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Glossary

Algonquian Indians. One of the first tribes with whom the French made an alliance, they were driven from the St. Lawrence River area by the Iroquois. Their name was extended to the language group of tribes covering eastern Canada and the US Atlantic coast.
Anglican Church.The Church of England, which broke with Rome in 1534, was Protestant in doctrine but rooted in Catholic hierarchy and ceremony. The 26 senior bishops sit in the House of Lords and are led by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The Anglican Church remains the established state religion of England. The American branch is called the Episcopal Church, or Episcopalians.
Appalachian Mountains. Mountain system in North America running inland parallel to the Atlantic coast from the state of Alabama north to Maine.
Baltimore, Lord. George Calvert (1580-1632) was granted proprietorship of what became Maryland by Charles I of England in 1632. Lord Baltimore, who was a Roman Catholic, died before the charter was signed. The charter rights passed to George's son Celilius, who founded the colony in 1632, partly as a haven for persecuted English Catholics.
Boston. Founded in 1630 as the capital of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, this city is today the capital of Massachusetts and the leading city of New England.
Charles I (1600-1649). Son of James I, Charles ruled as king of England 1625-49. Charles was more autocratic than his father, dissolving the Puritan dominated parliaments of 1625, 1626, and 1629, and thence ruling without one until 1640. During this period he established the Star Chamber for secret trials of his enemies. The Long Parliament of 1640 sought to curtail his powers; a conflict between the House of Commons and the King precipitated the Civil War in 1642. Charles was defeated and captured in 1647, and beheaded in 1649. His sons Charles II and James II, returned England to royal rule in the Restoration of 1660-88.
charter. A grant or guarantee of right, franchises, or privileges to a colony or group of people from the sovereign power of a state or country.
colony. An overseas possession or territory ruled by its mother country.
commission. A formal written contract granting the power to perform various acts or duties.
commonwealth. A nation or state in which supreme authority is held by the people.
Cromwell, Oliver (1599-1658). Lord protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland 1653-58. Cromwell was a member of Parliament in the early English Civil War, and emerged quickly as the military leader of the parliamentary forces. In 1649 he subdued Ireland with appalling massacres. He became a dictator during the Puritan rule (with John Milton as his apologist), with England finally divided into military districts. His death allowed the restoration of royal rule under Charles II, son of the beheaded king, in 1660.
deplete. To reduce in quantity, power, or value.
dissenter. One who dissents or differs in opinion.
dominant. Commanding, controlling, or prevailing over others.
Elizabeth I (1533-1603). Daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth ruled as queen of England 1558-1603, the last of the Tudor monarchs. Her initial task was to reestablish royal supremacy over the English Church after the reign of her Catholic sister Mary I (1553-38). Known as the "Virgin Queen," she nonetheless had numerous suitors, including Sir Walter Raleigh, who won her backing for a colony in the new world. The defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588 established England as a world power and ushered in the "Elizabethan Age" of prosperity and cultural achievement. William Shakespeare, Edmund Spenser, and Francis Bacon were active in this period. Elizabeth had her cousin, Mary Queen of Scots, executed as a possible heir, but she allowed for the succession of Mary's son, James, after her death, which established the peaceful union of England and Scotland.
emigrate. To leave one's place of abode or country for life or residence elsewhere .
feudal. Having the characteristic of a medieval fee, lords, vassals and serfs, as in Europe from the 9th to the 15th centuries.
haven. A place of refuge or safety.
Henry VIII (1491-1547). Son of Henry VII, he reigned 1509-47 and was one of the most powerful and formative rulers in England's history. He established the Anglican Church with the king as its head. He replaced feudal authority with a central government. He inaugurated the British navy. In search of a male heir he married six times: to Catherine of Aragon (mother of Mary I), whom he divorced for Anne Boleyn (mother of Elizabeth I), whom he beheaded; Jane Seymour (mother of Edward VI, dying in childbirth), Anne of Cleves (divorced), Catherine Howard (beheaded), and Catherine Parr, who survived him.
House of Burgesses. The first representative assembly of colonial America, it was established in Virginia in 1619 with two delegates from each of eleven plantations. In the years leading up to the Revolutionary War, the House of Burgesses became a hotbed of revolutionary sentiment, with such notables as Patrick Henry, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson in attendance. Its deliberations and traditions in this period are described by Thomas Jefferson in his autobiography.
House of Commons. Lower house of the British parliament. This body has slowly come to represent the mass of the British people as the feudal period evolved into the modern period, and power in Britain was slowly wrested from the monarchy and installed in this representative body.
