The Dwellings of Colonial America

The Dwellings of Colonial America

The Dwellings of Colonial America

The Dwellings of Colonial America

Excerpt

Elizabeth was Queen of England when the first English settlement was made in America. This was carried out in 1585 under the direction of Sir Walter Raleigh, holder of the patent for the exploration and settlement of the Atlantic seaboard, claimed by England and called Virginia. Two attempts were made to plant a colony on Roanoke Island, now in North Carolina, but through difficulties of supply and defense, the first colony returned to England the following year, and the second colony, abandoned for a time, became in 1591 "the Lost Colony." In the first quarter of the seventeenth century, Englishmen founded permanent settlements along the Chesapeake and in the Massachusetts Bay region. Jamestown, in Virginia, settled in 1607, was the first of these; Plymouth, on the coast of Massachusetts, followed in 1620. The 1630's saw English settlers in Connecticut and Rhode Island, and in this same period Maryland was granted by charter to Lord Baltimore, who made it a refuge for religious minorities, particularly for the English Catholics.

It might be assumed that the houses built by these English colonists would be entirely English in character and also that the settlers north and south would build in substantially the same manner, except in their very earliest and simplest phases. However, just as local factors in England -- stone quarries in the Cotswolds, brick-clay in East Anglia, and great forests in Shropshire, Cheshire, and Lancashire -- affected English architecture, so in America regional conditions affected colonial building. Extremes of climate brought bitter cold to the New England colonists and mild winters and very hot summers to the southern settlers, and produced in each case an architecture differing from that of the homeland, though retaining many inherited characteristics.

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