Learn About the 13 American Colonies Video
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Video:Learn About the 13 American Colonies

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In this video, learn how the U.S. countries were initially divided: New England, the Middle Colonies, and Southern Colonies.See Transcript

Transcript:Learn About the 13 American Colonies

The roots of the United States of America are typically traced back to the 13 original British colonies.

The colonies were divided into 3 sections based on their landscape and production potential; New England, the Middle Colonies, and the Southern Colonies.

New England

New England was comprised of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire.  Rich in forests and fur trading but poor for farming, it became a hub for fishing, shipbuilding, lumber, and fur.

Massachusetts was first permanently settled by the Pilgrims from the Mayflower in 1620, with the Plymouth Colony, and followed by the Puritans in 1629 who founded the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Connecticut was started in 1635 by a group of individuals leaving the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In 1639 three settlements were united and Connecticut was founded.  It would be home to the first constitution in the America's.

Rhode Island was founded after two individuals were banished from Massachusetts, and created their own settlements. Uniting with two other establishments Rhode Island received a royal charter in 1636.

New Hampshire grew from northern New England land given to John Mason in 1622.  It was controlled by Massachusetts until receiving a royal charter in 1679.

The Middle Colonies

The Middle Colonies were New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.  Strong in farming, these colonies grew grain and raised livestock.

New York was originally the New Netherlands, founded by the Dutch in 1614, but was over taken by the Duke of York and made a British colony in 1664.

New Jersey was born out of two land grants from the Duke of York in 1664.  The two settlements were kept separate until becoming a royal colony in 1702.

Pennsylvania began in 1682 as a 'holy experiment' by William Penn to find freedom for Quakers.  It became one of the largest colonies.

Delaware was first the Dutch colony New Sweden, but after surrendering to the Duke of York in 1664, it became a part of Pennsylvania until it formed is own legislature in 1703.

The Southern Colonies

The Southern Colonies were Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. Ample farmland made these colonies perfect for the cash crops of tobacco, rice, and indigo.

Virginia was home to the first British settlement, Jamestown in 1607, and was made a royal colony in 1624.

Maryland was formed with land given by King Charles I to Lord Baltimore with the goal of creating a haven for Catholics in 1634.

North and South Carolina grew out of the same 1663 charter designed to settle land South of Virginia. The colonies split in 1729.

Georgia was last, founded by James Oglethorpe at the crown's command to establish a colony between South Carolina and Florida, becoming a royal colony in 1752

It's important to remember that while all the colonies were under British rule, they still operated independently from each other until the American Revolution.

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