House of Lords. Upper house of the British parliament. All peers or lords of the realm are members, as well as 26 bishops of the Church of England. This body has slowly lost power, along with the monarchy, but it can still delay passage of a Commons bill for up to a year.
Hudson, Henry (died in 1611). English navigator and explorer. In 1607-08 Hudson searched for a northeast passage to China in the Arctic ocean above Russia. In 1609, with Dutch backing, he searched for a northwest passage to China in the new world. In this process he discovered the Hudson River in today's New York. In 1910, with English backing, he entered Hudson Strait and Hudson Bay in today's Canada, establishing an English claim to this area. After a bitter winter, he was set adrift with his son by a mutinous crew and left to die.
indentured servants. People, usually poor or prisoners, who agree to provide free labor in order to repay debts. In the period covered it was common for poor people to repay the cost of their voyage to America by serving five to seven years as laborers before starting independent lives.
inlet. A bay or recess in the shore of a sea or lake.
Iroquois Confederacy. This was a political union of five Indian tribes west of the Great Lakes: the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Senecca, formed in the 16th century. Hunters and farmers, they were peaceful together but fearsome to others. In the 1600s they were supplied with firearms by the Dutch, and became supreme in New England. Most of them sided with the British in the Revolutionary War, and were consequently devastated by the Americans. By 1800 they had lost most of their territory, often through treaty violations and land fraud.
James I (1566-1625). Son of Mary Queen of Scots and king of Scotland as James VI from 1567, he succeeded Elizabeth I as the ruler of England 1602-25, thus establishing the Stuart line. He sought autocratic control over Parliament, which alienated may people, as did his gay personal life. He backed colonization in America (Jamestown is named after him), and he commissioned the Authorized Version of the Bible (King James Version, 1611, used by many Protestants). He was succeeded by his son, Charles I.
Jamestown. Founded in 1607 as the James Fort on a small peninsula on the James River. The House of Burgesses first met there in 1619. It was the capital of Virginia until 1699, when the capital was moved to Williamsburg, to the northwest. The ruins of the original fort were rediscovered in 1996.
Netherlands. Under Spanish rule in the 16th century, seven provinces in the north broke away from Spain and formed the Union of Utrecht in 1579; in 1681 it was declared the Netherlands, or United Provinces. The 17th century saw the golden age of the Netherlands, made prosperous by overseas trading and colonies. A Protestant country, it was famed for its religious tolerance and cultural life, but in the 18th century it was outrivalled by England and France.
Newfoundland. A large island on the Atlantic Coast of Canada, it was a haven for fishermen working the Great Banks. England claimed it in 1583, and it joined the Dominion of Canada in 1949.
New York. Name of the state and city, taken when the English took over New Netherland in 1664. Over the next hundred years the city developed rapidly as prosperous trade center, and by 1790 it was the largest city in the US. Today it is divided into five boroughs: Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island; the larger metropolitan area covers New Jersey and Connecticut as well as New York and western Long Island.
New Spain. New Spain was a Viceroyalty of Spain's new world empire. It including part of the American southwest, all of today's Mexico, Central America except Panama, the Caribbean Islands, and the part of the Spanish Main on the coast of South American which is now Venezuela. The other Viceroyalty at this time was Peru, which covered South America outside Brazil. These two Viceroyalties existed for almost 300 years, from the early 1500s to the Wars of Independence in 1810-30.
Orient. The far east of Asia, particularly China.
parliament. A body of elected representatives responsible for writing a country's laws and controlling its finance. A country ruled by a parliament is a republic. The mother of all parliaments is the British Parliament.
patent. An official document conferring a right or privilege.
patroon. The proprietor of a manorial estate in New York granted under Dutch rule but sometimes lasting until the mid 19th century.
piedmont. Land lying or formed at the base of mountains.
pilgrim. A person who makes a pilgrimage or religious journey.
plantation. A large farm where laborers live on its grounds.
Pocahontas (1595-1617). Daughter of the Indian Chief Powhatan, she befriended the settlers of Jamestown. In 1614 she was christened, married John Rolfe and went to England, where she died of smallpox.
proprietary. Privately owned and managed.
Protestant. A Christian denying the universal authority of the Pope and affirming the Reformation principles of justification by faith alone, the priesthood of all believers, and the primacy of the Bible as the only source of revealed truth.
Puritans. The Puritans were English Protestants who wanted a simple form of worship based on Scripture, a devout personal and family life, and the abolition of church hierarchy. They stressed self-discipline, work, and the Christianizing of all spheres of life. Most were Calvinists, believing in original sin, predestination, and salvation through grace.
