74

Short answer George Washington relied on the translation of a mercenary he knew well and who had previously acted as his translator, Jacob Van Braam, and did not think he was signing a document in which (the French later claimed) he admitted assassinating a French military officer. Further, the claim that the officer killed had been on a diplomatic mission, ...


56

SHORT ANSWER Spanish policy was rooted in the tradition of setting up universities in conquered territories, accompanied by the aim of converting the local people to Catholicism in order to bind them to Spain through religious faith. The Spanish approach was quite different to that of any other European colonial power. Portuguese policy on education in its ...


44

No. You can read some on the Maryland Toleration Act in the wiki article, but it basically was for Christians, whether Protestant or Catholic, Anglican, Puritan or Quaker. The Maryland Toleration Act, also known as the Act Concerning Religion, was a law mandating religious tolerance for Trinitarian Christians... Specifically, the bill, now usually ...


34

tl; dr There were certainly laws requiring that adulterers had to wear the letter 'A' stitched upon their garments in the late seventeenth century. The letter was not required to be scarlet - just a different colour from the clothes themselves, so it would stand out. The law also applied to both men and women. However, during the time in which Nathaniel ...


28

According to Manuel Moreyra Paz Soldán, El Virreinato de Perú, 1980, p. 79, the coinage embarked on ships corresponded to: Taxes obtained from the provinces and citizens in America: "recaudación para la Real Hacienda". Salaries from workers and sailors: "cajas de soldadas, incluyendo de la tripulación" Money to pay the expenses of the voyage: "talegas ...


26

He's not 100% wrong that the desire of slaveholders in the States to protect their "property" and the institution itself has been drastically underplayed by Americans in talking about their own history (and really, can you blame them?) For a good historical perspective on this, I highly recommend Slavery and the Founders, by Paul Finkelman. However, as the ...


22

I'm hoping that this answer will resonate with your "theory of colonial economy", although it is not based on historical sources. Coins shouldn't be viewed as end products manufactured from a raw material. The metal is minted primarily to provide a standard way to quantize and control the content (amount) of the precious metal during circulation. For that ...


19

Most likely because it was signed by Sir Robert Howard of Ashtead, Surrey[1], son of Thomas Howard the 1st Earl of Berkshire. As a royalist, he was made Clerk of Patents in Chancery[2] in June 1660, presumably as a reward. He appears to have stayed in that position until 1664[3]. Letters patents, including royal charters, are not signed by the Lord Privy ...


18

Disease plays a significant role. Estimates vary wildly, but there were probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 million people living in the Americas before Columbus. The vast majority of those would have lived in the Mesoamerica and Inca areas. Europe's population at this time would have been in the vicinity of 90 million. What pretty much everyone ...


17

Transported convicts weren't imprisoned in the North American colonies. Much like the convicts transported to Australia after the loss of Britain's American colonies they were set to work. American colonists bought their labour when they arrived in America, and the convicts lived with their new owner - effectively as slaves, although people often used the ...


15

One important factor was the warmer weather in most parts of the south. That led to two important effects: 1) the cultivability of cash crops such as cotton and sugar, and 2) relatively short winters. The cash crops were important because that's how slave labor was transformed into profits. Long winters were a liability, because slaves had to be fed while ...


15

Many of the coins shipped to Europe were quickly and crudely minted. These were called cobs. According to a page at Notre Dame University, The intention in minting these crude but accurately weighed cobs was to produce an easily portable product that could be sent to Spain. In Spain the cobs would be melted down to produce silver jewelry, coins, bars and ...


14

UPDATE: Aaron Fogleman estimates that 585,000 people "immigrated" (many involuntarily) to the 13 colonies between 1700-1775. If they all survived until the time of the Revolution, then 24% of the population at the time of the Revolution would be foreign born (585,000/2,400,000 = .244). Of course this is an absurd assumption, so treat this estimate as an ...


14

Britain governed the 13 colonies through trading companies that were much like the East India Company. The one for Virginia was called the Virginia Company. The one for Massachusetts was the Massachusetts Bay Company. In order to secure the cooperation of the colonists, the trading companies often granted them unusual powers. For instance, the Virginia ...


14

The colonies had governors/owners but all of their governing rights came from the king. Officially, colonies were not permitted to go to war but the governors/owners still occasionally participated in low level squabbles with each other. Maryland was owned by Lord Baltimore (Calvert) and Pennsylvania was originally owned by William Penn (not sure who owned ...


