You got to explore not only the settlement of a new world, but the settlement of a new world by societies dominated by extreme founder effects.What kind of weird pathologies and wonderful innovations do you get when a group of overly romantic Scottish environmentalists is allowed to develop on its own trajectory free of all non-overly-romantic-Scottish-environmentalist influences?Much like eg Unitarians today, the Puritans were a religious group that drew disproportionately from the most educated and education-obsessed parts of the English populace.Literacy among immigrants to Massachusetts was twice as high as the English average, and in an age when the vast majority of Europeans were farmers most immigrants to Massachusetts were skilled craftsmen or scholars.I used to play Alpha Centauri, a computer game about the colonization of its namesake star system.One of the dynamics that made it so interesting was its backstory, where a Puerto Rican survivalist, an African plutocrat, and other colorful characters organized their own colonial expeditions and competed to seize territory and resources.
The average family size in Waltham, Massachusetts in the 1730s was 9.7 children. Women were under special pressure to marry, and a Puritan proverb said that “women dying maids lead apes in Hell”. Others chose random Biblical terms that might not have technically been intended as names; “the son of Bostonian Samuel Pond was named Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin Pond”. Albion’s Seed by David Fischer is a history professor’s nine-hundred-page treatise on patterns of early immigration to the Eastern United States.It’s not light reading and not the sort of thing I would normally pick up.They were a Calvinist sect that dissented against the Church of England and followed their own brand of dour, industrious, fun-hating Christianity.Most of them were from East Anglia, the part of England just northeast of London.