Questions tagged [colonial-america]

Colonial America refers to the period of American history (roughly late 15th century to the mid-19th century) when European states exercised political control over indigenous Americans and European settlers in the Americas. Colonial powers in the Americas included the Spanish, British, French, Portuguese, Dutch, Swedes, and Russians. The term is sometimes taken to refer to pre-Revolution British colonies that would eventually become the United States.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
52
votes
3answers
8k views

Why didn't Portugal found universities in its colonies like Spain?

Imperial Spain and Portugal conquered and developed huge empires. Both monarchies were Catholic and seized huge amounts of land in the 1500s. Both European motherlands had numerous universities, but ...
50
votes
2answers
12k views

Why did a young George Washington sign a document admitting to assassinating a French military officer?

On May 28, 1754, a young Lt. Colonel named George Washington ambushed a French force at Jumonville Glen with assistance from a Iroquois leader named Tanacharison. One of the casualties was the French ...
36
votes
6answers
9k views

What's the rationale for shipping coins back to Spain from its colonies?

Since the days of Pirates! the thought of capturing the Spanish treasure fleet on its way back somewhere in the Spanish Main was a primary target because of all the gold and silver it transported to ...
27
votes
1answer
407 views

Relation between Afroamerican religions and colonial metropoles?

In most of Brazil, Afroamerican religion is Candomblé, which is rooted in Yoruba traditional religion, with influences of Angola-Congo traditions. The main exception is the Northeastern state of ...
21
votes
1answer
2k views

Is the scarlet letter 'A' a real historical thing?

I've heard someone say something like: It's not a scarlet letter, it's not a mark on your forehead you keep for life. Obviously this was said in terms of permanency of a badge of shame, or ...
20
votes
2answers
4k views

Would colonial Maryland have been tolerant to all religions?

I have heard that Maryland was the birthplace of religious freedom in the US because it was founded by a charter about which Wikipedia says "On 20 June 1632, (King) Charles granted the original ...
16
votes
5answers
7k views

How densely populated were the Americas prior to European colonization?

I had a conversation with an individual recently about how unusual it was that there were so few individuals who appeared to be Native American in North America today. (I say appear since no doubt ...
15
votes
1answer
869 views

Why is the charter of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations signed “HOWARD”?

Why is the charter of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations signed "HOWARD"? Note also that the Charter of Connecticut is likewise signed "By Writ of Privy Seal, HOWARD". But, the keeper of the ...
15
votes
1answer
3k views

What happened to the British convicts transported to America after the American Revolution?

From the early 1600s until the American Revolution of 1776, the British colonies in North America received transported British criminals for, what I have read, a term of 6 to 14 years. I have read (...
14
votes
4answers
5k views

Is there evidence Muslim soldiers fought in the Continental Army?

It is said that Muslims fought for the American Revolution, by serving in the Continental Army. Wikipedia cites a few names: Records from the American Revolutionary War indicate that at least a few ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

Was the Somerset Decision in 1772 in England the real underlying cause of the American Revolutionary war?

I had a discussion with a Brit the other day and naturally the topic drifted to our historic break from the UK in 1776 and I boasted of our noble fight for liberation and freedom. The Brit was amused ...
13
votes
5answers
3k views

Why was slavery profitable in the Southern colonies and not New England?

Why didn't Colonists in New England import massive numbers of Slaves?
13
votes
1answer
548 views

How common was it for un-documented ships to bring settlers to the American colonies 1700-1750

How common was it for un-documented ships (including bypassing common ports of entry) to bring settlers to the northern American / Canadian colonies 1700-1750? I am looking for some basis (facts, ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

Did any Moors accompany Hernando de Soto in his exploration of Mississippi?

I was reading about Hernando de Soto and saw William Powell's painting (Relevant bit cropped and added below): The odd thing (Marked with a red arrow) is the man who looks Moorish and is dressed in ...
12
votes
4answers
2k views

How many acres per person were needed for the early American settlers vs. the native Americans?

Clearly the lifestyle of the native peoples of North America was less intensive than that of the European settlers and thus required more land per person. However, theirs was not exclusively a hunter-...
12
votes
2answers
319 views

Did the Tlingits benefit from resisting the Russians more than other Alaskan tribes?

