EARLY COLONIAL NORTH AMERICA
Most of the colonies shown above do not occupy the same areas as successor provinces and states. Captain John Smith coined the term 'New England' in 1614. James I issued a royal charter in 1620 for the Plymouth Council for New England, the charter was retracted in 1635, but this was the first official use of the term New England. Similarly, the Dominion of New England was created by James II on 17 May 1686. Other dates relate to the commercial establishment of the colony, or perhaps a private company enactment.
The original 1686 member colonies of the Dominion of New England were: Massachusetts Bay, New Hampshire, Plymouth, and New Haven. In 1687, Connecticut, Rhode Island, were annexed to the Dominion of New England. In 1688, New York and New Jersey (at the time East and West Jersey) were added. After the English Civil War, in 1689, King James II dissolved the Dominion of New England, changed most of the colonial charters, and apponted royal governors. The tensions between the governors and the colonists continued to the American Revolution.
Thirteen English Colonies In America
There are several significant dates in the evolution of these colonies. I believe that those dates noted below are consistent in identifying the accepted year of the formal creation of each as an English, or British, colony. (This latter colonial status was often commercial, rather than national in nature.) Connecticut might have started as the Colony of Hartford in 1639, but the Connecticut colony began in 1662. Similarly, Delaware was founded as a Swedish colony in 1638, and taken over by the Dutch in 1655, but only became an English colony in 1664. (In this latter case I have ignored the one-year recovery by the Dutch - 1673-1674.)
The 13 Colonies shown below sometimes had other names and included additional, earlier, short-lived colonies, settlements, and land grants. It took time to sort out what to call these colonies and what boundaries they should have. The first English colony was Roanoke, arguably founded 1585 and restarted in 1587: that failed. The first permanent English colony was Jamestown founded in 1607 - also in Virginia. Roanoke was founded in Virginia, as the land granted to Sir Humphrey Gilbert, and taken over on his death by Sir Walter Raleigh was named as Virginia.
In 1606, when James I chartererd the commercial Virginia Company the boundaries stretched from Spanish Florida to New France. With the later creation of the Carolinas the boundaries were re-drawn and Roanoke then fell into North Carolina. Jamestown is still within Virginia's borders and so Virginia has 'pride of place'.
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