A frontier is a area of land between two or more distinct civilizations that none of them control. This is what the Appalachian Mountains was like from the mid 16Th century up until some time after the American Revolutionary War. There were the English colonies to the east and the Cherokees and other native Americans on the west side of the mountains as well as french to the north and Spanish to the south. When they began to settle here they also brought their customs, tools, weapons, and beliefs with them, They shared these among each other and changed many things for the others. On top of all this there were immigrants coming from other European countries, who brought their slaves, many of which were escaping religious prosecution or other unrest in their country. This hodge podge which was the Appalachian Mountains at the time became a mix of many different beliefs and customs. Though they brought many bad things as well this covers only the positive.
Africans are usually not considered immigrants at this point in American history mostly because they were forced here against their will. However no matter why they came here they still brought with them their beliefs, customs, foods, and much more. They introduced many new crops to the Europeans and Native Americans. They brought crops such as okra, yams, peanuts, watermelon, rice, and many medicine plants. This opened up many new windows for European plantation owners to make cash crops to sell. Africans also brought with them many other plants that they had gotten from Asia and the Middle East like citrus fruit, coffee, onions, bananas, and grapes. The African slaves also brought with them their exotic extinct music and even some of the instruments. These sounds were often mixed with Native American and European music styles to make new unique styles of their own.
The Spanish, though not commonly found in the Appalachia’s or the thirteen colonies, still made an impact on the Appalachians. They settled largely in the far south in Florida and along the gulf. However they ventured north and their customs even farther making a big impact on the Appalachian mountains.They were the first to bring sugar cane to The New World. Sugar cane takes a lot of labor and time to grow and harvest, in Europe there wasn’t enough room, fertile soil, and laborers to do it. However when they brought it to the Americas they had plenty of African and sometimes Native American slaves to do the job, revolutionizing it as a cash crop. They also brought their religion, the Catholic Church. Though more common and wide spread by them in South America it also influenced the new religions growing in North America and was a big part of Florida and the southern coast. The other thing the Spanish commonly brought was horses. They traded these horses with the Native Americans for things such as corn, shells, potatoes,l tomatoes, peppers, and other things the Spanish were interested in.
The English settled the whole east coast of the present day United States and they bordered the Appalachian Mountain frontier. With them came many Welsh, German, Scotch, Irish, and people seeking religious freedom. The English were, like all Europeans, the ones to introduce gun powder and triple killing efficiency. Guns made hunting easier and a better source of food, it made it so popular and widespread that at on point deers almost became extinct in the Appalachian Mountains. They also brought their system of order which gave some law to the frontier and set an example for the other civilizations merging here. The English also brought with them many religious people however not many preachers. Presbyterianism was the main religion of England and many of the American colonists. However there wasn’t many preachers for the vast number of settlers. And since Presbyterianism required you have a degree to preach, it help fuel the rise of Methodists and Baptists in The Appalachian Mountains. In both of these movements no degree was required to preach. This was only half of the fuel however. Another bug reason people were converting to these two was that they didn’t believe in the pre-destined beliefs of Presbyterianism. In Presbyterianism it is believed you are pre-destined to either eternal salvation or eternal damnation. However in Baptists and Methodism it is believed that personal choice and salvation determines how a person will spend the afterlife.
Associated Content: Dawn A. Vogel
Alexander Street Press