What Are Some Facts About the Southern Colonies?

The five colonies of the American South were Maryland, Virginia, North and South Carolina and Georgia, the economies of which were based on cash crops, tobacco in particular. Such farming required intensive labor, so slavery and indentured servitude were more common in the South than the North.

The Northern colonies were a refuge for religious dissenters, many of whom immigrated in families. Fewer families migrated to the Southern colonies because the South attracted people who were seeking economic prosperity.

Many people came to the Southern colonies from England because of limited opportunities in the old country. The English countryside was nearly fully occupied by farmers, but the American South had vast expanses of uninhabited, uncultivated land. Immigrants also came from Germany, Scotland and Ireland, and some of these people moved inland, away from the English, especially if they could not obtain fertile land near the coast. These inland Southern colonists faced hardship living in Indian country and wilderness.

Colonists in the Southern colonies experienced epidemics of yellow fever and malaria, which shortened life expectancies. These disease outbreaks did not plague the North as much. Life expectancy was even shorter for slaves abducted from Africa or other places. On some of the harsher plantations, slave life expectancy was only seven to nine years.