The Great Migration

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Settlement in Massachusetts Bay Colony 1630-1640

The Great Migration began in 1633 and was pretty much over by 1640. During this time 11 ships of the Winthrop Fleet brought over 1000 passengers to the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
Governor Winthrop and these passengers were Puritans who chose to leave England because they did not believe in the religion, politics, and policies of the King of England, King Charles I. There were many problems in England. The King had stopped Parliament from meeting and people were not allowed to speak out against the King or to follow their own beliefs.
Because of this the Puritans left their homes in England to settle in existing towns like Salem, Massachusetts. Some established the town of Boston. By 1630 eleven towns had started in the bay area. Farming, fishing and lumbering were the main occupations.
The Massachusetts Bay Colony was ruled over by ministers of the church. They had very strict rules against gambling, drinking, and entertainment such as the theater. People were required to attend church. All new colonists were expected to follow the Puritan religion.

The Great Migration was over by 1640. Changes in England were making life easier there. King Charles I called the first meeting of Parliament in 1640. Then Oliver Cromwell took power in 1650 and Puritans no longer needed to leave England to practice their beliefs

Between 1640 and the end of the Revolution around 1790, growth in New England was mainly from the growth of families who already lived in the colonies. The population doubled about every 28 years.
Emigration began again after the American Revolution. The largest numbers came in the 1840s-1850s from Ireland due to the potato famine.

The following numbers are estimates of the population of New England during the years listed. 

1650:      33,000
1678:      60,000
1706:    120,000
1734:    250,000
1762:    500,000
1790: 1,000,000
Information on this subject was found at the following websites: , The Great Migration; The Winthrop Fleet of 1630. Nov. 22, 2002.

Massachusetts Bay Colony, Small Planet Communications. Nov. 22, 2002. The Massachusetts Bay Colony, The Norris Taylor Genealogy page, Norris M. Taylor, Jr. Copyright 1999. Nov. 22, 2002

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