in Jamestown Church.

It brings together, in addition to the governor and his six councillors, 22 bourgeois who represent the colonists. The assembly votes a first resolution concerning taxes, public morals and the price of tobacco. This is the beginning of Representative Democracy in the American way.


The assembly, transformed into Parliament, asserted its prerogatives before the governor appointed by the Virginia Company, then, from 1624, by the King of England. Its representatives will be much later at the forefront of the fight for independence (Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton ....).

In the same year 1619, a ship brought from England 90 young girls whom the colonists could take as women subject to paying for their journey. Thanks to which the colony will now grow and develop without depending on the metropolis.

But there was a lack of manpower, especially since tobacco cultivation was demanding in land that was depleted after 3 years of cultivation. It was therefore necessary to regularly clear, plough, plant ...


Some shareholders and investors of the Virginia Company were Puritans who felt responsible for the settlement of the new colony. They were careful to hire only indentured labourers with all the puritanical values of sobriety, hard work and honesty. All these qualities made it possible to obtain a better return and therefore a better return on investment.


In August 1619, a Dutch ship brought to Jamestown a cargo of a particular kind: about twenty Africans. The unfortunate immediately found takers from the planters, too happy to get their hands on a more docile and less fragile workforce than the Indians and white indentured labourers.

Officially considered ordinary workers hired under contract for a period of five years, Africans are seeing their status deteriorate.

A slavery, similar to that of antiquity, will lead to a curse whose consequences still weigh on the United States.



The colony will now grow and develop.

Any plantation looks like a village. It is almost always fixed along a watercourse to facilitate transport. The master's house is the main building, sometimes luxurious if the planter is very rich. Around, the outbuildings: the kitchens, the smoking room, the washhouse, the workshops of the craftsmen, the stables and the stables, not far from the huts of the slaves. The plantation is a commercially produced farm and includes several farms. The planter, on the other hand, is a businessman, a merchant and, at the same time, by his way of life an aristocrat, a gentleman farmer. He travels his estate as often as possible, carefully keeps his accounts and notes purchases of tools, paintings, threads, needles, animals, seeds. Nothing escapes him, if he wants his company to pay off. George Washington, like other planters, is also passionate about agronomic experiments. He regretted that the world of plantations was overly dependent on England. So he decided to raise sheep so as not to buy wool in London. Clothes will be cheaper and it will be enough to teach slaves how to weave. Washington takes advantage of the proximity of the Potomac, along which Mount Vernon is located, to engage in fish farming. Raising and fishing for fish, another solution to limit expenses. He began to cultivate wheat, which he transformed into flour. He also improved cultivation methods, practiced rotation that rests the earth, uses new agricultural instruments, employs fertilizers. In short, Washington seeks to practice modern agriculture and acclimatizes, in the vegetable garden of Mount Vernon, plants that he will later grow in his fields. He even tried to domesticate bison. But it must be recognized that in Virginia, only tobacco counts. And in this economic context, the role of the planter and his delegates, the "supervisors", is to organize activities, to prevent the waste of energy, to push slaves to work. Without the blacks who cultivate the fields or, in small numbers, serve the master and his family, nothing works. Within this society that is based on the separation of races, on the exploitation of blacks by whites, in a word on racism, whites are the bosses. Certainly, Washington, like many others, does not like the slave system. But in his eyes, it is a necessary evil in a colony that lacks manpower, where the climate is subject to tropical influences and whose traditions are those of a colonial world.  


But the settlers felt the Company unable to protect them.  

In 1623 the Crown appointed a commission to investigate the malfunctioning of the latter. A year later, the charter was cancelled. The Company, which had never managed to make a profit, was dissolved.  


The Crown took control of Virginia, which became a royal colony.  

With this takeover, the Crown can now control the successful tobacco trade. 


We found no religious cause that brought these men to Virginia. 


Catholics were banished.  

Most of the noble migrants and owners of the great estates were Anglicans. 


But other religions of Christian obedience settled there. 


The Presbyterian Church, which since its birth in Scotland had opposed anglicans and the Hanoverian crown, settled through Scottish and Irish migrants from 1740.  

