Let's start with the economies. The economy of the Chesapeake Bay colonies relied heavily on the production of cash crops—most notably, tobacco. Growing and processing tobacco is labor-intensive work. That is why many indentured servants, and later African slaves, were brought to these colonies. Tobacco also greatly diminishes the soil...
Let's start with the economies. The economy of the Chesapeake Bay colonies relied heavily on the production of cash crops—most notably, tobacco. Growing and processing tobacco is labor-intensive work. That is why many indentured servants, and later African slaves, were brought to these colonies. Tobacco also greatly diminishes the soil quality, so new farmland was always in demand. Tobacco from these colonies found its way into markets all over the English colonies as well as throughout Europe.
The short growing season and poor soil conditions of much of New England meant that the region could never support an agrarian economy. Instead, New England colonists turned to the forests and the seas to make a living. Just off the coast of New England lies one of the most productive fishing grounds in the world. Salted cod from New England waters became the lifeblood of the economy.
Add to this the timber resources of the interior, which supplied the shipyards. Many of these ships were built to hunt whales, another driver of the New England economy. New England also benefitted from the triangular slave trade. Molasses and sugar grown by slaves in the Caribbean often found its way to New England where it was processed into rum. This rum would then be sold or traded in African markets to purchase more slaves, some of whom were brought to the Chesapeake colonies to the South.
As you can see, the New England economy was more diverse than the Chesapeake Bay colonies. However, it was not necessarily larger, since tobacco was such a lucrative crop.
A major difference in government was that the New England colonies usually elected their own governors and legislatures while Maryland and Virginia had their governors appointed by the Crown. They did, however, elect their own legislatures. Early on, New England governments were closely tied with local Puritan power structures. At the local level, clergy and politicians were usually one and the same. The Chesapeake Colonies, on the other hand, had more of a separation between the church and politics. However, Virginia did make the Anglican Church the official state religion.