    Initially showing up in the 1560s seeking to "purify" the Anglican Church of irreligious vestments and images, they later came to oppose the authority of the bishops and of the monarchy. They were systematically repressed under James I and more so under Charles I, causing many to emigrate to America.
    The English Civil War of 1642-49 led to a brief Puritan domination of England under the rule of Oliver Cromwell, but it was weakened by internal strife. After the Restoration of 1660, most Puritans left the Church and became Nonconformists. They would later be Baptists, Brethren, Congregationalists, Methodists, Presbyterians, and Quakers.
    In the new world the Puritans were able to construct a completely pure society, uncorrupted by the conflicts of Europe. They constructed a theocracy founded on essentially anti-democratic principles, which demanded literal Biblical prototypes for all its institutions and activities in order to be an earthly expression of the will of God. They were very strict, even seeing Christmas as pagan. But by the 1660s a growing secularism was gradually weakening their society, and the excesses of the Salem witchcraft trials of the 1690s further hurt their cause.
    The Puritans have had a continuing and powerful effect on the United States. Their town meetings were the first example of grass-roots democracy in America. They were remarkably advanced in some realms, enacting divorce laws more liberal than the English ones, and legislation promoting certain individual rights. Through their strong support of education (Harvard was founded in 1636) they transmitted to future generations their rationalism and other humanist traditions. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts began the Revolutionary War, and in the 19th century the abolition movement against slavery was centered in New England. Thoreau, Emerson, and Hawthorne are some of the intellectual descendants of the Puritans.
Quebec. Founded in 1608 by Champlain at the mouth of the St. Lawrence River, Quebec is Canada's oldest city. Its defensive position on a high cliff made it the key fort protecting France's new world presence, and its capture by the British in 1759 effectively ended the French and Indian War in Britain's favor. Quebec has remained essentially French in an English-speaking Canada.
rapids. A part of a river where the current is fast and the surface broken by obstructions.
Raleigh, Walter (1554-1618). English explorer and poet, a favorite of Queen Elizabeth I. He named Virginia for his Queen and organized the attempts to colonize Roanoke Island with her backing. In 1587 he lost Elizabeth's favor, but continued to have numerous adventures, finally spending much of his time in the Tower of London where he wrote the first volume of his "History of the World." He was executed by James I in 1618 for treason.
Reformation. The Reformation was a religious revolution in the 16th century which divided western Christendom into two camps, the Catholic and the Protestant. There were many causes, but the igniting spark was Martin Luther who nailed 95 Theses protesting the sale of indulgences on the church door at Wittenberg in 1517. A generation later John Calvin of Switzerland established the most severe doctrines of the Protestant movement, e.g., predestination. Germany became divided; after much conflict France and Mediterranean Europe remained Catholic; but the Netherlands and Scandinavia went Protestant.
    England's shift under Henry VIII was more political; his ideal was "the papacy without the pope," which produced the Anglican church with its later offshoot of the Puritans. The Presbyterian version, indebted to Calvin through John Knox, was centered in Scotland.
    Much of the Reformation involved not religious doctrine but church government, and democratic reform here became a precedent for democratic reform in secular government.
    In general the individual's role became greater in the Protestant religion; perhaps the key was the invention of the printing press. This allowed translations of the Bible (hitherto available only in Latin) into modern languages, like German and English, to be printed and read en mass; thus individuals could form their own religious views in the privacy of home and hearth. In England this readership produced increasingly more radical sects, arriving at the Quakers by the late 17th century who had an almost Buddhist, even hippie, philosophy of brotherly love and inner light. This dependence on direct reading of the Bible for inspiration and clarity culminated in fundamentalism in the later United States.
remnants. Small part or trace remaining.
Restoration. Name given to the return of Charles II as king of England in 1660, after the fall of Puritan rule. The Restoration was widely popular in England. The Restoration period, from 1660 to 1688 ( ruled by Charles II and then his brother, a Roman Catholic, James II, both sons of Charles I), was one of irreverent wit, licentiousness, and scientific and literary achievement. But relations between Parliament and the two kings were uneasy, and the Glorious Revolution of 1688 brought an end to James II's rule in favor of his daughter, Mary, who was married to William of Orange, the ruler of Holland. Both of them were Protestants; they ruled as William and Mary. In 1689 the dual monarchs were required to agree to a "Bill of Rights" limiting their powers and defining those of Parliament. This established Britain as a limited constitutional monarchy.
Rolfe, John (1585-1622). Early English settler in Virginia who married the Indian princess Pocahontas in 1614. His methods of curing tobacco made it the basis of the colonyıs later prosperity. He was probably killed in the Indian massacre of 1622.
