Colonial Period Top 10 Events

The colonial period laid the foundations for the United States of America.

Following are the top 10 events that took place during the Colonial period.

1- Discovery of the New World

Christopher Columbus paved the path for Europe to colonize America. At the time, the European world was going through a crisis. The Byzantine Empire had fallen to the Ottomans. And the Europeans needed a new trade route which could provide them easier access to the Eastern World.

Columbus suggested traveling to the west to seek this route. He received permission and three ships from the Spanish monarchs and set out on his journey in 1492. It was during this voyage that he discovered the first piece of land in the New World. His discovery brought the American continent to the knowledge of the Europeans.

2- Jamestown Settlement Established

In 1606, King James I authorized the Virginia Company of London to establish a colony in the North America. An expedition of 144 men and three ships was arranged for this purpose. The company set sail on December 20, 1606. They arrived at Cape Henry, Virginia, on April 26, 1607.

The first step was to create a base of operation. The group explored the area and selected a place which looked easy to defend. They named it Jamestown, which was based on the king’s name.

3- Colony of Plymouth Founded

In 1620, a group of Pilgrims set out on a voyage to the New World. They belonged to a separatist Puritan sect and wanted to create a place where they could practice their religion freely. During their voyage, the Pilgrims faced a lot of problems and many were lost to the harsh circumstances.

Upon reaching the Americans, they searched around the New England’s coast and established their new settlement. The Plymouth area provided them with a fresh source of water, flat land for growing crops, and a harbor to store their ships. The Pilgrims established the Plymouth Colony here.

4- South Carolina Colony Founded

Carolina was originally a single and vast territory. In 1663 King Charles gave the land to the eight nobles who had supported him in taking the British throne back. They were known as the Lord Proprietors. The British first built a settlement here in 1670.

After the Yamasee wars, the lords faced a lot of pressure and had to struggle to retain their governance. However, they were forced to relinquish control eventually. In 1729, North and South Carolina emerged as crown colonies. Slaves were brought to this area and rice crops were introduced. In time, rice became an important cash crop.

5- The Pequot War

The Pequot War took place from 1636-1637. Before the arrival of other Europeans, the fur trading business was controlled by the Dutch and the Pequot tribe. If anyone tried to interfere, they faced the retaliation of the both parties. The fur trading business attracted the British who built an alliance with the Native Indian tribes.

This was the start of the conflicts between the Pequot tribe and the colonists. The British traders kidnapped the Pequot chief and demanded ransom. However, the chief ended up dying in captivity. This led to the launch of the Pequot War. In the end, the colonists won and the Pequot tribe was dissolved.

6- The Beaver Wars

The Beaver Wars took place in the 17th century. The Iroquois Confederacy wanted to seize control of the fur trading business and expand their territory. They fought against the Algonquin, Hurons and their French allies. The Iroquois received weapons from their Dutch and English trading partners.

The Beaver Wars were extremely brutal and violent. All participating parties suffered heavy losses. The Iroquois lost the support of their Dutch allies in the New Netherlands area. However, the French became interested in forging an alliance with the Iroquois against the English. The Beaver Wars ended after the French, British and the Iroquois signed the Grand Prix Treaty.

7- Bacon’s Rebellion

In 1676, a rebellion took place in Virginia which was led by Nathaniel Bacon. The governor William Berkley had lost the trust of the people and his inability to defend against the attacks of the Native tribes further aggravated the situation. In 1673 Bacon migrated to the America and soon became a member of the governor’s council. He launched two successful attacks against the Indians.It earned him a lot of fame, and he was elected into the House of Burgesses.

However, when Bacon tried to take his seat, he was arrested. After getting released, he organized a force and marched straight to the Jamestown. Upon seeing this, Berkley fled and later returned with an army. He declared Bacon and his companion rebels. After a long battle, Berkley was defeated, and Bacon died soon after. The rebellion collapsed with the death of Bacon.

8- The Dominion of New England

In 1686, King James II united the colonies of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, Plymouth, and Rhode Islands.This resulted in the formation of the Dominion of New England. The purpose of this was to ensure better administration of the colonies. In 1688, newly acquired territories New York and New Jersey were added to the Dominion.

9- French and Indian War

The French and Indian War, which is also referred to as the Seven Year War, started in 1756. During this period, the French and British were fighting for dominance in the North American region. They laid claim to the Ohio Valley area, and various conflicts ensued. The war was launched in May 1756.

Both the French and British had their own Native American allies. In the beginning, the France dominated the battlefield. However, the tide slowly turned in the favor of the British forces. France suffered a massive defeat in September 1759. In 1763, the treaty of Paris was signed which ended the war. France had to hand over all of its American possessions to Britain and the Spain.

10- The Yamasee War

The Yamasee War started in 1715 and ended in 1716. The colonists and their allies fought against the Yamasee tribe. The constant expansion of white settlers and the dispute over the fur trading business resulted in the Yamasee War. The Yamasee tribe received support from Ochese, Waxhaw, and Santee tribes.

A lot of destruction took place during the war, and almost 7% of South Carolina’s white population was wiped out. In the end, the Yamasee tribe was defeated and escaped to Florida. They joined the runaway slaves and Native American Indians. This led to the establishment of the Seminole Tribe.