IV. The Early Modern Period, 1500–1800 > I. North America, 1500–1789 > 3. Colonial History, 1641–1737 > c. Virginia, Delaware, and Maryland
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
c. Virginia, Delaware, and Maryland
Lure of America and dreams of becoming landholders drew settlers, many as indentured servants, to the colonies. During the 17th century, 75 to 85 percent of the people who came to the Chesapeake area came as indentured servants. Since life expectancy remained precarious until the 1640s, landowners often willed property to their wife rather than to their oldest son.  1
Margaret Brent, a single woman and large landholder, acted as attorney for Lord Baltimore; she saved the colony from mutinous soldiers and from a Protestant revolt against the Catholic government.  2
Parliament assumed control of Maryland and suspended the governor.  3
Virginia proclaimed Charles II king of England, Scotland, and Ireland and restored the royal governor, Sir William Berkeley.  4
Virginia sanctioned slavery in colonial law. Laws on slavery soon proliferated. Among other things such laws stipulated that the child's status as free or slave followed the condition of the mother and declared that baptism did not make a person free. After Bacon's Rebellion (1676), such laws became more restrictive. Slave statutes banned interracial marriage, punished white women who bore black children, and seized the property of free blacks and stripped them of their rights. Courts later declared that a master could not be charged for murder if a slave died of injuries received during punishment for insubordination.  5
Charles Calvert became governor of Maryland. In 1675, upon the death of his father, Cecilius Calvert, the second Lord Baltimore, Charles succeeded as proprietor and third Lord Baltimore.  6
Bacon's Rebellion in Virginia. Led by Nathaniel Bacon, this revolt set discontented freemen against the colony's elite. Those in rebellion believed Governor Berkeley's policy toward the Indians was too lax. The rebels wanted the Indians killed or removed and an end to rule by the wealthy. Bacon led his followers on an unauthorized attack of a village of friendly Indians. Soon middling and poor farmers, indentured servants, and even slaves joined the rebel army. Jamestown was burned, but the rebellion collapsed with the death of Bacon. After the rebellion, the elite tried to ensure that the interracial alliance found in Bacon's rebellion would not recur. In particular, elites made a conscious decision to enact laws that would create a free white society and an enslaved black one.  7
College of William and Mary founded in Virginia.  8
By midcentury, as life expectancy increased and stable families emerged, landholders increasingly left their property to older sons instead of wives.  9
Blacks made up about 40 percent of Virginia's population of over 293,400 and about 30 percent of Maryland's 140,000.  10
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.