Next up are some the markers commemorating the first New Hampshire settlements. Before starting them a brief look at the European political landscape is in order.
England and Scotland had not been yet united into one country when King James IV came into power in Scotland in 1581. In March of 1603 he would ascend to the English Throne as James I, succeeding the last Tudor Monarch, Elizabeth I.
It was James I that authorized the creation of the Plymouth Company chartered to settle the New World.
A patent had been granted by King James in 1606, limiting the dominion of Virginia, from the thirty-fourth to the forty-forth degree of northern latitude; which extent of territory had been divided into two parts, called North and South Virginia. The latter was assigned to certain noblemen, knights and gentleman of London, the former to others in Bristol, Exeter and Plymouth.
After some time, the King, by his sole authority, costituted a council, consisting of forty noblemen, knights and gentlemen, by the name of "The council established at Plymouth, in the county of Devon, for the planting, ruling and governing of New-England, in America.
The Grant map. Green area is Plymouth company, Red is London Company.
James I Mother has quite a story herself. Mary, Queen of Scots. Here’s a dramatic – and brief – radio dramatization of her untimely execution:
The English and Spanish had been in an undeclared war from 1585-1604, raiding here and there and burning each others Navies and Shipping as the exploration and settling of the New World was just beginning.
The Spanish were busy in South America for the one-hundred years previous to the Plymouth Company. Balboa crossed to the Pacific, opening up the Western coasts. The Incas, Aztecs and finally the Mayans all were conquered in their turn as Spain colonized South America and the East Indies.
The French had been exploring the Eastern Seaboard as well. Verazzano mapped much of the coast in 1524. They tried to set up colonies along the coast but were either frozen out, attacked by Indians, lacked supplies, or got beat up by the Spanish. They focused most of their efforts after that exploring and settling the St. Laurence seaway, central Canada and the Great lakes.
The Dutch were busy trying to get a piece of the action, as were many others.
As if that weren’t enough, the Barbary Pirates had been harassing Shipping and taking captives for hundreds of years.
All nations were susceptible. Some people were ransomed back, or bought their way out. Others were forced to convert to Islam, or sold into slavery. They of course were also lured by the riches of the new world and tagged along terrorizing the West Indies and New World.
There was a lot of activity all up and down the east coast, inland and among the Islands in the Caribbean. Everyone wanted a piece of the pie. Boats coming and going, Cannon at the ready. Trade goods flowing back and forth, Native South Americans being enslaved – danger and discovery.
It was a good time to come to New Hampshire.