Throughout the 17th century, there were slaves found in every colony of what is now the United States. The Southern colonies held the most slaves due to the economic situation of the period that was based upon agriculture. Until the industrial revolution in the 19th century, the southern colonies relied on the cash crops of tobacco, cotton, corn and rice.Know More
Between the years of 1670 and 1750, the enslaved population in the Northern colonies remained at a steady number. In the Southern colonies, the population of enslaved Africans and African Americans increased from 15 percent of the total population to almost 40 percent of the total population. The climate and geography of the Southern colonies were perfect for agriculture. Abundant rainfall and warmer weather for most of the year made it possible to produce very large crops to be sold. Cotton and tobacco became the largest, most harvested crops.
Slave labor allowed Southern farmers to plant and harvest more crops without having to pay for labor, leading to the emergence of the wealthy planter-class that defines the antebellum South. Without the labor of enslaved people, this planter class would not have amassed exorbitant sums of wealth. Having slaves allowed these families to become even wealthier, helping them to buy more slaves. Some crops, such as rice, proved difficult to grow, and the planter class lacked the skill. Plantation owners would purchase slaves from the region of West Africa that had experience growing rice to work on their farms.Learn more about US History
Life in the southern colonies was dictated by a person's standing in society. For example, while the children of rich plantation owners benefited from a good education, those living in the backcountry may not have learned to read or write.Full Answer >
The southern colonies had many different religions, but were primarily Anglicans or Baptists. The middle colonies also had many different religions, which included Catholics, Jews and Quakers.Full Answer >
The culture of the southern colonies was primarily agricultural and included wealthy plantation owners, smaller farmers, indentured servants and slaves who provided labor for the plantations. This predominantly rural area offered rich farmland and a warm, humid climate, ideal for crops like tobacco, cotton and grain.Full Answer >
Some important people in the Southern colonies were Thomas Jefferson, Captain John Smith and Elizabeth (Eliza) Lucas Pinckney. All three made essential contributions to their communities and to the country.Full Answer >