Here is what they didn’t teach you about colonial America in school. (Part V)

Populating the colonies with unwilling people

We've all heard that Britain used Australia as a massive penal colony, and they did the same thing in colonial America, around 52,000 convicts were shipped across the Atlantic. That includes people convicted of a whole host of crimes. There were so many that in 1670, Virginia and Pennsylvania tried to pass a law forbidding entry to any British convict, but the king had none of it and overturned the law. Britain also saw the colonies as the perfect way to get rid of all the orphans and urchins who were clogging city streets.

Colonial germ warfare

In 1763, when Native Americans laid siege to the British settlement around Fort Pitt the British retreated into the fort, and things were looking dire. Historians from Colonial Williamsburg say it got dark real fast when two Native American representatives approached the fort to appeal for an end to the fight. The Brits refused, but Sir Jeffery Amherst did give them a parting gift – two blankets and an handkerchief infested with smallpox virus. Historians have tentatively linked an outbreak of smallpox in the Ohio Valley with Amherst's ‘gift’. And while it's impossible to tell just how many people died, Amherst’s name was immortalised in the town of Amherst, Massachusetts.

to be continued...