Less intellectual than the Anglican Church, it brought together a society with more modest conditions attracted by psalms and songs. The service corresponded better to this white and black population by its biblical simplicity and the emotions that flowed from it.  

But this church was still representative of society. She owned slaves that she rented to small planters who were looking for labor. 



Aided by a great spiritual movement, the First Great Revival, in the 1760s, the Baptists attracted Virginians, especially poor white farmers, into a new, much more democratic religion. Slaves were welcome at services and many became Baptists at that time. The Baptist services were very moving; the only ritual was baptism, which was applied only by immersion (not by sprinkling like Anglicans) only to adults. The Baptists strictly enforced their own high standards of personal morality, with particular concern for sexual misconduct, excessive alcohol consumption, frivolous spending, missing services, swearing, and rejoicing shown by the colonials.  



Methodism originated in the eighteenth century as a movement within the Anglican Church. Methodist missionaries were active in the late colonial period.  

Methodists encouraged the end of slavery and welcomed free blacks and slaves into active roles in congregations. Like the Baptists, they made conversions among slaves and free blacks, and gave them more welcome than in the Anglican Church. Some blacks were chosen as preachers.  


After the Revolutionary War, itinerant Methodist preachers carried copies of an anti-slavery petition in their saddlebags throughout the state, calling for an end to slavery. They encouraged slave owners to free their slaves. In the first two decades after the War of Independence the rate had risen to 7.3 per cent of the population, from less than 1 per cent.  



Before leaving this colony, let's look at the famous legend of Pocahontas. 

The myth is constructed as a positive narrative of colonization. 

It symbolizes in the eyes of the Americans the fusion between the Natives and the Colonists.  

His baptism and marriage are considered other founding acts of the Nation.  

This is the reason why the painting of baptism adorns the Capitol.

A beautiful story, but a story rewritten by John Smith to increase his own legend.

Yet his fate is much more tragic.

When the settlers arrived, between 25,000 and 30,000 Amerindians, from the Algonquin family, gathered in some 200 villages, occupied the territory "Tsenacommacah" or "densely populated country", all around the Chesapeake Bay, (great water), which is the transcription of the Algonquin k'tchisipik sound.

The most powerful indians and most frequently mentioned in English sources are the Susquehannocks and, above all, the Powhatans whose leader is Wahunsenacawh.

Until then, the Indians had more or less accepted the dispossession of their territories by the newcomers. But day by day, tensions were rising between the two communities.


What does the legend say? 


At that time, Jamestown was decimated by cold, famine and epidemics.

The Powhatans were generous and brought food to the settlers. Tensions are growing; Pocahontas was held hostage in the hope of freeing settlers and negotiating peace with the Indians. Forced to dress like a European, to learn the language, she was also converted to Christianity and renamed Rebecca. John Rolfe, the famous tobacco planter of the colony falls in love with her.


Marriage actually serves several interests.

* For pocahontas' father, chief of the tribe, it is a question of easing tensions.
* For the Virginia company, appeasement is good for trade.
* The English marriage shows the triumph of "civilization" over the natives.

In 1616, the couple left the continent to come and present themselves to the English court where she was treated as "a princess of the New World". 

But Pocahontas did not get used to London life and fell ill.

She is buried on the banks of the Thames, far from her native land.

Many great families in Virginia will claim Pocahontas, including former first lady Nancy Reagan.





"Our beloved and loyal subject Cecilius Calvert, Baron of Baltimore, in our kingdom of Ireland [...], animated by a zeal, pious and commendable, to spread the Christian religion and to extend the territories of our empire, humbly asked our permission to transport by his own efforts and expenses a large colony of Englishmen . . . in America. » 


Charter of Maryland (1632) 

Until the 1680s, England did not really have a colonial policy.

The monarchy grants charters and allows the creation of mercantile companies but never gets involved because it has few projects. It grants privileges and delegates responsibilities and above all leaves the cost of colonization to courtiers and merchants.

Therefore, if America serves as a land of refuge for minority religious groups, Puritans, Catholics or Quakers, it is not the result of a policy of tolerance.

