What Was Daily Life in the Southern Colonies Like?

Life in the southern colonies was dictated by a person’s standing in society. For example, while the children of rich plantation owners benefited from a good education, those living in the backcountry may not have learned to read or write.

As the climate was warm and damp in the southern colonies, those who did own farms benefited from strong crops. Wealthy planters were able to offer their children a good education, with boys learning how to run the plantation and girls learning skills like singing and managing a household. People from poorer backgrounds would tend to their farms, and their children would only learn to read and write if their parents were able to educate them. Life on farms that were inland was often dangerous due to bears and other wild animals.

Rich families relied on the services of servants from England, as well as slaves, to make their plantations operate smoothly. Slaves were often treated with cruelty. In addition to being separated from their families, their enslavements were often permanent, they worked long hours in all forms of weather and were subject to violent punishments.

Because of the damp and hot weather, vector borne diseases were common. People living in the southern colonies often experienced yellow fever and malaria, which shortened their life expectancy.