This section of the timeline of United States history concerns events from before the lead up to the American Revolution (c. 1760).
The Thirteen Colonies were a group of British colonies on the Atlantic coast of North America during the 17th and 18th centuries. Grievances against the imperial government led the 13 colonies to begin to unite in 1774, expel British officials by 1775, and launch the American Revolutionary War. They declared independence as the United States of America in 1776. Defeating invading British armies with French help, they gained a favorable peace in 1783 with the Treaty of Paris.
During the Age of Discovery, a large scale colonization of the Americas, involving a number of European countries, took place primarily between the late 15th century and the early 19th century. The Norse had explored and colonized areas of Europe and the North Atlantic, colonizing Greenland and creating a short term settlement near the northern tip of Newfoundland circa 1000 AD. However, the later colonization by the European powers involving the continents of North America and South America is arguably more well-known.
The Netherlands began its colonization of the Americas with the establishment of trading posts and plantations, which preceded the much wider known colonization activities of the Dutch in Asia. While the first Dutch fort in Asia was built in 1600, the first forts and settlements along the Essequibo River in Guyana date from the 1590s. Actual colonization, with the Dutch settling in the new lands, was not as common as by other European nations.
The British colonization of the Americas is the history of establishment of control, settlement, and colonization of the continents of the Americas by England, Scotland and, after 1707, Great Britain. Colonization efforts began in the late 16th century with failed attempts by England to establish permanent colonies in the North. The first of the permanent English colonies in the Americas was established in Jamestown, Virginia in 1607. Approximately 30,000 Algonquian peoples lived in the region at the time. Colonies were established in North America, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. Though most British colonies in the Americas eventually gained independence, some colonies have remained under Britain's jurisdiction as British Overseas Territories.
The Jamestown settlement in the Colony of Virginia was the first permanent English settlement in the Americas. It was located on the northeast bank of the James River, about 2.5 mi (4 km) southwest of the center of modern Williamsburg. It was established by the Virginia Company of London as "James Fort" on May 4, 1607 O.S., and was considered permanent after a brief abandonment in 1610. It followed several failed attempts, including the Lost Colony of Roanoke, established in 1585 on Roanoke Island, later part of North Carolina. Jamestown served as the colonial capital from 1616 until 1699. Despite the dispatch of more settlers and supplies, more than 80 percent of the colonists died in 1609–10, mostly from starvation and disease. In mid-1610, the survivors abandoned Jamestown, though they returned after meeting a resupply convoy in the James River.
The Colony of Virginia was an English, later British, colonial settlement in North America that existed between 1606 and 1776.
The Massachusetts Bay Colony (1628–1691), more formally the Colony of Massachusetts Bay, was an English settlement on the east coast of North America around the Massachusetts Bay, one of the several colonies later reorganized as the Province of Massachusetts Bay. The lands of the settlement were in southern New England, with initial settlements on two natural harbors and surrounding land about 15.4 miles (24.8 km) apart—the areas around Salem and Boston, north of the previously established Plymouth Colony. The territory nominally administered by the Massachusetts Bay Colony covered much of central New England, including portions of Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, and Connecticut.
Slavery in the colonial history of the United States refers to the institution of slavery as it existed in the European colonies which eventually became part of the United States. In these colonies, slavery developed due to a combination of factors, primarily the labour demands for establishing and maintaining European colonies, which had resulted in the Atlantic slave trade. Slavery existed in every European colony in the Americas during the early modern period, and both Africans and indigenous peoples were victims of enslavement by European colonizers during the era.
The colonial history of the United States covers the period of European colonization of North America from the early 17th century until the incorporation of the Thirteen Colonies into the United States after the Revolutionary War. In the late 16th century, England, France, Spain, and the Dutch Republic launched major colonization expeditions in North America. The death rate was very high among early immigrants, and some early attempts disappeared altogether, such as the English Lost Colony of Roanoke. Nevertheless, successful colonies were established within several decades.
The Southern Colonies within British America consisted of the Province of Maryland, the Colony of Virginia, the Province of Carolina, and the Province of Georgia. In 1763, the newly created colonies of East Florida and West Florida would be added to the Southern Colonies by Great Britain until the Spanish Empire took back Florida. These colonies were the historical core of what would become the Southern United States, or "Dixie". They were located south of the Middle Colonies, albeit Virginia and Maryland were also called the Chesapeake Colonies.
