In the 1600's, which English colony would have been the best place to live?

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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Pennsylvania would be my choice for the best colony in which to live in the 1600s. There are several reasons for this. The first reason is that there was religious freedom in Pennsylvania. Unlike other colonies, the people who lived in Pennsylvania were free to practice whatever religion they wanted. This may explain why so many people of different nationalities and religions came to live in this colony. Pennsylvania was known as the melting pot because people from so many different backgrounds lived here.

Pennsylvania was a good place to farm. Being closer to the southern colonies than New England was allowed the people to deal with a better climate for farming and having more fertile soil to use for growing crops. Many farmers grew wheat. Wheat was the cash crop of Pennsylvania. It was called the breadbasket colony because of all the wheat that was grown. Additionally, there were some industries in Pennsylvania, so people that didn’t farm, could work in these industries.

Because of the religious freedom and the variety of jobs, Pennsylvania would have been my choice for the best colony in which to live in the 1600s.

jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The best colony to live in would have been Rhode Island, officially called Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. Founded by Roger Williams, a dissenter who fled Puritans in Massachusetts, Rhode Island granted its inhabitants freedom of religion. This right was enshrined in the Royal Charter of 1663, granted by the British king, Charles II. The colony was a haven for religious minorities, including Quakers and Jews, who, according to some sources, arrived as early as 1658 from Portugal. Rhode Island took an enlightened stance on issues such as slavery and witchcraft. For example, the colony abolished witchcraft trials and outlawed slavery for whites and blacks in 1652. The colony also outlawed capital punishment. These were novel and forward-thinking stances to take in the 1600s. 


pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If we include the late 1600s, I would pick Pennsylvania as the best colony in which to live.  Unlike the South, there was not much slavery in Pennsylvania, which makes it attractive.  Unlike New England, it was not dominated by Puritans.  In fact, Penn was committed to the idea of freedom of religion.  That would have been a major plus for me at least.  Finally, the climate would have made Pennsylvania a nicer place to live and an easier place to farm than the New England colonies would have been.  For this combination of lack of slavery, good climate, and freedom of religion, Pennsylvania would have been the best place to live.