10 Facts About the Southern Colonies

The Southern Colonies were a collection of British colonies located in what is now the southern United States.

They were comprised of:

  • Virginia
  • Maryland
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Georgia

These colonies were predominantly agricultural, with tobacco, rice, and indigo serving as cash crops. The region’s warm climate and rich soil make it perfect for cultivating these crops. The Southern Colonies contained a huge population of enslaved Africans who cultivated cash crops on plantations.

The Southern Colonies had a robust system of plantation agriculture and a powerful aristocracy composed of wealthy planters who wielded a significant amount of political and economic influence. The Southern Colonies had a population composed of English, African, and Native American individuals.

Many important personalities, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison, hailed from the region and played a vital role in the American Revolution.

Southern Colonies Facts

1. Virginia was Founded in 1607

In 1607, a group of English settlers led by John Smith established Jamestown, Virginia, as the first permanent English colony in the New World.

The Virginia Business, a joint-stock company comprised of investors hoping to profit from the New World’s riches and possible trade prospects, founded the colony.

The colony’s early years were marred by battles with disease, starvation, and wars with the local Powhatan people. Eventually, though, the colony prospered and grew, becoming a significant center of tobacco cultivation and trading.

The genesis of the Virginia colony, which would eventually become one of the thirteen colonies that constituted the United States of America, is regarded as the first successful British colony in the Americas.

2. Maryland was Founded in 1633

Lord Baltimore, better known as Cecil Calvert, founded Maryland in 1633. King Charles I granted him a charter to create the colony, which he named after the King’s wife, Henrietta Maria.

Maryland was founded as a safe refuge for English Catholics who faced persecution in England at the time. The colony was meant to be a “haven of religious tolerance” where people of all religions might live in harmony.

The colony was founded by English colonists, but it also housed a large number of enslaved Africans and indentured servants. The economy of the colony, like that of the other Southern colonies, was founded on tobacco farming and trading.

Maryland was one of the original thirteen colonies that constituted the United States of America and played an important part in the American Revolution.

3. North Carolina was Founded in 1712

The first permanent English settlement in what would become North Carolina was established in the late 1650s, but the colony did not become recognized until much later.

The territory was previously part of the larger province of Virginia, and the British Crown did not officially establish the colony of North Carolina until 1712. The colony was founded by modest farmers and traders, and its population included English, German, Scotch-Irish, and African people.

Also Read: Middle Colonies Facts

The economy of the colony was built on small-scale agriculture, including tobacco, indigo, and other crops. North Carolina was one of the original thirteen colonies that established the United States of America and played an important part in the American Revolution.

4. Georgia was Founded in 1733

James Oglethorpe established the British colony of Georgia on February 12, 1733. The Georgia Trustees ruled the colony under a charter provided by and named for King George II.

The Trustees adopted the Oglethorpe Blueprint, an extensive plan for colonial colonization that envisioned an agrarian community of Yeoman farmers and outlawed slavery. During the War of Jenkins’ Ear, the Spanish conquered the colony in 1742.

Also Read: Facts About the New England Colonies

Georgia became a Crown colony in 1752, after the government failed to extend subsidies that had helped finance the colony.

Because of its mild climate and swampy lands, it is ideal for cultivating crops such as tobacco, rice, sugarcane, and indigo.

5. South Carolina was Founded in 1663

South Carolina was formally established in 1663. It was founded by eight English noblemen who received a charter from King Charles II. English landowners initially inhabited the region, establishing huge plantations and importing enslaved Africans to labor the land.

The colony’s economy was focused on cash crops such as rice, indigo, and, later, cotton. South Carolina had a large plantation agriculture system and a powerful aristocratic elite comprised of wealthy planters who had significant political and economic influence.

The colony’s population was diversified, comprising English, African, and Native American people. South Carolina was one of the original thirteen colonies that established the United States of America and played an important part in the American Revolution.

6. Many Towns Grew Up Around Forts

Small farmers thrived in the inland regions of the Southern Colonies because many settlers in the region, especially in South Carolina and Georgia, could not afford to fund a plantation.

Due to the lack of human inhabitants and the increased likelihood of encounters with wild animals and Native Americans (whose territory was being appropriated by the settlers), this was a more perilous option. Many pioneers constructed forts as a means of defense against these threats.

Most often manned by soldiers or local militia, these forts were constructed out of wood. They also served as a place for the settlers to congregate in times of danger or crisis.

Forts like these often became the focal points of new communities as they gave settlers a sense of safety and belonging.

7. The Church of England was the Predominant Religion

Many Anglican churches were constructed throughout the Southern Colonies, and the Church of England was recognized as the official state religion.

In the Southern Colonies, the Church of England (sometimes known as the Anglican Church) was the official church, and its clergy were often selected by the government.

Many of the early leaders of the colonies were themselves Anglican Christians, and the faith had a profound impact on colonists’ daily lives.

Despite the prevalence of Anglicans in the Southern Colonies, other Christian sects like as the Quakers, Methodists, and Baptists, as well as Jewish and Catholic communities, all thrived there as well.

Most colonies had laws requiring citizens to attend Church of England services, and those who did not were routinely punished, fined, or even put to jail for their beliefs.

8. The Warm Climate Aided Economic Prosperity

The Southern Colonies had a much longer growing season because of their mild winters and hot summers.

Tobacco, rice, and indigo were all successfully cultivated there because of the region’s favorable climate and abundant soil. Because of this, most people in the Southern Colonies lived in rural areas and worked on plantations as their primary means of subsistence.

Thanks to the mild weather, all sorts of crops could flourish, including citrus, peaches, and even cotton.

The Southern Colonies saw significant population expansion and economic prosperity because to an abundance of crops and favorable weather conditions, which attracted residents and immigrants.

9. The First Africans Arrived as Indentured Servants

In the year 1619, the province of Virginia was the location where the first people of African descent arrived in the British colonies. They were not transported to Jamestown as slaves but rather as indentured servants to work for the colony.

They were regarded as servants, but their position was neither permanent nor inherited in any way. At that period, there was no clear demarcation between indentured servitude and slavery; hence, the status of the individuals in question is up for debate.

Despite this, it is undeniable that the introduction of Africans to Jamestown in 1619 heralds the beginning of the trade of slaves across the Atlantic.

The transatlantic slave trade transported millions of enslaved Africans to the Americas over the course of several centuries. This was a significant contributing factor in the growth and development of the Southern Colonies and the United States as a whole.

10. The Southern Colonies Played an Important Part in the American Revolution

The Southern Colonies played an important part in the American Revolution, producing many prominent personalities. Virginians George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison all played important roles in the revolution and the founding of the United States.

During the Revolutionary War, Washington was the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army and eventually the first President of the United States. Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence and went on to become the third President of the United States.

Madison was renowned as the “Father of the Constitution” for his part in the crafting of the United States Constitution and later served as the country’s fourth President.

Other famous personalities from the Southern colonies include Virginia’s Patrick Henry and George Mason, both influential advocates in the revolutionary cause, and Francis Marion, dubbed the “Swamp Fox” for his guerrilla tactics during the Revolutionary War.