Interesting Questions, Facts and Information
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Interesting Questions, Facts, and Information
U.S. Colonial History
Powhatan. Powhatan was the chief. His daughter was Pocahontas. The story of his saving John Smith from being beheaded is highly suspect since Smith was known to exaggerate in order to make himself appear to be larger than life.
Captain John Smith. In a terrible first year, 80% of the original settlers died from disease, starvation and Indian attacks. The remaining settlers were ready to return to England when they were met at the mouth of the Chesapeake by a supply ship and new settlers. They turned back and once at the fort Captain John Smith took over control of the colony.
Jamestown, Virginia. In May 1607 three ships sailed up the Chesapeake Bay and the James River and landed 100 settlers on a marshy swamp, and here they established the first English colony.
James I. The first two (private) attempts to establish a colony in the New World had failed, and no further private attempts were made. After the death of Elizabeth I and the coronation of James I a joint stock company was formed which expected to reap a profit from its investment, much like the riches the Spanish were extracting from South and Central America.
Virginia Dare. Virginia Dare was the first English child born in the New World but when the supply ship returned all they found was a vacant fort with the word 'Crotan' carved on a tree. The fate of the settlers to this day is pure conjecture.
war between Britain and Spain. About three quarters of the Spanish Armada was destroyed, when they sought protection in a French port and were burned by the British. The remaining ships tried to circle the British Island and ran into severe storms in the North Sea. Only a handful of ships returned to Spain in one piece. From then on England was the ruler of the sea.
St. Augustine. St. Augustine is the oldest European colony on the American mainland. It has flown the flag of three countries Spain, America and Confederate States of America (1861-1865).
Sir Walter Raleigh. There is no written evidence of this event occurring but it makes for a good story. In reality Walter Raleigh was a man of opportunity and was at the right place at the right time and managed to gain favors from the queen.
Fountain of Youth. There was no 'Fountain of Youth' and Ponce de Leon was killed by hostile natives.
Spain. Columbus tried to sell his planned voyage west to reach the east to several different countries but no one was interested. However, the Queen of Spain had a soft spot in her heart for Columbus and convinced her husband that the voyage might turn a profit.
Portugal. Sailors from Prince Henry's School of Navigation were the first sailors to sail around the tip of Africa and on to India. However, Prince Henry never lived to see the ultimate success of his school.
Prince Henry of Portugal. Up until the mid fifteenth century most sailors refused to sail too far from the sight of land. They believed the earth was flat and that they would sail over the edge. The use of the sextant and compass allowed the sailors to sail further and navigate by the stars.
Leif Ericsson. Although no written record has been found of their discovery, the Vikings have been given credit for first setting foot in North America around 1000 A.D. There are remains of some Viking settlements that lasted about 2-4 years.
These ruins have been found as far south as northern Massachusetts.
|Why did most Native American tribes have better relations with the French rather than the British?||US History - 2
The French only wanted to trade with them, the British wanted their land. The Indians did not understand the concept of land ownership. To the Indians the land belonged to everyone for communal use, not to an individual. The French were mainly interested in the fur trade.
|In 1681 King Charles II granted a Royal Charter to the Quaker, William Penn. Which colony did he establish?||US History - 2
Pennsylvania. Penn founded the colony of Pennsylvania and the city of Philadelphia, also known as the "city of brotherly love" since the Quakers were a very peaceful group of settlers. They abided by the treaties they made with the Indians and as a result they had far fewer problems than other English colonies.
|What was the cause of Bacon's Rebellion in the Virginia Colony?||US History - 2
The government's inability to protect settlers against Indian attacks. The Virginia settlers had suffered several severe massacres at the hands of the Indians after the death of Powhatan in 1622, but still the colonists spread out from the Jamestown fort. By 1676 many settlements were too far away to be defended by the Jamestown Militia. Defense of course cost money and many of the western settlers were the poorest members of the colony. Bacon led a group of armed settlers to Jamestown where they confronted the House of Burgesses and delivered a list of their demands. When they were not acted on the group burned several public buildings. Bacon was arrested but before he could be tried he died. It is alleged that before he died he left a curse on the area. Today his house, which has been restored, is said to be haunted and on the anniversiary of his death he has been said to have seen roaming the halls.
|Between the years 1610-1754 what country was pushing its influence across Canada and the Great Lakes?||US History - 2
France. The French founded several trading posts along the St.Lawrence River (Montreal and Quebec) and across the Great Lakes (Detroit and as far south as present day Pittsburgh). The French also explored the Mississippi River. (They were the first European nation to sail the entire length of the river.) They also founded settlements in present day Louisiana (New Orleans) as well as present day Arkansas. They had better relations with the Indians because they founded small trading posts while the British wanted to own the land - a concept that was foreign to the Indians.