The Russian-American Company had ongoing problems with the Tlingit (Kolosh) people living near its colonial headquarters. In other words, the Tlingits resisted incursion more effectively than other ...
11
votes
2answers
475 views

How is it that King Philips War devastated the colonists so much, but the Colonists were not driven out?

King Philips War, or Metacom's War if you will, was pretty devastating to the Northeast Colonies in the pre-United States - yet even after this the tribes that could have realized that the English and ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

Why did the colonies fight Cresap's War?

I am reading about Cresap's War. I do not fully understand why colonies within the British Empire had wars with one another. Did the British Colonies in America have independent rules, like the ...
9
votes
2answers
35k views

How long would it take to travel from England to the colonies in the early 1700s?

I am working on a history project for school and cannot seem to find information on the length of a journey on a ship from England to the Charleston area of South Carolina in the early 1700s (1730-...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

What did the word 'unconstitutional' mean to Americans prior to the Revolution?

I'm reading about the Townshend Acts on Wikipedia, and it says that the American colonists rejected any taxation because it was unconstitutional. Were they referring to a specific document, like the ...
9
votes
1answer
519 views

Did Britain look into taking California?

The Spanish colonized California in part to forestall the expansion of other empires. The territory was in danger of invasion throughout the Spanish and Mexican eras (1769-1846). Visitors and ...
9
votes
1answer
468 views

Between the 7 Years War and 1776, was there any effort to have the colonies represented in Parliament?

I've now read a couple books about the American Revolution and the founding fathers. I don't think, however, I read anything about colonial assemblies or the continental congresses pushing for ...
8
votes
2answers
3k views

How did Britain govern the thirteen colonies?

In the 18th century, if I understand correctly, the king of England appointed the governors of the thirteen colonies in North America. How far beyond royal appointments of governors did British rule ...
8
votes
1answer
658 views

How did the education system in Colonial North America work?

I read that Hamilton changed his birth date from 1755 to 1757 to look better for attending King's College. Also, many other Founding Fathers attended colleges at 15 or even younger. What education ...
8
votes
2answers
238 views

Does any library hold the archives of the Russian-American Company?

I am researching Russian visits to Alta California during the Mexican War of Independence, which were mostly or all projects of the Russian-American Company. There is a collection of Company documents ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

Were Puritans Prudes or Progressive?

I have recently encountered two independent assertions that Puritans were not prudes like I and most of society think they were. Either society's view of Puritans is revisionist, or the two sources I ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

Were there interstate tariffs before the US Constitution (1789)?

I've heard many times that the Commerce Clause of the US Constitution was (in part) designed to end tariffs between the thirteen states. Now that I'm trying to learn about those tariffs, I'm having a ...
8
votes
1answer
301 views

Did indentured servants in British North America have job security?

Most people know about the practice of Indentured Servitude in the British North American colonies - that workers would receive "free" passage to the Colonies in exchange for working for the ...
8
votes
0answers
677 views

How much did Native Americans steal from the Pilgrims? [closed]

In Of Plymouth Plantation, William Bradford mentions one instance of Native Americans stealing Pilgrims' tools while they were eating dinner. The tools were later returned after negotiating with ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

What was the price of going from England to New England as a passenger in the 1600s?

Lots of places mention that traveling to New England was so expensive that many people became indentured servants to get across, but I couldn't find a place that actually says how expensive it was.
7
votes
2answers
272 views

How much would votes sell for in early America?

I am reading an essay by Alfred F. Young right now in which the author mentions that Gouverneur Morris said of enfranchising those without property: Give the vote to people who have no property and ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Why did not Spain manage to keep any colonial possessions in the new world?

It is well known that Spain had a huge presence in the colonisation and discovery of the new world. The Spanish empire is one of the largest in history and held vast territory in the Americas. Still ...
6
votes
1answer
11k views

What percentage of the population in the Thirteen Colonies in 1776 were first/second generation immigrants?

Besides British immigration, did the thirteen colonies see a lot of immigration from other European states?
6
votes
2answers
349 views

What was the purpose behind Charles II's charter for Connecticut squatter settlements?