Roman Catholic Church. The Catholic Church emerged from the fall of the Roman Empire as the universal Christian Church. The bishop of Rome ruled the Church as the Pope. In the dark age that followed, pagan Europe was converted to Christianity. The Church maintained a spiritual continuum from Christ himself through the Mass. The Church passed on much of the civilization and learning of Antiquity to Europe, partly through the monasteries which copied and transmitted the Greek and Roman writings.
    In 1054 AD the Byzantine Empire in the east split off and formed the Orthodox Church. For a thousand years the Catholic Church had influenced all aspects of life in western Europe. Though the emerging European nations maintained absolute obedience to Christianity, there was a constant struggle with kings and the emperor (of the Holy Roman Empire, or German-speaking peoples) over the Church's political claims.
    The Reformation split much of northern Europe off from the Church, which met this challenge with the Council of Trent and the Counter-reformation. Today there are about 645 million Roman Catholics world-wide.
Santa Fe. Founded by Spain in 1609 (or 1610 for beginning building the presidio) at a site of prehistoric Indian pueblos, Santa Fe became a major trading center at the western end of the Santa Fe Trail in the 19th century, connecting Americans to Mexico in the south. Today it is the capital of the state of New Mexico.
shoal. A sandbank or sandbar in shallow water.
Smith, John (1580-1631). English explorer, soldier and writer. Smith came to Jamestown with the first colonists. As conditions worsened he took control of the colony which allowed its survival. He claimed to have been captured by Chief Powhatan in 1607 and save from death by the Chief's daughter, Pocahontas. Smith sailed back to England in 1609. In 1614 he returned to America and charted the coast of New England, publishing his findings in "A Description of New England" (1616), in which he named New England, and named the area on the mainland opposite Cape Cod "Plymouth." (Through an incredible coincidence of history, the Pilgrims set sail from Plymouth on the west coast of England, and by accident landed at Plymouth on east coast of New England.)
Spanish Armada. England was at war with Spain from 1587 to 1603. Philip II of Spain sent a huge fleet of Spanish and Portuguese vessels, called the Spanish Armada, to the English Channel in 1588 to overthrow Queen Elizabeth and put Philip on the English throne. The Armada was defeated by England; as a result Spain declined and Elizabethan England flourished.
tidewater. Water overflowing land at flood tide; also, water, as in a river, affected by the ebb and flow of the ocean tide.
tobacco. This plant, when processed and smoked, chewed,or snuffed, imparts nicotine to the user. Nicotine and related alkaloids of tobacco furnish habit-forming and narcotic effects which account for tobacco's popularity. Cultivated initially by Indians in the new world (and used in their peace pipes), John Rolfe of Jamestown discovered a method of fire-curing it which made it a cash crop for the Virginia colony. Its great potential for profit led to the organization of enormous single-crop plantations requiring large bodies of slave labor in Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina. Tobacco rapidly depletes the soil; this led to a shift of cultivation westward into Tennessee and Kentucky, and with it slavery.
    Great tobacco empires developed in the 19th century to produce pipe and chewing tobacco and snuff. They became the well known cigarette companies of today. It is now known that smoking tobacco causes lung cancer and heart disease.
West Indies. Located in the Caribbean Sea south of Florida and west of Central America, these islands long played a crucial role in the new world. Spanish throughout the 16th century, England and France staked out islands in the 1600s. Barbados was the most populated English settlement in the 17th century. The sugar plantations of the West Indies required importing huge slave populations from Africa. Ships of New England transported goods to and from the West Indies; this became a major source of wealth for the American colonies.
Williams, Roger (1603-1683). Founder of Rhode Island. As a young man in England, Williams was ordained as an Anglican clergyman, but he developed Puritan sympathies and to avoid persecution he emigrated to the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Here he called for the separation of church and state and attacked the violations of Indian rights. When the Puritan magistrates tried to seize him he took refuge with the Indians; he purchased land from the Narragansett Indians and established Providence, Rhode Island, in 1636. This colony was based on liberal principles and accepting all religious creeds including Jews and Quakers.
    In later life Williams returned to England and obtained a charter from Charles II to protect Rhode Island from being forcibly annexed by its orthodox Puritan neighbors. In his 70s he participated in King Philip's war as a commander of the Providence forces.
Winthrop, John (1606-1676). Leader of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Trained as a lawyer, Winthrop led the migration of Puritans initially to Salem, founding Boston in 1630. He was elected governor of the colony 12 times. He saw the colony through its early crises. Winthrop's personal journal, now know as "The History of New England," is an invaluable source for the history of this early period.

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