Southern Colonies

Margaux Basart

The Colonies

Types of Colonies

There are three types of colonies: proprietary, royal, and charter. A proprietary colony is a colony that has been given rights to a full self-government. A royal colony is a colony that was directly controlled by the British Crown. A charter colony is a colony that was leased to an individual or group.

The Southern Colonies

Virginia, the green state on the map, was the first of the thirteen original colonies. It started with the founding of Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in North America. Virginia started as a charter colony, but became a royal colony when its charter got cancelled. It was created for economic opportunities.

Maryland, the yellow state on the map, was a proprietary colony. It was founded for religious freedom.

North Carolina and South Carolina, the pink and blue states on the map, both started out as proprietary colonies, but were eventually bought by the British Crown and made royal. They were created for economic opportunities.

Georgia, the red state on the map, started out as proprietary, but it later became royal. It was founded to create opportunities for debtors in England, and was used as a buffer between Spanish Florida and the rest of the colonies.

Native American Interactions

In Virginia, relationships with the native Americans started out pretty good. In 1608, Powhatan and colonist interactions were nice, but it was pretty short-lived. John Rolf married Pocahontas, the daughter of the head of the tribe. She died when she was in England with her husband, and this angered the colonists. The colonists killed her dad, the tribe leader, which years of fighting between the two groups.

Eventually, the fighting died down between the two groups, but some smaller groups still rebelled. Nathaniel Bacon was the leader of one group that would raid native villages and attack native Americans. He later tried to attack the capital, but he passed away and the rebellion died with him.

In the Other Colonies

In the New England and Middle colonies, the native American interactions were more tame. In the New England colonies, the native Americans helped the colonists learn how to use natural resources. In Pennsylvania (a Middle colony), William Penn, the colony's founder, wished for native Americans to be treated equal. Of course, both regions would still have some difficulties with the native Americans, but they were small problems compared to Virginia and the Southern colonies.


The southern colonies had a very hot climate, which meant they had a good growing season. The rich soil allowed for the colonies to produce large amounts of cash crops. Cash crops were plants that were planted purely for their economical value. An example of a cash crop is tobacco, which sold well in England.

In the area around Jamestown, there was a lot of marshy land, which meant that there were large populations of bugs such as mosquitoes. New colonists in early Virginia had to deal with the diseases these mosquitoes carried, which include yellow fever and malaria.

In the Other Colonies

The Southern colonies were quite similar to the Middle colonies in terms of geography. The Middle colonies also had rich soil, but the climate was a little milder, still allowing for crop production. However, the New England colonies were the opposite. These colonies had rocky soil and a harsh climate, making it hard for most crops to grow.


The southern colonies traded a lot overseas in England. They would sell tobacco, indigo, rice, deerskins, and wood and tar for shipbuilding.

In the Other Colonies

The other two regions had very different products because of their geography. The Middle colonies, like the Southern colonies, produced lots of crops, but they focused more on the staple crops. Staple crops are crops that are always needed. Examples are wheat, barley, and oats. They also traded fur and livestock. The New England colonies had a lack of crops, so they instead took advantage of the forests and rich waters. They traded large amounts of fish, fishing boats, and whale oil for lighting.


Most of the southern colonies followed the Anglican religion. The Anglican religion was the same religion that England followed. The only colony in the south that was not Anglican was Maryland. Maryland had been founded by Catholics, but after conflict between Protestants, the Act of Tolerance was created. This made Maryland religiously tolerant, which meant that people were free to follow whatever religion they wanted without persecution.

In the Other Colonies

The Middle colonies were more religiously tolerant than the Southern colonies and the New England colonies, as they were more focused on trade. They had Jews, French Protestants, Catholics, and Quakers, but the Quakers eventually got their own colony of Pennsylvania after facing some persecution in New York. The New England colonies had mostly Puritans and Pilgrims. Both religious groups had left England after facing persecution from the Church. However, the Puritans were reformers, which meant that they wanted to reform the Anglican church, while the Pilgrims were separatists, meaning that they wanted to separate themselves from the Anglican church.

The Modern Colonies

Today, all of the southern colonies are states of the United States of America, and no longer colonies of England or the British Crown. Some of the colonies have gained land to the west. The original southern colonies are still producing an assortment of plants, but they are no longer the top producers of rice and cotton in the United States. Instead, those colonies are the top producers of peanuts and tobacco. Georgia is also the top producer in the United States of broilers, chickens that are specifically raised for the market. Now, states are religiously tolerant, though Christianity is still the most commonly practiced.


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