Jamestown was the first successful British colony in North America. This colony was established by the London Virginia Company. Over time, the Jamestown Colony expanded and became the large and wealthy colony of Virginia.
Soon after its establishment, the colonists started planting tobacco and other cash crops on sizable plantations. They needed manpower for labor. And to meet this manpower, they started bringing African slaves to Jamestown. This marked the beginning of slavery in the British colonies.
In 1620, a group of Puritans arrived in North America on board the Mayflower ship. They came to Americas to escape religious persecution. They later came to be known as the Pilgrim Fathers as they laid the foundations of the Plymouth Colony.
After the Pilgrim Fathers, more waves of Puritans arrived on the new continent. Some of these established the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
The Province of Maryland, or the Maryland Colony, was established in 1632. It grew significantly over time. By the time of the birth of USA, it was one of the Thirteen Colonies that banded together to form the union.
As British colonies became established, more people from Britain arrived with royal charters and resources to establish new colonies. In 1636, the Connecticut Colony was established.
The same year, Roger Williams was expelled from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He established the Providence Plantations which would eventually become the sizable Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.
The colonies of Delaware and New Haven were established in 1638. Of these, New Haven was later absorbed by the colony of Connecticut. Delaware continued to expand in its own might and eventually became one of the thirteen constituent colonies of United States.
The Puritan colonies of Britain shared religion, language and many other cultural traits. So they closely identified with each other. In 1643, a number of these colonies joined hands against Dutch colonists and Native Americans.
The colony that unified under the New England Confederation included Plymouth, Connecticut, New Haven and Massachusetts Bay.
New Amsterdam was the heart and capital of the Dutch colony of New Netherland in North America. In 1664, the English King declared war on Netherlands and ordered the conquest of New Netherland. The colony was quickly and easily conquered by the English forces.
In 1675, King Philip’s War began. This war was fought between the Puritan British colonies of New England and an alliance of Native American tribes.
During the war, both sides burned villages, towns and people which made it a very deadly war. In the end, the Indians were defeated and the colonists were victorious.
By 1676, the colony of Virginia had grown quite large. Its main towns were safe places but at the frontier, the colonists had to live a very hard life. They wanted the colonial administration to make policies which would help them at the frontier.
When they were refused, they rebelled under Nathaniel Bacon. The rebellion was initially successful and the rebels burned down Jamestown. But it was ultimately suppressed.
William Penn received a royal charter and established the Province of Pennsylvania in 1681.
This colony embodied many progressive policies. For instance, the relations of Pennsylvania with its neighboring Native American tribes were far better than other colonies. The colony also formally purchased lands from the Native Americans or signed peaceful treaties to acquire much of the land.
The British Crown wanted to assert more authority and control over its American colonies. To this purpose, the Dominion of New England was created by the King. This was an administrative step which centralized the British authority over the colonies.
Georgia became the last of the British colonies to be established in North America. It was established in 1733 by James Oglethorpe.
The British Parliament passed the Iron Act in 1750. This act reduced the taxes imposed on the iron imported from the American colonies to Britain.
At the same time, it imposed limitations on the amount of iron that could be manufactured in America. These steps adversely affected the economy of the colonies.
In 1754, the French and Indian War began. The war was fought by British colonies and forces at one side, and French forces and their Native American allies at the other side.
The war was fought as a part of the Seven Years War which was taking place in Europe at the same time. In 1763, the war came to an end with a decisive British victory.
Britain acquired most of the French colonies in North America and became the most powerful colonial entity in the region.
By the time the French and Indian War ended, a large number of British soldiers were present in North America. It costs a lot of money to feed and house them.
The British government wanted the colonies to pay for this, so it imposed many taxes and duties on the colonists. The colonists, on the other hand, resented these taxes and severely opposed many of them. This ultimately created a serious conflict between the British Empire and its American colonies.
In 1775, the American Revolutionary War began. This war was fought by the Thirteen Colonies against British Empire. The war continued all the way until 1763.
Britain initially won some battles but then the tide turned and American colonial forces under George Washington defeated the British forces.
The Congress signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776. It stated that the Thirteen Colonies now considered themselves free of British rule and independent. The Declaration is usually considered the event that marked the birth of USA.
The Idea of America: Reflections on the Birth of the United States Paperback – June 26, 2012