The Chesapeake Bay becomes a home to a few thousand humans, plants and animals.
Clearing the area
1100 - 1109
Native Americans clear forests for farming. Crops such as corn, tobacco, and beans leads to permanent town villages.
First English settlement
An expedition funded by The Virginia Company of London arrives in the Chesapeake Bay, being the first English settlement in North America.
1650 - 1659
In the lower Chesapeake colonies, the tobacco industry is growing. Colonists clear the land and use hook-and-line to catch fish in the Bay.
1700 - 1709
As the English settlers and agriculture grows, signs of environmental degradation occur. On the Western and Eastern shores of the bay, a patchwork of farming and fishing develop.
1750 - 1770
Colonists strip 20 to 30 percent of the regions forest for settlements. Shipping ports begin to fill with eroded sediment. During the 1770s, colonists begin to use plows extensively. This results in massive soil erosion and prevents reforestation.
Canal is built
A 14-mile Chesapeake and Delaware Canal is built. This opens undeveloped land to agriculture.
1860 - 1869
Water supplies are built for drinking water. Sewer systems are built to send waste and runoff into the rivers that flow into the Chesapeake Bay.
1890 - 1899
Coal-burning industries are built, sending pollutants into the region's rivers.
1940 - 1949
People begin to use fertilizers on lawns and fields, polluting waterways. Dermo, a disease that kills oysters, had been discovered in the Chesapeake Bay.