Diseases brought by the colonists started to ravage the Native American population.
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By , about 90 percent of the Native Americans living in New England died due to disease. The Native Americans that survived the war either fled to the west or surrendered and were sold into slavery. While the Native American population declined, the number of colonists flourished. By , Boston had 4, residents. Colonists also declared war on local wildlife that they deemed a threat, such as the local wolf population, according to the book Disguised as the Devil: A History of Lyme Disease and Witch Accusations:. They became the pariah of the wilderness — dark, insidious predators biting at the heels of civilization.
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They had a price on their heads from almost the moment of contact with the English colonists. Well nourished on deer meat, this thriving wolf population was unfortunately not discerning enough to know a domesticated animal from their wild prey. When they began to add pork, beef, and mutton to their diet, it was not tolerated. In Salem Village was rimmed by a set of wolf traps. The last wolf bounty in Massachusetts was paid in the nineteenth century at the end of a successful eradication program that took over years to complete.
The population of Boston continued to grow in the 17th and early 18th century, despite small-pox outbreaks in , and By , Boston had over 13, residents. From the moment they landed in the New World, the Massachusetts Bay colonists worked tirelessly to establish a government that was not only efficient but one that also reflected their personal and religious ideals, according to the book Massachusetts: Mapping the Bay State Through History:.
They moved quickly to establish their political and religious — and eventually, geographical — authority, with confidence based on their religious faith and the later economic success that they took as a sign of divine consent. Religion and government were deeply intertwined in the Massachusetts Bay Colony and only the most devout Puritans could participate in governmental affairs, according to the book Politics and Religion in the United States:. The civil government had authority over everyone in the community, but was controlled by the minority of the population that had achieved full church membership.
The Puritans were highly intolerant of other religions and came to the New World specifically to escape religious persecution and create their own community where they could live only among like-minded people. However, as Quakers kept coming, harsher punishments were introduced for them, such as cutting off their ears or boring a hole in their tongues with a hot iron — and then banishing them. Between and , four Quakers were put to death by the Puritans. It appeared that the persecution would become even more deadly; however, in , King Charles II intervened and prohibited any corporal punishment of Quakers.
After the establishment of the English Commonwealth in , the colonists also declared Massachusetts a commonwealth, although they had no authority to do so.
The Cromwell government in control of England at the time did little to respond to this move. The list of violations included establishing religious laws, discriminating against Anglicans and Quakers and running an illegal mint. Andros immediately set to work proposing new taxes, pushing aside the General Council and forbidding town meetings. In April of , when word reached Boston that King James II had been overthrown by William of Orange in the Glorious Revolution of , a mob formed in Boston and they quickly seized and ousted the royal officials and put the former Puritan leadership back in power.
In , a compromise was made over the unpopular Dominion of New England and a new charter was issued. This new charter united the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Plymouth Colony and Maine Colony into one single colony, known as the Province of Massachusetts Bay, and called for a Royal Governor and elected assembly to be established. This caused much anxiety among the colonists. The Puritans started to worry that their religion, and they themselves, were once again under attack. This fear and anxiety is considered to be one of the many underlying causes that sparked the Salem Witch Trials in A series of unpopular taxes and acts that were intended to make money off of the colony, such as the Stamp Act of , the Declaratory Act and the Townshend Act, sparked massive protests and backlash from the colonists and eventually set the American Revolution into motion.
By the midth century, Massachusetts Bay Colony had grown into a successful colony with a large trade industry that exported fish, lumber and farm products to Europe.
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Yet, in the early years, the colony not only struggled to supply enough of these products to meet the demand in Europe but was actually hesitant to engage in trade with Europe at all, fearing it would hurt the health, autonomy and independence of the colony, according to the book Building the Bay Colony:. Things quickly changed though in when the colony suffered its first economic depression and the settlers decided to pursue the exportation of its goods, especially beef, to Europe and the West Indies, according to the book Disguised as the Devil:.
Starting in , Boston merchants began to engage in the Triangle Trade, a three-stop trade route in which merchants imported slaves from Africa, sold them in the West Indies and then bought cane sugar to bring back to Massachusetts to make molasses and rum. Some Massachusetts merchants, such as Captain John Turner, who built the House of Seven Gables in Salem, chose to skip importing slaves from Africa and instead sold fish to plantation owners in the West Indies as food for the slaves and then bought cane sugar from these same plantation owners to import to Massachusetts.
Many wealthy Massachusetts colonists also bought and sold slaves themselves for household labor in Massachusetts. In fact, in , Massachusetts became the first state in the North American colonies to make slavery legal when John Winthrop helped write a law allowing slavery in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Sources: Hutchinson, Thomas. The History of Massachusetts.
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