|What was the name of and where was the first college in the British colonies?||US History - 2
Harvard , Cambridge, Massachusetts. Harvard was the first institution of higher learning in the colonies, followed by the College of William and Mary.
|What is the name of the oldest locally elected governing body in the English colonies?||US History - 2
The Virginia House of Burgesses. In 1619 the Virginia House of Burgesses met for the first time. The body consisted of local citizens, most from the upper class, that decided local laws, with final approval resting with the king of England. Arguably, the House of Representatives is descended from this colonial body.
|In 1664 the English annexed the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam thus giving them control of the Atlantic Coast from Carolina to Massachusetts. What was the new name given to New Amsterdam?||US History - 2
New York. New Amsterdam was renamed New York, after the Duke of York, who commanded the English forces. Although the Dutch tried to reoccupy the area in 1673 the English won complete and undisputed control by treaty the following year.
|Under a land grant from the king to the Calvert family, Lord Baltimore founded a colony at St. Mary's, Maryland. What was unique about this colony?||US History - 2
It was the only colony founded with a Catholic majority. The colony of Maryland was founded on the principle of religious freedom for Christians.
|In 1626 the Dutch sent settlers to the New World to establish a colony. What was the name of their outpost on the Atlantic coast?||US History - 2
New Amsterdam. The Dutch 'purchased' from the Indians the land around current day New York city for about $25 dollars worth of trinkets, one of the best real estate bargains of all time. The only problem was that the Indians did not recognize the theory of land ownership. This is one reason why the Dutch and the English had so much trouble with the Indians.
|While on board the ship the Pilgrims signed a document. What was it called?||US History - 2
The Mayflower Compact. The Mayflower Compact was a document that set up the foundations of government of the Plymouth colony. It is agreed by historians that this document is what the American Constitution is based on.
|In 1620, 102 English Pilgrims arrived at the New World and founded a colony. Where did they land?||US History - 2
Plymouth Rock. The Plymouth colony was made up of a group of Puritans, a religious group that did not agree with the Church of England. Unlike most English Puritans of the time, they were "Separatists", that is, they left the Church of England altogether instead of trying to reform it from within. It was this group of colonists that after a successful first year celebrated the first feast of Thanksgiving.
|The year 1619 is refered to as a "Red Letter Year" in the Jamestown colony. Why?||US History - 2
Arrival in the colony of slaves, single women and elected government. In this year single women were brought to the colony to provide wives for all the single settlers. Also, Dutch traders imported 20 black slaves from West Africa. The first black men were, strictly speaking, "indentured servants" who had to work off the payment of their passage for a specified length of time, usually seven to ten years. Actual slavery developed when it was realized that the black men were there against their will and very few spoke English. The first local elected governing body, the House of Burgesses, took their seats in this year.
|Captain John Smith was forced to return to England. Why?||US History - 2
Badly injured in a maritime explosion. Captain Smith was leading a group exploring the Virginia tributaries to the Chesapeake Bay when a gunpowder keg exploded and he was badly burnt. Unable to perform his duties, he returned to England so as not to be a burden on others in the colony.
John Rolfe. John Rolfe, a successful English planter, fell in love with the Indian maiden and asked her father Powhatan for her hand in marriage. The chief agreed and as a result there were peaceful relations between the Indians and the settlers until 1618 when Powhatan died. His successor, Opechancanough, didn't trust the white settlers and was responsible for a massacre that killed one third of them.
Northwest Passage. The Northwest Passage was as sought after as El Dorado.
|Explorer Henry Hudson claimed territory in the New World for which European country?||US History - 2
The Netherlands. Henry Hudson, sailing his ship "Half Moon", explored the Hudson River in present day New York State. He sailed as far inland as present day Albany looking for a Northwest Passage across or past the American mainland to the Pacific. He also explored the bay in northern Canada that bears his name, although this land was not claimed for the Netherlands.
|In 1773 what did the Sons of Liberty do in Boston that outraged the British government?||US History - 3
Dumped a ship load of tea into Boston Harbor. Dumping tea into Boston Harbor to protest a new tax on tea was only the beginning of tough times for the citizens of Boston. The king ordered that the port of Boston closed, in an effort to collect the tax money. Instead the colonies pulled together and presented a united front.
|What were the citizens of Boston protesting when the British troops opened fire on them in 1770, killing five?||US History - 3
The Townshend Act. A mob of irate citizens pelted a group of British soldiers with snow balls when shots rang out. The end result was that five colonists were killed. This became known as the Boston Massacre and was one of many events that would lead to the American Revolution.