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Mortality Rate


Maryland picture
Maryland picture

In 1634 Cecilius Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore, founded Maryland under a royal charter, which made the colony Baltimore’s personal property. Baltimore, a Catholic nobleman, hoped to establish a refuge for English Catholics and sell large estates to individuals who would operate as feudal lords.

Neither the plans for feudalism nor for a Catholic refuge worked out, however. More Protestants than Catholics immigrated to Maryland. In 1649 Baltimore granted religious toleration to all Christians, but Protestants did not stop opposing him. They even overthrew Baltimore’s government on several occasions. Baltimore’s dreams of feudalism failed as well. Freed servants preferred farming on their own to staying on as tenants, and the colony quickly evolved as Virginia had: Planters (many of them former servants) imported servants from England and grew tobacco.

Chesapeake tobacco growers needed able–bodied servants. Most of those imported to Virginia and Maryland were young, poor, single men. Disease, bad water, and hostile native peoples produced a horrific death rate. In 1618 there were 700 English settlers in Virginia. The reorganized Virginia Company sent 3,000 more before 1622. A headcount that year found only about 1,200 still alive. Still, surviving planters continued to import servants. Some servants lived long enough to end their indentures, but many others died. In addition, there were too few women in the Chesapeake to enable surviving men to build families and produce new Virginians. More than two-thirds of men never married, and the white population of Virginia did not begin to sustain itself until at least the 1680s. Before that, the colony survived only by importing new people to replace those who died. "USA" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia.

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