Era 2 Themes

ERA 2 HIGHLIGHTS IN NEW HAMPSHIRE: permanent English settlements; arrival of black Africans; human-landscape interactions; cultural exchange; colonial government; English, Native American, and French rivalries and warfare; differences with Massachusetts

The first permanent English settlements in New Hampshire occurred later than those of the French to the north or the Spanish to the distant south. Europeans came to New Hampshire for economic reasons,
looking to exploit the resources of the area, especially forests, furs, and fish. The placement of the first four English towns-Portsmouth, Dover, Exeter, and Hampton-along the coastal fall line demonstrates one of the many effects of the physical environment on human settlement. English settlers' cutting of timber along Great Bay is an early example of how European settlement affected the ecosystem.

In this era Native American, European, and African peoples from three continents converged. Colonial New Hampshire society was a complex product of cultural interaction. Cultural interaction, for instance, brought European diseases that wiped out up to 95% of the Native American population before most European settlers had arrived. Likewise both sides learned about new foods, articles of clothing, words, and ways of life.

England and France acted out their rivalries around the globe, and one of their troublesome battlegrounds turned out to be northern New England between 1500 and 1763. Native Americans were often drawn into the conflict asallies to one or the other side, even when they tried to remain neutral. Leaders such as Passaconaway and Wonalancet tried to formulate the best reaction to European intrusions on the Native American homeland, and those reactions varied from all out warfare to accommodation. The narratives of white captives during this conflict became a new American literary form, usually with religious overtones. The Treaty of Paris in 1763 marked the victory of England over France. After this, the interior of New Hampshire opened up to English settlement. Many Abenakis retreated into what is now Vermont and
Canada as a result of pressure from the English population.

During the same period, in Africa, some tribal societies had grown into large and prosperous kingdoms. England participated in the African slave trade, and when English colonists came to America, slaves and free men came with them. The African slave trade, fired by a need for labor in the New World, depleted and disrupted the populace in the interior of Africa, creating political imbalance on that continent. African slaves were brought to New Hampshire very early. The first recorded slave in Portsmouth appears in the records in 1645.

Economic investors, political contenders, the English Crown, Native Americans, Africans, and Massachusetts Bay Colony contended for control of the government during the New Hampshire colonial era.
In that mix there were, however, ideas in law and government that would eventually form the bases for democratic rule. The Wentworths figured preeminently in New Hampshire colonial government for sixty
years before the Revolution. Wentworth family rule hit its stride in 1717 when John Wentworth became lieutenant governor, continued through the twenty-five years that John's son Benning held the post of first
royal governor of New Hampshire, and ended in 1775 when Benning's nephew Governor John Wentworth, fled his post under pressure from the Revolutionaries.

Differences between Massachusetts Bay Colony and New Hampshire also began in this era. In general, while the first New Hampshire colonists pursued economic ends, the Puritan government of Massachusetts Bay pursued religious ends. At times, such as during the rule ofLt. Governor John Wentworth, New Hampshire was united with Massachusetts Bay. At other times. New Hampshire kept its
autonomy. From the start, however. New Hampshire was both a refuge and a coveted object for Massachusetts Bay colonists. Religious dissenters from Massachusetts Bay settled Exeter: another group
from Massachusetts Bay, who were not dissenters, settled Hampton. Both groups contended for control of the government.

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