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The colonial era spanned 1492–1763. During this time, colonists came from many different countries to create new lives. The people spoke different languages, followed different religions, and had different customs and traditions. This lively mixture led to a vibrant and ever-changing social structure. There were differences in how people lived in the different colonies because of their religious and governmental institutions, but there were also significant differences based on geographic location. Northern colonies were very different from southern colonies. There were even differences in how people in one colony lived depending on whether they were living at the shore of the Atlantic Ocean or were living west along one of the rivers or streams.
Here you can explore what daily life was like in Colonial America. Click on the links to the left to read about the foods that were eaten and how they were prepared. Or, learn about schools and what kinds of jobs people held. Explore how the colonists dealt with illness, and why smallpox ravaged the Native American population. Finally, look into the Salem Witch Trials. This period of time has fascinated people for centuries. These sections provide only a glimpse of the varied culture of the colonial era, but also show that some of the customs and traditions that started in the colonies are still reflected in the schools, the cuisine, and the religious and governmental structures that exist in the United States today.