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The southern colonies include North Carolina, Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, and Maryland. The southern colonies were known as large farms or plantations, and slaves worked on the farm. The geography of the southern colony includes good harbors, deep wide rivers, and Atlantic coastal plains. This will be a positive characteristic as harbors and rivers can be used for transportation and easy travel in the Atlantic coastal plain. However, climate can be a challenge at times. The summer is humid and very hot that it can be hard to do. Then again, winter would be much better and is very mild. In general, the climate and geography seem to be in the middle. The southern colonies include the Piedmont region and the coastal plain. Furthermore, the soil with hot summer and mild winter is ideal for cultivation. Here, the growing season was longer than in other regions. Hence, geography is a resource, but the climate can be a barrier.
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The economy of the southern colonies was dependent on agriculture. Many colonists who came to the southern colonies were wealthy merchants or aristocrats from the UK and desired to become wealthier from land ownership. The plain land is ideal for farming; thus, landowners set up large farms known as the plantation. In addition, the cultivated crops are also known as cash crops as they were reaped for the specific goal of selling to others. The cash crops grown in the southern colonies were rice, tobacco, cotton, and indigo (the plant used to make blue dye). Tobacco is a major cash crop in Maryland and Virginia. The main cash crops in Georgia and South Carolina were rice and indigo. Besides that, the cash crop produced in every colony depends on the type of crop which is best on the type of soil in the colony. The southern colonies had fewer cities and towns as agriculture took up large tracts of land scattered separately.
Some founders of the southern colonies had much land there. They recognized that a warm climate and rich soil were suitable for a plantation or large farms. The plantation was huge, almost like their own town, and needed a lot of manpower. Additionally, the plantation had to be maintained throughout the year. Thus, there was no occupation other than working in the field. It is difficult for the plantation owner to find people who can work on the farm. The owners of the large farms employed slaves and indentured servants from Africa to work in the field. If many people do not work to harvest the cash crops, their cultivation will not be successful. The slaves also worked as servants for the family of the plantation owner in the main house. The plantation owners were the richest families within the southern colony. Most plantations gave laborer and the family what they needed throughout the year, so the plantation was widespread today. Furthermore, they were usually along the coastal plain, near the river or ocean, to transport their cash crops to other countries or colonies. Also, children in large firms had personal tutors who taught them to write and read.
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While the southern colonies were rich in plantations, most colonies were small farms. The farm was extensive, and they were within the backcountry instead of being along the coast. On the other side of the coastal plain, more inland, the backcountry area was considered Piedmont. Additionally, the backcountry was far from schools and towns; thus, children living on small farms rarely go to school or learn to write or read unless their parents taught them. The farm owners often worked in the field, different from the plantation owners. If the small farm owner had something, indentured slaves and servants could help, but the owner worked together with them.
While many southerners live on small farms, some rich people live on large farms. Most of the plantation work is done by indentured slaves and servants. The indentured slaves were given access to the new world but then had to work for a certain time to pay off their debts. In general, they worked for four to seven years after releasing them. A large percentage of white settlers were indentured workers in North America. Also, some small farm owners employed contracted slaves and servants. But these owners usually worked together when farm owners did not.
Once landowners understood the potential of resources from agriculture in the southern colonies, they recognized they required labor. There were plenty of lands, but insufficient people could work on the field. The opposite was true in the UK. Many landowners became unemployed and had lost their land. Hence, they were prepared to move to North America to get a chance to have their land and begin new. In the colonies, landowners agreed to pay for clothing, food, shelter, and transportation of such enthusiastic individuals (indentured servants) to be brought to North America. In response, these indentured slaves would work on the landowner's farm for 4 to 7 years to pay off the debt owed to the landowner to bring them to the colony. Indentured slaves were independent people who decided to work for another person for free and would sign a contract or agreement specifying the terms of the contract.
Meanwhile, plantation owners had become disappointed with the indentured servant system. It became more difficult to find people who eagerly preferred to become indentured. Additionally, due to the loss of indentured slaves, they executed the agreement and created a labor shortage. The owners of the plantations relied on slavery, which ensured permanent labor. Virginia legalized the practice in 1661 and started to rely on Africa for slave workers. The demand for slaves increased with increasing cultivation. Slaves imported from Africa have greatly enlarged the population of the southern colonies.
In conclusion, the Southern colonies had an agricultural economy. The export and sale of cash crops carried a lot of resources to the plantation owners. Many slaves worked on large farms. Also, enslaved Africans cultivated the culture that supported their survival.
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