It is a question of laissez-faire, even indifference, and any plan to send dissidents across the Atlantic is the result of private initiatives that just receive the approval of the Crown.


Thus are created the colonies to owners (proprietary colony)."


The mechanism is simple.


The Crown grants a charter and territory to a group of courtiers (or a family) for services rendered to the Crown or to pay debts owed by the Crown to either noble family. In exchange for power, the Lords Proprietors absorb the full cost of colonization.

After attempting a settlement in Newfoundland, Sir George Calvert, first Lord Baltimore decided to acquire land in Virginia, in a milder climate. He was refused because of his religion. The accession to the throne of Charles I, better disposed towards the Catholics than his predecessor, he tried again his luck. In 1632, the year of George Calvert's death, the charter was finally granted to his son Cecilius.

They govern the colony that belongs to them as they see fit, even if the settlers remain subjects of the monarch, and take care of populating their territory.


The Crown extends its influence beyond the seas without spending anything.


This type of arrangement is ideal for a courtier who wants to create a space of freedom for his co-religionists.


The Maryland of the Catholics and the Pennsylvania of the Quakers are from this point of view textbook cases that serve as a model for the colonies with owners.

The Maryland Charter creates a colony with owners that belongs to a family. This is a novelty for English mainland America, as the charters of Virginia and Massachusetts had been granted to companies.  

The territory, located in northern Virginia, along the 40th degree north latitude, from Delaware Bay to the sources of the Potomac River, is named very symbolically and ostensibly Maryland in honor of Queen Henriette-Marie, the Catholic wife of Charles I, and, more discreetly, in that of the Virgin Mary.

Cecil Calvert second Lord Baltimore (1605-1675) was still a young man of 26 when his father Sir George Calvert, died. Becoming the second Baron of Baltimore, he also inherited the colonies and lands belonging to his father.


So here he is Lord Proprietor of Maryland when he had also converted to Catholicism.


Cecilius Calvert is now a lord who possesses extensive legislative, economic and religious powers.

It can

· exploit possible mineral resources;

· founding cities and parishes;

· levy taxes;

· legislate, provided that the laws are in accordance with those of England;

· dispose of the land as he sees fit;

· and even create a nobility by distributing lordships with vigilante privileges.

In return for these multiple powers, and in a report of vassalage, it is stipulated that the owner of Maryland gives the king two Indian arrows per year!


The fact that this charter is granted to a Catholic family is a true originality.

In England, few prestigious families, close to the court, remained or became Catholic. They represent 1% of the population and live on the margins of society.


The granting of the charter was explained by the personal influence of Sir Calvert and the indifference of the Crown to American affairs in the 1630s.


He invited the sons of families (Catholic women, children, and servants) to sail to Maryland and establish the new colony there.

He decided to stay in England because he wanted to protect his colony before the sovereign.

He sent his brother, Leonardo, and made him the first governor of the colony in March 1633.

Cecil gave his brother a set of instructions to help him rule the colony. This document, called "Instructions to Settlers by Lord Baltimore," became the basis of Maryland's laws.

Cecil wanted to ensure that Catholics and Protestants were treated fairly under the new system of government. It allowed Catholics to practice their religion.

"No person or person in this province, nor in the islands, ports, coves or harbours which belong to him, who profess to believe in Jesus Christ, shall henceforth be troubled, harassed or embarrassed for his religion..."

Cecil was never able to visit his colony due to social and political problems in England.


If the intention was laudable, it was quickly overtaken by the Test Act that imposed itself on the Kingdom and its colonies in 1673 and 1678.

The Test Acts were criminal laws imposed on Catholics and nonconformists (Quakers and Puritans and even presbyterian Church of Scotland) in order to have access to certain functions, prerogatives or rights in the Kingdom, such as property, notary functions, lawyers, teachers, high military ranks, administrations.

Students could not enroll in either Oxford or Cambridge...

The underlying principle was that severe sanctions were imposed on the recusants, whether Catholic or non-conformist.


To fully understand these laws, it is necessary to integrate some doctrinal subtleties.

