Exam 1: US History
#4: “Geography shaped the settlement patterns of New England.”
As American colonists began to spread throughout the east coast in 1600’s New England, geography had a profound impact on settlement patterns. The early (mostly Puritan) settlers of New England were faced with a lack of fertile soil, a short growing season, heavily forested and rocky terrain that made farming difficult. Instead of making their living by farming, New Englanders were loggers, fishers, whalers, and shipbuilders. Geography led New England to develop into an industrial and commercial region.
The fast-moving rivers of New England were utilized to run mills and machinery that manufactured goods. A working class developed along the shores of these rivers and communities flourished in the small villages that began to pop-up. Homes and businesses were built in rings around a common building, such as a town hall, and often shared woodlands and pastures for livestock. Due to the harsh terrain of the land, homes were often placed close together and farms were fairly small.
The Connecticut River is the longest river in New England. From 1760-1791 the Connecticut River valley saw an explosion in settlement. Once a huge glacial lake, the river valley was left with rich soils suitable for farming after the glacier receded. In addition, the river made for excellent transportation and in 1791 had 53 towns along its border.
Lumber was a major natural resource of New England and Boston harbor became one of the foremost locations for shipbuilding during colonial life. Lumber was also a major export of the time and businessmen flocked to the city of Boston to provide their goods to