Settlers from the British Isles and Europe c. 1750


Map Code: Ax01771

By 1750, Africans were rapidly overtaking the English as the largest numerical component of the population of the American colonies. They were, overwhelmingly, slaves imported to work the fast expanding tobacco, rice and indigo plantations of the South. The other fast-growing immigrant group was the Germans; great numbers from the Palatinate fled the devastation of the Wars of Spanish Succession in the early 1700s. They, together with the Dutch, found a haven in religiously tolerant Quaker Pennsylvania: separatist sects were heavily represented – Moravians, Amish, Mennonites. The frontiers were the favoured destination of Scots-Irish, mainly Ulster Protestants escaping the Penal Laws and oppressive absentee landlords. The English came first; the Great Migration from the 1620s to New England was overtaken post-Restoration by migration to Delaware, Virginia and Carolina. The Dutch retained a strong presence in New York despite its 1664 seizure by Britain, and in their old New Netherland colony in the Delaware valley.

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