By Willard W. Cochrane
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Additional resources for The Development of American Agriculture: A Historical Analysis
After 1700, the settlements moved inland, but they still remained on the Atlantic Seaboard. Until the Revolutionary War, the English colonies were squeezed together on a rocky, generally infertile strip of land lying between the Atlantic Ocean and the Appalachian Mountains. The population of the English colonies grew steadily but not spectacularly over the long period from 1607 to the Revolutionary War. 1. In rough terms, the population of the English THE COLONIAL PERIOD: 1607-1775 27 Fig. 1. Colonial settlements: easily accessible coastal regions and river valleys provided the first sites for settlements.
The royal claims also covered all the present states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, and parts of West Virginia and Tennessee. This was an empire of some 380 million acres. The heirs of William Penn claimed the unoccupied lands of Pennsylvania; Lord Fairfax claimed a princely state in northern Virginia; Lord Granville had title to much of the northern part of North Carolina, and his claims extended west to include more than two-thirds of present-day Tennessee (some 22 million acres); and the sixth Baron Baltimore claimed all the ungranted lands of Maryland.
There were, of course, exceptions. Pigs brought over from England and turned loose in the forests survived, multiplied in great numbers, and grew fat on the produce of nature — principally acorns — in the Virginia-Maryland colonies. But for the most part agricultural production in the North American colonies was a completely new experience. What produced well in the Old World failed in the New World, and methods of crop production and animal husbandry had to be adapted to the new and changed physical and environmental conditions.