The Thirteen Colonies
Each of the thirteen colonies developed its own system of limited local self-government under an appointed royal
governor, derived from the English system of
common law and composed largely of independent farmers who owned their own land, voted for their local and provincial government, and served on local juries. Colonial decisions were subject to approval by the governor and the home government. There were also substantial populations of African slaves in some of the colonies, especially Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia.
The names of the colonies were chosen by the founders and proprietors, subject to royal approval, and given in the founding
charters. Nine of the thirteen chose to include in their names the term "Province of...", which had no political significance. Later residents tended to drop the ambiguous terminology, as in the map shown in the article
Province of New Jersey, which is labeled simply "East Jersey" and "West Jersey".
series of protests over taxes in the 1760s and 1770s, these thirteen colonies united politically and militarily in opposition to the British government and fought the
American Revolutionary War (1775–1783). In July 1776, they formed a new nation called the "United States of America"
and declared independence. The new nation achieved that goal by winning the American Revolutionary War with the aid of France, the Netherlands, and Spain.
American flag features thirteen horizontal stripes which represent these original thirteen colonies.
Besides these thirteen colonies, Britain had another dozen in the
New World. Those in the
British West Indies,
Province of Quebec,
Prince Edward Island,
West Florida remained loyal to the crown throughout the war (although Spain conquered Florida before the war was over). There was a certain degree of sympathy with the
Patriot cause in several of the other colonies, but their geographical isolation and the dominance of British naval power precluded any effective participation.
 The British crown had only recently acquired those lands, and many of the issues facing the Thirteen Colonies did not apply to them, especially in the case of Quebec and Florida.