In my US History book, the text reads the following: As a slap at Massachusetts, Charles II gave rival Connecticut in 1662 a sea-to-sea charter grant, which legalized the squatter settlements. I ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

How was silver/gold mining done in colonial Americas?

I've heard a lot about the vast amounts of silver and gold that Spain brought back from the Americas. I imagine that they looted the Aztecs and other peoples at first, but silver/gold exports ...
6
votes
1answer
155 views

What were the rules of the migration to the Louisiana Territory in USA?

To my best knowledge, at the point of Louisiana Purchase, the area was inhabited mostly by Native Americans. At the time there existed some legislation regarding how the settlement should look like. ...
6
votes
1answer
274 views

Was there any distinction between the 13 Colonies and the Canadian provinces prior to the American Revolution?

Was there any distinction between the 13 Colonies that became the United States and the Canadian colonies/provinces prior to the American Revolution? For example, did New Brunswick and New Hampshire ...
6
votes
1answer
459 views

What coin denominations were used in the US before Dollars and Cents?

In Thomas Jefferson's proposal for a decimal currency, he describes the status quo as: The [cent] will differ little from the copper of the four Eastern States, which is 1/108 of a dollar; still ...
6
votes
0answers
162 views

How did American colonial rights and conditions compare to those within the British Isles?

A major point of contention between American colonists and British administrators was that the American colonists, being the descendants of Englishmen, allegedly should have been entitled to ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

Why did the Portuguese colonies stay united whereas the Spanish ones split up? [duplicate]

Why did the South-American Portuguese colonies unite into one country, Brazil, whereas the South-American Spanish colonies split into many different countries, i.e. Argentina, Peru, Chile, etc?
5
votes
1answer
360 views

When did Europeans realize Native Americans had weaker immunity to Old World diseases?

The question is fairly simple: when did Europeans come to a general knowledge that the Native Americans had weak immunity specifically to Old World diseases? I'm looking for the first person to ...
5
votes
1answer
354 views

Origin of straight municipal boundary line in NJ

If you look at a map of the municipal borders of New Jersey, you see a clear line mid-state running northwest to southeast. It's about halfway between NYC and Philadelphia. What is the historical ...
5
votes
2answers
164 views

Did the Creole estate in Russian America encompass Siberian creoles?

A large number of Russian American Company employees and colonists were Creoles, or the product of an ethnic Russian father with a native (Aleut, Tlingit, etc.) mother. They were established as a ...
5
votes
1answer
210 views

Was anyone in Spanish or Mexican California tried for homosexuality?

In "So Far From Home" (Farris, ed.) a Russian visitor to California describes seeing trangendered natives, as Cabeza de Vaca also did three centuries earlier in what is now Texas. The military and ...
5
votes
1answer
453 views

How similar were Finnish and Lenape slash-and-burn agriculture?

Slash-and-burn agriculture is a technique where farmers cut down woodland and burn the debris to form farmland. This farmland is usually used for a few years until it loses its fertility, then the ...
5
votes
1answer
91 views

Who cataloged the ships that visited Alta California?

I know I have seen a reference to a comprehensive list of ships that visted Alta California in the Spanish and Mexican eras, but I need help finding it again. Here is an incomplete list without any ...
5
votes
0answers
93 views

What could explain the myth (or truth) of drunken defenders during the battle of the plains of Abraham?

I have come across popular references towards the sodden or sozzled state of the French and Canadien defenders of Quebec City during the Battle of the Plains of Abraham. Mostly, these references are ...
5
votes
0answers
84 views

Do we know who graduated from the University of Mexico in the 1700s?

The Royal and Pontifical University of Mexico was the country's first and foremost university in the colonial period. According to George I. Sánchez, by 1776 it had awarded 29,882 bachelor's and 1,162 ...
5
votes
0answers
61 views

Who was the Halach Uinik of Can Pech?

Who was the ruler (Halach Uinik) of the pre-conquest Mayan state (Kuchkabal) of Can Pech around the beginning of the 16th century? If not the individual, the dynasty?
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Who were the chief executives of the United States in the thirteen years before George Washington? [duplicate]

Fully thirteen years passed after the Declaration of Independence before George Washington became President—first under Congress, then under the Articles of Confederation. It's a famous trivia fact ...