Thirteen Colonies

Thirteen Colonies

Flag of Thirteen Colonies
The thirteen colonies (shown in red) in 1775.
The thirteen colonies (shown in red) in 1775.
StatusPart of British America (1607–1776)
CapitalAdministered from London, England
Common languages
  • English
  • German
  • Dutch
  • Indigenous languages
  • Various other minor languages
Roman Catholicism
American Indian religions
GovernmentColonial constitutional monarchy
• 1607–1625
James I & VI (first)
• 1760–1776
George III (last)
• New Netherland ceded to England
• 1625[1]
• 1775[1]
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Pre-colonial North America
New Netherland
United States
Today part of United States

The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colonies[2] or the Thirteen American Colonies,[3] were a group of colonies of Great Britain on the Atlantic coast of North America founded in the 17th and 18th centuries which declared independence in 1776 and formed the United States of America. The Thirteen Colonies had very similar political, constitutional, and legal systems and were dominated by Protestant English-speakers. They were part of Britain's possessions in the New World, which also included colonies in Canada, Florida, and the Caribbean.

Between 1625 and 1775, the colonial population grew from roughly 2,000 to 2.4 million, displacing American Indians.[dubious ] This population included people subject to a system of slavery which was legal in all of the colonies prior to the American Revolutionary War.[4] In the 18th century, the British government operated its colonies under a policy of mercantilism, in which the central government administered its possessions for the economic benefit of the mother country.

The Thirteen Colonies had a high degree of self-governance and active local elections, and they resisted London's demands for more control. The French and Indian War (1754–63) against France and its Indian allies led to growing tensions between Britain and the Thirteen Colonies. In the 1750s, the colonies began collaborating with one another instead of dealing directly with Britain. These inter-colonial activities cultivated a sense of shared American identity and led to calls for protection of the colonists' "Rights as Englishmen", especially the principle of "no taxation without representation". Grievances with the British government led to the American Revolution, in which the colonies collaborated in forming the Continental Congress. The colonists fought the American Revolutionary War (1775–83) with the aid of France and, to a significantly smaller degree, the Dutch Republic and Spain.[5]


In 1606, King James I of England granted charters to both the Plymouth Company and the London Company for the purpose of establishing permanent settlements in America. The London Company established the Colony and Dominion of Virginia in 1607, the first permanently settled English colony on the continent. The Plymouth Company founded the Popham Colony on the Kennebec River, but it was short-lived. The Plymouth Council for New England sponsored several colonization projects, culminating with Plymouth Colony in 1620 which was settled by English Puritan separatists, known today as the Pilgrims.[6] The Dutch, Swedish, and French also established successful American colonies at roughly the same time as the English, but they eventually came under the English crown. The Thirteen Colonies were complete with the establishment of the Province of Georgia in 1732, although the term "Thirteen Colonies" became current only in the context of the American Revolution.[7]

In London beginning in 1660, all colonies were governed through a state department known as the Southern Department, and a committee of the Privy Council called the Board of Trade and Plantations. In 1768, a specific state department was created for America, but it was disbanded in 1782 when the Home Office took responsibility.[8]

New England colonies

Middle colonies

Southern colonies

Other Languages
Alemannisch: Dreizehn Kolonien
azərbaycanca: On üç koloniya
भोजपुरी: तेरह उपनिवेश
español: Trece Colonias
Esperanto: Dek tri Kolonioj
français: Treize colonies
한국어: 13개 식민지
Bahasa Indonesia: Tiga Belas Koloni
interlingua: Dece-Tres Colonias
italiano: Tredici colonie
Lingua Franca Nova: Des-tre Colonias
Bahasa Melayu: Tiga Belas Jajahan
Mirandés: Treze Quelónias
Nederlands: Dertien koloniën
日本語: 13植民地
norsk nynorsk: Dei tretten koloniane
português: Treze Colônias
Simple English: Thirteen Colonies
slovenčina: Trinásť kolónií
српски / srpski: Тринаест колонија
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Trinaest kolonija
Türkçe: On Üç Koloni