Peoples, Settlement, and Development of colonial America 9

The economic, social, and political forces of the colonial Atlantic world shaped the settlement and development of Delaware. When European trade and disease decimated Native American populations, native nations such as the Iroquois and the Susquehannocks launched wars for captives against smaller tribes, including Delaware’s Lenni Lenape. In order to protect themselves from more powerful native peoples and the Europeans, the Lenni Lenape traded their land for European goods and then migrated to the interior, where they incorporated themselves into other tribes. By 1700, few Lenni Lenapes remained in Delaware. The commerce and politics of the colonial Atlantic world also shaped the experiences of Europeans and Africans in Delaware. Planters sought the labor of Europeans and enslaved Africans to address their labor needs. Middle-class families from Maryland and Britain also came to Delaware for land. And Delaware farmers and planters, using free and unfree labor, grew products for sale in the wider Atlantic world. The more heavily populated and commercially powerful colonies of Pennsylvania and Maryland shaped social and economic life in colonial Delaware. In many ways, northern Delaware was an extension of the middle colony of Pennsylvania, with small farmers, artisans, and merchants settling the northern county of New Castle. The Swedes, the Dutch, the non-Quaker English, and the few African slaves of New Castle produced grain for Philadelphia merchants. With the beginnings of the great Scots-Irish migration to the colonies in the early 1720s, large numbers of Scots-Irish indentured servants and families appeared in New Castle County, as did Quaker families from Pennsylvania, adding to New Castle’s ethnic and religious diversity. The streams that flowed into the Christiana and Delaware Rivers around Wilmington encouraged merchants to erect mills. By the 1740s, Wilmington had become an important destination for the wheat, corn, and flour produced by Delaware’s laborers. The southern counties of Kent and Sussex were much like the Chesapeake colony of Maryland, which bordered them to the south and west. Because Dutch merchants and Swedish officials had difficulty attracting settlers to Delaware, early on they turned to indentured and enslaved Africans to address their labor shortage. Although slavery was an important social and economic institution in Delaware during the colonial period, it never grew to the importance that it did in the Chesapeake colonies. Southern Delaware’s population of enslaved Africans peaked at around 30 percent in the early 1700s, compared to the 40, 50, and sometimes 60 percent in heavily enslaved areas of Virginia and Maryland. After the English established dominion, slavery grew slowly in Delaware. It was only after 1710 that planters began following the farmers who had left Maryland for Delaware over the previous half century. As these planters and farmers in the lower counties developed commercial ties with Philadelphia, they shifted production away from tobacco to grains. Delaware planters’ heavier reliance on less labor-intensive crops such as wheat explains in part why slavery was far less established in the lower counties of Delaware than in neighboring Maryland. The large numbers of indentured servants from Scotland and Ireland who arrived in Delaware beginning in the 1720s further lessened planters’ and farmers’ need for African slaves. From the 1720s through the 1760s, the size of Delaware’s unfree white population rivaled the size of its unfree black population. Delaware, befitting its place as a colony in between, straddled the line that separated societies with slaves (such as Pennsylvania) from slave societies (such as Maryland and Virginia), where the number of slaves was much higher and the institution more central to the society’s economy, political order, and culture. The majority of white families in southern Delaware engaged in farming, supplementing family labor with the labor of indentured servants and perhaps one or two African slaves. Despite the numerical majority of small farming families, the few planters who owned larger plantations, which were worked by twenty or more slaves, tended to dominate social, economic, and political life in southern Delaware. American Indian Civics Project: 20th Century Indian Relations with … Mapq8German Americans – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Mapq8History of Rhode Island – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Mapq8

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