Thirteen Colonies

Thirteen Colonies
Colonies of England (1607–1707)
Colonies of Great Britain (1707–1776)
1607–1776


Flag of Great Britain (1707–1776)

The thirteen colonies (shown red) in 1775.
Capital Administered from London, England
Languages English, German, many indigenous languages
Religion Puritanism, Anglicanism, Judaism, Roman Catholicism, Native American religion
Government Constitutional monarchy
Monarch
 •  1607–1625 James I & VI (first)
 •  1760–1783 George III (last)
History
 •  Roanoke Colony 1585
 •  Virginia Colony 1607
 •  New England 1620
 •  King Charles II charter for Rhode Island and Providence Plantations 1663
 •  Rupert's Land 1670
 •  Treaty of Utrecht 1713
 •  Treaty of Paris 1783
Population
 •  1625 [1] est. 1,980 
 •  1775 [1] est. 2,400,000 
Currency Pound sterling,
colonial money,
bills of credit,
commodity money.
Preceded by
New Netherland
Today part of   United States

The Thirteen Colonies were a group of British colonies on the east coast of North America founded in the 17th and 18th centuries that declared independence in 1776 and formed the United States. The thirteen were: Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts Bay, Maryland, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, New York, North Carolina, and Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.

The Thirteen Colonies had very similar political, constitutional, and legal systems, and were dominated by Protestant English-speakers. They were part of Britain's possessions in the New World, which also included colonies in present-day Canada and the Caribbean, as well as East and West Florida. In the 18th century, the British government operated its colonies under a policy of mercantilism, in which the central government administered its possessions for the economic benefit of the mother country. However, the Thirteen Colonies had a high degree of self-government and active local elections, and increasingly resisted London's demands for more control. In the 1750s, the colonies began collaborating with each other instead of dealing directly with Britain. These inter-colonial activities cultivated a sense of shared American identity and led to calls for protection of the colonists' " Rights as Englishmen", especially the principle of " no taxation without representation". Grievances with the British government led to the American Revolution, in which the colonies established a Continental Congress and declared independence in 1776.

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".

Following a 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. [2] The American flag features thirteen horizontal stripes which represent these original thirteen colonies.

Other colonies

Besides these thirteen colonies, Britain had another dozen in the New World. Those in the British West Indies, Newfoundland, the Province of Quebec, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Bermuda, and East and 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. [3] 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. [4]