14

I understand that there are four surviving accounts of de Soto's expedition. Three of those accounts were written by survivors: Rodrigo Rangel or Ranjel, who was de Soto’s personal secretary; Luys Hernández de Biedma, the Spanish King’s representative; and an individual known as the “Gentleman from Elvas”, who is believed to be a Portuguese mercenary ...


13

Gold and Silver are worth so much that their "bulk" is very rarely a problem. Coins make it easier to count them. Their bulk is increased slightly; say by a factor of 2. This makes gold 10 g/cm^3 and silver 5 g/cm^3. Now, a ship's hold has to be significantly under 1 g/cm^3 in order for the ship to float (otherwise the interior of a ship is heavier than ...


12

Historically, there weren't multiple Portuguese colonies in South America. There was just one. The Portuguese governed Brazil as a single unit since 1549, when the failed Captaincies were merged. This became the Viceroyalty of Brazil (1775), the Kingdom of Brazil (1815, still ruled by the Portuguese Crown), the independent Empire of Brazil (1822, when ...


12

George Washington was _not the “first president of the United States”; he was the first president under the Constitution. Before Washington took office in 1789, the United States had sixteen “presidents”—the presidents of the Continental and Confederation Congresses. Of course, these men did not have the power and prestige of modern presidents; they were ...


12

I think that there were probably a great many factors that led to the American Revolution. Concerns about the growing anti-slavery movement in the UK were undoubtedly among them. Although it is true that the case of Somerset v Stewart in 1772 was a landmark in the campaign against slavery, I suspect that an earlier case would probably have caused greater ...


12

(There are quite a number of sources on the internet concerning colonial education, some of which are provided at the end for those who want more than the 'highlights' below.) The education available to the colonists depended very much on two factors: where they lived and how wealthy or what class they were. Private education was all there was initially and ...


12

It seems that the Massachusetts Bay company had a rule setting out some costs and the limits on the number of passengers that ships could carry. A ship of two hundred tons should not carry more than one hundred passengers (other ships adhered to the same proportions). The cost of passage was 5 pounds sterling for an adult (and 4 pounds for a ton of goods). ...


11

Salem Poor and Peter Salem were both freed slaves born in Massachusetts (don't be so surprised, New England prohibitions against slavery weren't always followed), which explains the Salem in their names more than an Islamic background. The name Salem has a strong symbolic significance in colonial Massachusetts: In recognition of this peaceful transition ...


11

No. Maryland was not the birthplace for religious freedom in the United States. Maryland's Toleration acts (1649) only applied to Christians, not Moslems and not Jews. Maryland's "tolerance acts" are not the model for United States religious freedom, that title goes to another state which pioneered separation of church and state earlier than the Maryland'...


11

@ClintEastwood is correct, but I think understates the problem. The fundamental problem is that the Crown relies on colonial Governors for all executive functions. At one point (sorry - cannot locate source), the southeastern corner of Pennsylvania was claimed by Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York. Each of those colonies claimed to have the right to ...


10

By the seat of their pants. Couple of points that are vital to remember. As Jack Rakove points out, British colonial possessions were unique in that the colonists expected to settle and displace the natives. Other colonial powers had different philosophies. Since the colonists were permanent residents and owned real property (land), governance was ...


10

As observed above, the only American colonies Spain did not lose to independence movements were Cuba and Puerto Rico, which it lost in the Spanish-American War. Worth noticing is the fact that Cuba was a particularly tempting prize for U.S. imperialists influenced by the Monroe Doctrine. The U.S. desire to control Cuba was so great that the eventual Spanish-...


9

How long would it take to travel from England to the colonies in the early 1700s? The distance from England to the Charleston area of South Carolina is: Speed of ships in the 1700's was around 5 knots1. To convert all in same units: d = 4010 mi = 6453 km and u = 5 knots = 10 km/h, to get the time we use the following equation of motion: t = d / u = 6453 ...


9

There was no Chief Executive under the Articles Of Confederation because there was no executive. That was one of its major flaws that the US Constitution corrected. The Presidents of the Continental Congress were "presidents" in name only. They were appointed by Congress to act as a moderator, sort of like a modern Speaker of the House, but with just about ...


9

Without going into nauseating detail, slaves by definition have no freedom, and no freedom of choice. From Johnston's The Private life of the Romans Legal Status of Slaves. The power of the master over the slave, dominica potestās (§ 26), was absolute. The master could assign to the slave laborious and degrading tasks, punish him even unto death at ...


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