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The thirteen colonies were British settlements on the Atlantic coast of America in the 17th and 18th centuries. They eventually lead to the creation of the United States of America and are an important part of US history.
See the fact file below for more information on the 13 colonies or alternatively, you can download our 23-page 13 colonies worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- The age of mercantilism in Europe emerged during the 16th century. It meant that nations became more competitive in terms of economic gains. As a result, European nations sought territorial expansion and to acquire colonies outside the continent.
- A colony is an area of a country that is controlled by another country. The 13 colonies were in America but were controlled by Britain. Colonies are typically settled by people from the home country.
- In order to expand the British Empire against the Spanish rival, Queen Elizabeth of England established colonies in North America.
- Each colony was founded under different circumstances. Many were established after escaping religious persecution in Europe. Some were plainly in search of new opportunities and better living standards.
- Historians believe that the first English settlement established in North America was by Sir Walter Raleigh in Roanoke, in 1587. Along with 91 men, 17 women, and nine children as the first colonists, the Roanoke colony mysteriously vanished after three years of settlement.
- In 1606, months after the divisions made by King James I, London Company sent three ships equipped with 144 men to sail to Virginia. Godspeed, Discovery, and Susan Constant reached Chesapeake Bay and headed to the James River where they established the first settlement called Jamestown.
- At first, the colonists struggled as they focused on excavating gold and other minerals instead of feeding themselves. It was only in 1616 that the colonists began to plant tobacco.
- By 1619, the first African slaves reached the colony. Since then, enslaved Africans became the key factor in maintaining large tobacco plantations.
- Following Virginia, the colonies of New York (1626), Massachusetts (1630), Maryland (1633), Rhode Island (1636), Connecticut (1636), New Hampshire (1638), Delaware (1638), North Carolina (1653), South Carolina (1663), New Jersey (1664), Pennsylvania (1682), and Georgia (1732) were established.
- The original thirteen colonies were classified into 3 main divisions, including New England, Middle Colonies, and Southern Colonies.
- New England Colonies were composed of Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire which was initially settled by a small group of Puritans, also known as the Pilgrims, in 1620. The colonists were assisted by the natives and learned farming, hunting, and fishing.
- Middle Colonies included Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. In 1664, King Charles II gave the territory between New England and Virginia to his brother James, the Duke of York. The territory was then occupied by patroons or Dutch traders and landowners. Persuaded by religious tolerance and fertile soil, many Quakers from all over Europe migrated to the colony of Penn’s Wood, later known as Pennsylvania.
- Southern Colonies included Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. Most of the colonies in the south were highly dependent on African slave labor as many of them were involved in slave trade.
THE COLONIES AND THE REVOLUTION
- Prior to the American Revolution, the thirteen colonies were under the rule of King George III of Britain. Each colony had separate local government all under the British Parliament. Due to the great distance separating the colonies from England, King George III faced challenges in governing the colonists which caused discontent and later the American Revolutionary War.
- As a result of the costly French-Indian War, which lasted from 1754 to 1763, the British Parliament decided to tax the thirteen colonies in North America. By 1764, the British government began to impose taxes under the following laws: The Sugar Act, Currency Act, Quartering Act, and Stamp Act.
- Angered by the new taxes, the colonists argued that they should not be levied with taxes since they do not have representations in the Parliament. Their motto became “ No Taxation Without Representation”.
- By 1765, the Sons of Liberty, an anti-colonialist group was formed in Boston, Massachusetts and spread in other parts of the thirteen colonies.
- After the Boston Tea Party and issuance of the new Intolerable Acts, the colonies became more united fighting against the British government by providing supplies to Boston during the blockade.
- As a direct response to the Intolerable Act, the First Continental Congress was held and attended by representatives from twelve out of thirteen colonies.
- The Congress sent an appeal to King George to repeal the acts, but received no response. As a result, the colonists boycotted British goods.
- On April 19, 1775, the American Revolutionary War broke out during the Battle of Lexington and Concord, and ended on September 3, 1783 under the Treaty of Paris.
- A year after the war broke out, the Continental Congress declared its independence from the British government, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was formally adopted by 12 colonies, followed by the 13th (New York) in July 19. By August 2, the declaration was signed.
13 Colonies Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about 13 Colonies across 23 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use 13 Colonies worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the thirteen colonies which were British settlements on the Atlantic coast of America in the 17th and 18th centuries. They eventually lead to the creation of the United States of America and are an important part of US history.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- 13 Colonies Facts
- Mapping the Colonies
- Between Two Statements
- Eliza Lucas Pinckney
- The Diary of Mary Cooper
- Through Painting
- Way of Life in a Colony
- My Colony
- The Colony Today
- 13 Facts
- My Social Movement
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Link will appear as 13 Colonies Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, January 29, 2019
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.