13 Colonies Historical Summary

The Original Thirteen Colonies were divided into three sections - the New England, Middle and Southern Colonies. Each developed different economic, social, and political systems (refer to Colonial Government). The original names of the Thirteen Colonies were as follows:

Original New England Colonies The original names of the New England Colonies were the Province of New Hampshire, later New Hampshire, the Province of Massachusetts Bay, later Massachusetts and Maine, the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, later Rhode Island and the Connecticut Colony, later Connecticut.

Original Middle Colonies The original names of the Middle Colonies were the Province of New York, later New York and Vermont, the Province of New Jersey, later New Jersey, the Province of Pennsylvania, later Pennsylvania and the Delaware Colony (before 1776, the Lower Counties on Delaware), later Delaware

Original Southern Colonies The original names of the Southern Colonies were the Province of Maryland (later Maryland), the Colony and Dominion of Virginia, (later Virginia, Kentucky and West Virginia), the Province of North Carolina, (later North Carolina and Tennessee), the Province of South Carolina, (later South Carolina) and the Province of Georgia, (later Georgia). The Dominion of Virginia and the Province of Maryland comprised the Chesapeake Colonies.

Original Thirteen Colonies - Survival and Conflict The main objectives of the first colonists was to survive. They needed food, clothing and shelter to enable them to live - Refer to Colonial Food. They turned to the Native American Indians for help and, at first, this was given. Refer to the period in Jamestown Colony history referred to as the Starving Time. The first people to live in the original Thirteen colonies gradually learned how to survive using the natural resources of the New World. But hostilities between the original colonists and settlers and the Native Americans increased leading to series of terrifying and bloody Indian Wars. The colonies started to expand to different areas and more people arrived in Colonial America.

Original Thirteen Colonies - The reasons people journeyed to North America During the period of time covered in the 13 Colonies Timeline the colonists and settlers arrived from Europe looking for religious freedom, land and the opportunity for prosperity and wealth. The decision to undertake the journey from Europe to the New World of America was not for the feint hearted. The voyages were long and arduous - 66 long days at sea, poor conditions, sea sickness and boredom. People were motivated by many reasons, the rich for the prospect of more wealth through the acquisition of lands and and new trading opportunities, the members of religious sects were searching for a land where they could practise their chosen religion without fear of prosecution and finally the poor who were desperate for jobs. Refer to Religion in the Colonies. At the time the 13 colonies started to be established the population in England was exploding and there were not enough jobs refer to Colonial Times.

Original Thirteen Colonies - Expansion Between 1607 and 1682 twelve of the original thirteen colonies had been established (refer to Order of Colonization in the 13 Colonies). The Great Migration saw the mass migration of thousands of English people to many of the original thirteen colonies between 1629 and 1640. The original thirteen colonies were looking to turn a tidy profit and, in order to achieve this, they needed cheap labor.

Original Thirteen Colonies - The System of Enclosure in England The system of enclosure (fencing in the land) meant there was limited land for the poor and working classes. The working classes had once been able to use common lands for mowing meadows for hay, or grazing livestock on common land. But common land became fenced off (enclosed) and its uses restricted to the owner. Rich landowners appropriated common land for their private benefit. Many ordinary folk had their centuries-old rights taken away and riots took place protesting against the enclosure of common land. Young, working class men and women turned towards America for a better life - even if they had to give seven years of their lives to pay for the journey by the system of Indentured servitude.

Original Thirteen Colonies - Indentured Servants Indentured servants signed a legal contract to work for a fixed period of time typically from five to seven years in exchange for transportation and a job in one of the Original Thirteen Colonies. The Indentured servants were provided with basic requirements such as food, clothing and lodging but they were not paid. At the end of the period of Indenture the servants were released from bondage. The first Indentured servants (black and white) were introduced by the Virginia Company in 1619.

Slavery in the Original Thirteen Colonies At first there was no slavery in the original thirteen colonies. But as the basic needs of the colonists were met in terms of food, clothing and shelter their drive for wealth and profit emerged. The system of using Indentured servants in the original Thirteen Colonies gave way to slavery. The Slave Trade and slavery was common practise in the sugar plantations of the Caribbean - refer to Triangular Trade. The colonists started to establish Slave Plantations producing tobacco, rice, indigo, sugar and cotton in the Southern States that was hugely profitable. To increase profits further slavery in Colonial America was introduced to provide cheap labor on the tobacco plantations. Twenty black African slaves were brought to Jamestown, Virginia in 1619 by 1790 Slavery in colonial America had increased. Nearly 1 in 4 of the population were black African slaves in Colonial America.

Original Thirteen Colonies - The Land of Opportunity Each of the original thirteen colonies developed in different ways, refer to the Thirteen Colonies - Founding, Trade, Government & Religion. The geography, climate and natural resources available to the colonists dictated the lifestyles that would be adopted. The Colonies in the North, with limited natural resources in their colder climate, evolved into the industrial colonies concentrating on ship building and the manufacture and export of rum. The Southern Colonies developed their agricultural resources using a system of the plantations that exported tobacco, cotton, corn, vegetables, fruit and livestock. The Middle Colonies also exported agricultural products but were also able to manufacture iron ore products such as tools, kettles, nails and large blocks of iron which they exported to England. The original thirteen colonies entered a period of fast expansion.

Original Thirteen Colonies - Foreign Interference

The newcomers were governed by the laws of the European countries who held dominion over the American colonies, which inevitably led to dissension, anger and rebellion in the original thirteen colonies. Political rivalries and military conflicts in Europe spilled across the Atlantic and into the original thirteen colonies. European laws were introduced to the original thirteen colonies and the lucrative profits made from the hard labor the natural resources of the colonists contributed to the wealth of England. Political rivalries and military conflicts in Europe spilled across the Atlantic and into the original thirteen colonies. The Royal Proclamation of 1763 followed Great Britain's acquisition of French territory in North America following the end of the French and Indian Wars and the the Seven Years' War. The Royal Proclamation of 1763 was designed to calm the fears of Native Indians by halting the westward expansion by colonists whilst expanding the lucrative fur trade.

Original Thirteen Colonies - Rebellion The establishment and settlement of the original thirteen colonies led to many of the early Indian wars and some early rebellions. The were early rebellions in Colonial America including Bacon's Rebellion which resulted in the Declaration of the People. The successful Pueblo Revolt (1675-1677) which was located in New Mexico and Arizona, Pontiac's Rebellion in which a number of tribes battled against the British. The early rebellions sewed the seeds of dissent in the original thirteen colonies ultimately leading to the American Revolutionary War and the Declaration of Independence.

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