Thursday, 19 January 2012

History of the 13 Colonies in USA

The 13 colonies under British rule in North America, rebelled against the taxation imposed on them in 1775, leading to the American Revolution and independence in 1783. The formation of these 13 colonies under the British rule started with the colonization of Jamestown, later known as Virginia in 1607. The colonies were divided into three areas; New England, Middle and Southern - determined by their location, and economic, social and political development. Following is the brief history on the formation of the 13 Colonies:


Earlier known as Jamestown, was founded by the London Company under the reign of James I (1566-1625). The story of the famous Pocahontas and Captain James Smith, have its roots in Jamestown. It was founded with the motivation of expansion of the British Empire, earned from its cash crop tobacco, and partly to spread the Christian faith. It was named Virginia, in honor of Queen Elizabeth (Virgin Queen), and in 1624 was created as a royal colony (subject to the governing authority of the granting Royalty) that included all early Jamestown settlers. It was the first permanent English settlement. It also witnessed the formation of its first representative assembly, the House of Burgesses.


Formally known as Plymouth colony, Massachusetts was founded in 1620 by Puritans, who came aboard the ship Mayflower, to seek refuge in the new World. Of the 102 passengers on the Mayflower, there were 41 Christian Puritan Separatists known as the Leiden group. They were called pilgrim, by the other passengers. They were seeking a new life of religious freedom after being exiled from the Church of England. The pilgrims (Puritans) drafted an agreement Mayflower Compact, which had rules that would guide and help them to establishing a new community amicably. The Mayflower Compact was signed on 21st November, 1620 and served as the official Constitution of the Plymouth Colony. It became a royal colony in 1691.

New Hampshire 

New Hampshire was founded in 1623, by two groups of settlers, sent by Captain John Mason, to create a fishing colony near the mouth of the Piscataqua River. The colony was in Massachusetts jurisdiction, but was treated as a separate colony. It was named after John Masons home County of Hampshire, England. Mason never set his foot in the colony he helped establish, he died before his planned move to New Hampshire. In 1638, John Wheelwright, exiled from Boston founded a settlement called Exeter in New Hampshire. The settlers of New Hemisphere created a draft called Exeter Compact, modeled on the successful Mayflower Compact. It became a Royal colony in 1679.


In 1632, Charles I granted Maryland Charter to Lord Baltimore, Baron of Baltimore, to establish a new settlement in the New World. Maryland was founded in 1634. Lord Baltimore along with his sons moved to Maryland and profited from the vast stretches of tobacco grown there. It was his ardent wish to create a separate settlement for Roman Catholics, who were persecuted in Protestant England. Maryland was later known as a 'haven for Catholics'. Maryland was under the sole proprietorship of the Lord Baltimore, and ensured religious freedom for different sects of Christianity, after the Act of Toleration,1649 was passed.


Connecticut was already a permanent Dutch settlement, when Clergyman Thomas Hooker and his followers arrived in Hartford from Massachusetts in 1636, seeking more wealth and religious freedom. The English settlers waged a war with Pequot Indians between 1636 to 1637, to establish supremacy. In 1939, the "Fundamental Orders" was enacted to govern the Connecticut colony and it became a royal colony under John Winthrop Jr. in 1662.

Rhode Island

English settlers were scattered all over Rhode Island, but it was still not established as one colony. Providence was bought by Roger Williams from the Narragansett Indians in 1636. He was exiled from Salem Massachusetts for seeking separation of religious and political functioning of the state. Anne Hutchinson was also driven way from Massachusetts Bay, for supporting Williams cause. She formed Portsmouth, Rhode Island. They were brought under one colony of Rhode Island after receiving a royal "Charter of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations" in 1663. As it was founded on separation of church and state, it gave complete and absolute right to religious freedom. It was a fiercely independent colony, and it was here, the idea of revolution and freedom was born.


Delaware was founded by Peter Minuet as part of New Netherlands, who led a group of Swedish settlers to the Delaware River area, under patronage of the New Sweden Company in 1638. In 1655, the Dutch defeated the Swedish settlers and gained control of the colony. The English won Delaware after defeating the Dutch. It was Charles II, King of England, who made the colony as Delaware. It was awarded to William Penn, but he lost control and Delaware became independent in 1701, and elected its own assembly in 1704. Delaware was founded as a proprietary colony.

North and South Carolina

In 1653, King Charles II issued a royal charter to eight Virginia colonists to settle the North Carolina region to provide a buffer for the southern frontier. All previously settled Southern Colonies were included in North Carolina. However, there were many internal problems as North Carolina was a proprietary. To solve those problems, in 1729, the colony was split in two; North and South Carolina. They became royal colonies under the charter issued by King George II in 1729. 

New Jersey

It was originally known as New Netherlands. Lord Berkeley and Sir George Carteret received a proprietary grant of the land between the Hudson and the Delaware River, from the Duke of York, James in 1664. The colony was named New Jersey to honor Sir George Carteret, governor of the Isle of Jersey. They made an enormous profit from the sale of land to settlers, as they promised them representation in government and freedom of religion. The Society of Friends, Quakers bought grants for both; East and West Jersey, however, the purchase was liquidated when it was made a royal colony, in 1702.

New York

The Dutch West India Company had settled New York area as early as 1614. It was known as New Amsterdam and was a self governing state, until it was lost to King Charles II. It was given to his brother, the Duke of York and renamed New York in his honor. New York was converted into a proprietary colony, until in 1685, when it became a royal colony. It was in this colony, the Albany Congress was formed, to help unite the colonies against the British rule.


Pennsylvania was already settled by Swedish, Dutch and English settlers in the Delaware River region. William Penn, a member of the Society of Friends, Quakers was granted propertied of Pennsylvania, as compensation owed to his late father. Penn saw this as an opportunity to create a colony that allowed for freedom of religion for his fellow Quakers. In 1682, the "Frame of Government" for Pennsylvania was enacted, and it gave representation in the assembly, and freedom of worship and religion, to all citizens. This helped Pennsylvania to become the richest colony in the New World. In 1723, two young British astronomers Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon, established the Mason-Dixon Line, settling an old boundary dispute between Maryland and Pennsylvania.


King George wanted to create a new colony between South Carolina and Florida, to upset the settled Spaniards and stall the Spanish and French expansion. In 1732, he granted Georgia's proprietorship to an English General James Edward Oglethorpe, to establish a new colony. He led his first group of settlers Savannah, Georgia. Originally, Oglethorpe established Georgia as a no slavery colony, but in 1752 after it became a royal colony, it was known to have most number of slaves working in the plantations.

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