The Anglican Church practices the Eucharist in both species, bread and wine.

James 1st had imposed this sacrament on all believers.

For Anglicans, these elements only symbolize the presence of Christ.

For Catholics, they ARE Christ.

So the interpretation between Catholics and Anglicans is different.

This distinction is essential.


What did these laws say? 


Charles II, after the Restoration of the Monarchy, dictated a law according to which Communion was a mandatory prerequisite for public employment.

The first imposition of this test was the Corporation Act 1661 requiring that, in addition to taking the oath of supremacy, all members of corporations must, within one year of their election, receive the sacrament of the Lord's Supper according to the rites of the Church of England.

Immediately it resulted in another act of allegiance in 1673 whose title is

"An act to prevent the dangers that can happen to papist recusants".

The oath of the Test Act of 1673 was:

"I,..., declare that I believe that there is no transubstantiation in the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, or in the elements of bread and wine, at or after the consecration of it by any person."

This oath made Catholics excluded from society since they were the only ones to believe in transubstantiation!

The Anglican Church required all settlers to pay an ecclesiastical tax.

The Catholics then left the colony for neighboring Pennsylvania where the Quakers allowed them to practice their religion.


Although there were clashes between Catholics and Protestants, Maryland had opened its doors to Catholics. This state of democratic tradition is a place of tolerance; he is reputed to have seen the birth of freedom of religion in the United States.

In the first three decades of their settlement, Marylanders lived in harsh conditions on small family farms and grew several varieties of fruits, vegetables, grains, and raised livestock.

But it was tobacco that ultimately dominated the province's economy.

Like its great neighbor, Virginia, Maryland did not develop as a plantation colony until the 1660s, with the restoration of the Stuart dynasty and especially in the eighteenth century. In 1755, nearly 40% of Maryland's population was black.

Maryland planters also made intensive use of free indentured labourers and forced labourers.


The lands of Maryland were particularly fertile. Farmers were increasingly tempted to export their produce to other regions, but they had to travel great distances to transport it to the nearest port. An extensive river system facilitated the exchange of products between inland plantations with the Atlantic coast for export.

The port of Baltimore was founded in 1706.

Port activity developed rapidly thanks to the tobacco trade.

Trade was also boosted by sugar imports, with the city having the advantage of being closer to the Caribbean than other ports such as New York or Boston.

Baltimore was struck by tensions, embargoes, restrictions imposed by the English at the dawn of the revolution. Baltimorians thus sided mostly with the Continental Army during the War of Independence. Thus the city hosted the Second Continental Congress from December 1776 to February 1777.

Baltimore was therefore the second most important port in the southern United States in the eighteenth century, after Charleston in South Carolina.

It was a gateway to North America for many European immigrants.

It was the gateway for American goods to Europe.

Baltimore was home to a large shipyard that enriched the region.


The town was named in memory of George Calvert.


I dream that one day, on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit together at the table of brotherhood.
I dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering in the furnace of injustice, sweltering in the furnace of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I dream that my four young children will one day live in a Nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the measure of their character.
I dream that one day, even in Alabama, with its abominable racists, with its governor with his mouth full of the words “oppose” and “cancellation” of federal laws, that there, even in Alabama, one day, the little black boys and the little white girls will be able to join hands, like brothers and sisters.
I have a dream today!

Once again, here is a state that will be based on an ideal in the image of the great plan of the Puritans to create the ideal city, the experience of William Penn with the Quakers or Lord Calvert with the Catholics.


Georgia combines a classic geopolitical idea (a defensive barrier between South Carolina and Spanish Florida) with a novel philanthropic idea, offering a second chance to the indebted.


Georgia, the last of the Thirteen Colonies, was created by a general, James Oglethorpe (1696-1785) between the Carolinas and Spanish Florida. The creation dates back to 1732 and put an end to the British colonization enterprises in North America.

England was worried about Spanish ambitions at the time.


General James Oglethorpe entered the political career.

The fate of prisoners for debts affects him. He decides to send these unfortunate people to America and offer them the opportunity to start a second life.

