‘The Chesapeake’ refers to both Virginia and Maryland. Virginia began with the founding of Jamestown, which barely survived the ‘starving time’ but ultimately managed to grow and develop significantly.
The economy in the Chesapeake revolved around the growing of tobacco for export to Europe. Unfortunately for the settlers, tobacco plants quickly exhausted the nutrients of the soil they were growing in and forced farmers to continue moving westward in search of new farmland. This geographic dispersion hurt the colony during the war with the Powhatan Confederacy, a conflict that cost the colony about 25% of its population.
Labor, in the form of indentured Chesapeake Chiropractor servants, was exported to the Chesapeake through the Headright System. Under this system, anyone who paid their way to the colonies received 50 free acres of land upon their arrival. Farmers who paid for the passage of indentured servants got the 50 acres for themselves, allowing businesspeople to expand their acreage and workforce simultaneously. Indentured servants worked for a specified number of years and then received their freedom, as well as some goods called ‘Freedom Dues.’
Because indentured servants were generally male, there were many more men than women in the Chesapeake. This situation, along with the toll disease took on the population, kept family size relatively small. The initial bout of sickness that newcomers had to endure was called ‘seasoning,’ during which they were infected and hopefully fought off the foreign diseases that America housed.
Relations between members of the Chesapeake colony and nearby Indian tribes were generally uneasy, for a number of reasons. Tribes owned land communally, which made the creation of contracts difficult. In addition, Indian chiefs generally had far less control over their tribe than whites expected.
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The Adventure Begins.
This is the ‘sea story’ of the Coral Lee‘s maiden voyage (well, her maiden voyage under my ownership) across the Chesapeake Bay to her new home at Goose Creek Marina. She’s a 26’ Pearson Ariel, sloop-rigged, and my friend Dave had offered to help sail her to her new home port. When I bought her at an auction she was tied up in White Rocks Marina, off the Patapsco River near Baltimore, and I had only taken her out one time, on sort-of a ‘shake-down’ cruise, just to make sure things were working properly for the voyage. I had paid the marina bill and needed to move her before the next annual fee was assessed, so time was of the essence.
It was in early May of ’04 and the weather was fairly pleasant, for the Chesapeake Bay at that time of year, plus the weather forecast promised the be favorable for the weekend trip. So early Saturday morning, we drove from Salisbury to White Rocks Marina. Upon arrival, we started to load supplies and get the boat ready.