The Southern Colonies were overwhelmingly rural, which made slavery and indentured servitude highly used. During a series of civil unrest, Bacon's Rebellion shaped the way that servitude and slavery worked in the South. After a series of attacks on the Susquehannock, attacks that were ensued after the group of natives burnt one of Bacon's farms, Bacon's arrest, along with other arrest warrants, were issued by Governor Berkely, for attacking the natives without his permission. Bacon avoided detainment, though, and then burnt Jamestown, in opposition of the governor previously denying him land in fear of native attacks, however Bacon hadn't believe his policies were entirely conventional, saying that they didn't ensure protection to the English settlers, as well as the exclusion of Bacon from Berkeley's social clubs and friend groups. The rebellion dissolved sometime in 1676, following Charles II's initial sending of troops to restore order in the colony. This rebellion influenced the view of the Africans, helping create a completely African servitude and workforce in the Chesapeake Colonies, alleviating primarily White servitude, a working-class that could be repugnant at times through disobedience and mischief. This also helped racial superiority in White regions, helping the poor White and wealthy White people, respectively, feel almost equal. It diminished alliances between White and Black people, happened in Bacon's Rebellion.
The colonies developed prosperous economies based on the cultivation of cash crops, such as tobacco, indigo, and rice. An effect of the cultivation of these crops was the presence of slavery in significantly higher proportions than in other parts of British America.
The colonial period of South Carolina saw the exploration and colonization of the region by European colonists during the early modern period, eventually resulting in the establishment of the Province of Carolina by English settlers in 1663, which was then divided to create the Province of South Carolina in 1712. European settlement in the region of modern-day South Carolina began on a large scale after 1651, when frontiersmen from the English colony of Virginia began to settle in the northern half of the region, while the southern half saw the immigration of plantation owners from Barbados, who established slave plantations which cultivated cash crops such as tobacco, cotton, rice and indigo.
British America comprised the colonial territories of the English Empire, and the successor British Empire, in the Americas from 1607 to 1783. These colonies were formally known as British America and the British West Indies immediately prior to thirteen of the colonies seceding in the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783) and forming the United States of America.
The early province of Carolana was the land forming the southern English colonies, spanning from 31° to 36° north latitude. In 1629, King Charles I of England granted the territory to his attorney general Sir Robert Heath. The original charter claimed the land from Albemarle Sound in present-day North Carolina, to the St. Johns River in the south, just miles below the current Florida-Georgia state line. The region as a whole comprised all or parts of the modern-day states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. Charles I named the colony for himself, the name Carolana being derived from Carolus, the Latin form of Charles.
The New England Colonies of British America included Connecticut Colony, the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Massachusetts Bay Colony, Plymouth Colony, and the Province of New Hampshire, as well as a few smaller short-lived colonies. The New England colonies were part of the Thirteen Colonies and eventually became five of the six states in New England, with Plymouth Colony absorbed into Massachusetts and Maine separating from it.
New Netherlanders were residents of New Netherland, the seventeenth-century colonial province of the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands on the northeastern coast of North America, centered on the Hudson River and New York Bay, and in the Delaware Valley. Their descendants in the State of New York are the New York Dutch.
The situation of the Catholic Church in the Thirteen Colonies was characterized by an extensive religious persecution originating from Protestant sects, which would barely allow religious toleration to Catholics living on American territory. Nonetheless, Catholics were a part of America's history from the beginning, especially in Maryland, a colony founded by Catholics.
The English overseas possessions, also known as the English colonial empire, comprised a variety of overseas territories that were colonised, conquered, or otherwise acquired by the former Kingdom of England during the centuries before the Acts of Union of 1707 between the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland created the Kingdom of Great Britain. The many English possessions then became the foundation of the British Empire and its fast-growing naval and mercantile power, which until then had yet to overtake those of the Dutch Republic, the Kingdom of Portugal, and the Crown of Castile.
Native Americans living in the American Southeast were enslaved through warfare and purchased by European colonists in North America throughout the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, as well as held in captivity through Spanish-organized forced labor systems in Florida. Emerging British colonies in Virginia, Carolina, and Georgia imported Native Americans and incorporated them into chattel slavery systems, where they intermixed with slaves of African descent, who would eventually come to outnumber them. The settlers' demand for slaves affected communities as far west as present-day Illinois and the Mississippi River and as far south as the Gulf Coast. European settlers exported tens of thousands of enslaved Native Americans outside the region to New England and the Caribbean.