The charter was granted in 1732 for an area between savannah and Altamaha.

This location is not surprising, since for a good twenty years rumors have been circulating about the need to build a new colony to fight against the Spaniards.

He obtained a grant from King George III in 1729 and named this colony Georgia in honor of the sovereign.

Having become governor, Oglethorpe landed on the site of Savannah in February 1733 after having had the power to bring in the recaptures, the insolvent, the destitute, German and Swiss refugees, and Jews fleeing the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisition.

But it excludes free Catholics.

He founded Savannah and welcomed 1,810 poor people (half were English, the other half Germans, Scots, Swiss), then 1,021 immigrants including 92 Jews.

The imperative of settlement was essential and the choice of migrants was strategic in order to find fighters ready to fight against the Spanish and the French. From this point of view, the Moravians and Quakers were a handicap because of their pacifism in a border area coveted by the neighboring powers.

This is why the settlement of the Jews is encouraged because of the hatred that the Spanish Inquisition had for them. They could therefore only be loyal settlers determined to defend their territory.

On the spot, however, the arrival of about forty Jews in the summer of 1733 provoked violent reactions.

Eventually, the Jewish community was accepted thanks to one of its members, a doctor of Portuguese origin – and the only doctor in the vicinity – who managed to stop an epidemic.

Oglethorpe forces each of these migrants to perform manual labor, forbids the possession of slaves (while Virginia and the Carolinas, in the north, do not lack them), prohibits alcohol...

These provisions aroused an outcry and were more or less abolished before the end of the Charter in 1752, when Georgia became a royal colony.

The Anglican Church was officially established there six years later, but with a fairly generous tolerance for the large proportion of dissidents who inhabited it. Except, once again, for Catholics.


The proximity of prosperous South Carolina changed conceptions.

This neighbour thrives on much larger farms and a bonded workforce. The Georgians decided to imitate them.

In 1752, a year before the charter expired, philanthropy went out of fashion. Slavery and rum are allowed. Georgia, which had become a royal colony, was no longer distinguishable from other English settlements in North America.

The creation of this colony was based on the Transportation Act 1717: a regulated system to take criminals to the North American colonies for contract service.   

* For any owner, it was possible to hire convicts, after giving a bond for transport and ensuring that the duration of the service would be fulfilled.
* The law also allowed for a contract with 15-20 year olds, who were ready to be transported and serve up to eight years of contracted service.
* After the Jacobite revolt, the Scots suffered the same fate. But considered valiant warriors, large numbers were incorporated into the army of the British Empire.
During the six decades of using the 1717 law in its American colonies, this transportation helped provide much-needed colonial labor, which increased its production and benefited the kingdom as a whole.



In 1787 British transport of criminals resumed with the departure of the First Fleet to colonies in Australia; its use will be considerably reduced in the 1850s, but will continue until the arrival of the last in 1868

Oglethorpe built Savannah according to unique plans for the time.


This is the famous Oglethorpe plan.

Instead of building a circular city, constituted as a stronghold, he gives it a rectilinear appearance.



Oglethorpe drew the plans, drawn with a cord from the banks of the river; in the intersessions, he placed squares, designed to be training places for militias.

The city was divided into six districts and each house was accompanied by a cultivable plot.


In Georgia, another city caught our attention... Darien.

The name of this city was chosen in memory of another Scottish colony that we will have the opportunity to talk about later. The Darién project is probably the best known of the Scottish colonial attempts, but also the most disastrous. In the 1690s, in competition with the other European powers, Scotland embarked on the large-scale colonial project in Darien, Panama. The failure of this venture led in part to the Union of England and Scotland in 1707.


New Inverness or Darien was founded in January 1736 by 177 Scottish Highland Catholics (men, women and children) who were fleeing the conflict between Jacobites and Hanoverians.



These valiant Scottish warriors, recruited as settler-soldiers by Oglethorpe, were mainly from the vicinity of Inverness and consisted of Jacobite support clans, the majority of whom spoke only Gaelic.

They had a threefold role:

· establish a new colony;

· serve as a buffer, protect Georgia from the Spanish, French and their Indian allies;

quickly establish military forts.

By the time of Oglethorpe's visit in February, the settlers had already built "a battery of four pieces of cannons, built a guard post, a warehouse, a chapel, and several individual huts."

Darien was also laid out in accordance with the now famous Oglethorpe Plan.

They raised livestock, farmed and felled trees to survive.


In 1739, 18 members of the colony signed the first petition against the introduction of slavery in Georgia in response to the people of Savannah who demanded the lifting of the prohibition on slavery.

The Highlanders' petition had some success for some time; slavery was not introduced until ten years later, in 1749 when the colony was transformed into large plantations in the image of Virginia

Tobacco, rice, and cotton made the colony's fortune.


By the late 1790s, cotton plantations, which had not existed until then, exploded, thanks to the sorting machine invented by Eli Whitney in 1793 on the Savannah River plantation.


In 1790, the state had 29,264 slaves to reach 105,218 in 1810.


At the time of the Civil War, it is estimated that there were 500,000 of them.

Georgia became one of thirteen colonies to revolt against the British during the American Revolutionary War.



It became the fourth state of the Union on January 2, 1788.

T8-2 Ch126 "THE OGLETHORPE PLAN" described by Diana Gabaldon 

End of November 


"Unlike most American cities, Savannah had been carefully planned by its founder, a certain Oglethorpe. I knew this because Mrs. Landrum, the lady to whom we rented our rooms, had explained to me that it was built according to the "Oglethorpe Plan". She had spoken the word in a pontificating tone, for she was related to the gentleman in question and intensely proud of the perfection of her city. The plan was divided into six districts, each consisting of four 'civic' blocks, for administrative, public and commercial buildings, as well as four tything10 blocks reserved for dwellings, the latter being arranged around an open square. Each islet had ten houses and the men of each tything carried out their militia training together. ».... 

.... "From my point of view, the most interesting aspect of Mr. Oglethorpe's plan (during the conversation, I understood that he had founded not only Savannah but also the entire province of Georgia) was that each house was accompanied by a cultivable plot 1,600 meters long outside the city, as well as a vegetable garden five acres closer. My fingers immediately itched at the thought of fiddling with the earth. —Really? I said. And... uh... what do you grow? The culmination of this conversation (and many others like it) was that I got to help our landlady with the maintenance of her vegetable garden in exchange for a share of her harvest of "sassas" (for some obscure reason, this was what she called some vegetables like kale and turnip), beans and corn, as well as a square where I could grow my medicinal herbs. Another consequence of this kind acquaintance, Ian and Rachel, who occupied the room under ours, began to call their future baby Oglethorpe, whom they courteously abbreviated as "Oggy" when Mrs. Landrum was around. ».... 



· Bacharan, Nicole, Black Americans. Des champs de coton à la Maison-Blanche, Paris, Perrin, coll. « Tempus », 2010.

·         Henneton, Lauric, Histoire religieuse des États-Unis, Paris, Flammarion, 2012.

· Kaspi, André, Les Américains (1986), vol. 1: Birth and Rise of the United States, 1607-1945; vol. 2: Les Etats-Unis de 1945 à nos jours, Paris, Seuil, 5th ed. updated, 2014.

· Kaspi, André, Durpaire François, Harter Hélène and Lherm Adrien, La Civilisation américaine (2004), Paris, Presses universitaires de France, 2006.

·         Kempf, Jean, Une histoire culturelle des États-Unis, Paris, Armand Colin, 2015.

· Lacour-Gayet, Robert, Histoire des États-Unis, vol. 1: Des origines à la fin de la guerre civile; Paris, Fayard, 1976-1982.

· Lacorne, Denis (dir.), Les Etats-Unis, Paris, Fayard, 2006.

· Van Ruymbeke, Bertrand, "America before the United States. Une histoire de l'Amérique anglaise, 1497-1776", Flammarion, Paris, 2016

· Zinn Howard, Cotton Frederick, A Popular History of the United States from 1492 to the Present, Agone; 1st edition (13 September 2002)




Tobacco and the American Colonial Economy