13 Colonies

Let’s begin with a list of the 13 Colonies in the order they were established. Each link will send you to a short history further down the page.

  1. Virginia/Jamestown: 1607
  2. Massachusetts: 1620
  3. New Hampshire: 1623
  4. Maryland: 1632-1634
  5. Connecticut: 1636
  6. Rhode Island: 1636
  7. Delaware: 1638
  8. North Carolina: 1663
  9. South Carolina: 1663
  10. New York: 1664
  11. New Jersey: 1665
  12. Pennsylvania: 1681
  13. Georgia: 1732

See also:

Brief History of the 13 Colonies

The 13 colonies were chiefly governed by the British until the time of the Revolutionary war. However, others did try to seize control of the colonies several times, such as during the French and Indian War.

Although the British controlled the 13 colonies on the east coast, the French took control of Canada, which is why it is not part of America today. The British tried to fight for that land, but were defeated and the French held control.

The Spanish claimed Mexico and some of the western parts of North America including Southern California and part of the Caribbean, but the British were the chief rulers of the continent.


Jamestown was the first of the 13 colonies after the failure to establish a colony on Roanoke Island. It was founded by The London Company in 1607. Jamestown was mainly founded for the purpose of making money. It was a port and trading center. Jamestown was a place for people to come and make their fortune. Another reason, much less pressing than the financial aspect, was to minister to and convert the natives to Christianity.

In 1624, a larger area was named Virginia. This area encompassed Jamestown. By this time, other colonies had already been named and established.

Read more on the founding of Jamestown Colony.


Massachusetts was the second of the 13 colonies, it was formed in 1620.

This was the colony first formed by the pilgrims. This group was also know as the Separatists or Puritans. They came over to escape British rule. This group decided that everything should be decided by the people. They wanted their government to be a democracy. They believed the people had the right to say what happened to them and who ruled over them.

Read more about the founding of the Plymouth Colony.

New Hampshire

New Hampshire was the third of the 13 colonies, founded in 1623. From the beginning, New Hampshire was planned to be a colony.

The land was given to John Mason, and he decided to make a colony with it. He live in Hampshire county in England, which is why the colony was named New Hampshire. He invested a lot of money in this land, making cities and towns. Sadly he never saw it, due to his death in 1635. 


Maryland was the fourth of the 13 colonies. It was founded in 1632-1634.

Maryland was founded to create a place for Roman Catholics who were still struggling against religious tyranny in England. It was founded because Lord Baltimore saw an opportunity for profit.


Connecticut was the fifth of the 13 colonies. It was not actually considered a colony until 1636, but colonists began forming towns and cities in 1635.

Connecticut was mostly made up of people looking for freedom from government, people looking to earn their fortune, and people just coming to the “New World.” There were also a lot of religious people, as there were in all the colonies at that time. This was another place where people were looking to start over.

Rhode Island

Rhode Island was the sixth of the 13 colonies. It formed in 1636.

When Roger Williams wanted to make changes in religion in Massachusetts, the government did not take it very well. They banished him to England, but instead he went to live with the Native Americans. They formed a group and called it Providence. 

Later, three other people were banished due to religious reasons, these three also left and formed small groups. These four groups requested British permission to become a colony. The king consented, thus creating Rhode Island.


Delaware was seventh of the 13 colonies. It was founded in 1638.

Delaware was originally a part of New Sweden, which also included Philadelphia and other parts of Pennsylvania. Later the king of England gained control over the portion east of the Delaware river and named it Delaware.

North Carolina

North Carolina was the eighth of the 13 colonies, sharing that place with South Carolina. It was founded in 1653.

In 1653 some Virginians grew tired of religious laws, and moved just south of the border to start their own group. Soon after, the king granted the land as a gift to some noblemen. They sent people over to colonize the area and some of them joined with the group that was already there. This was then called Carolina. Later, in 1663, because of strife within the colony, the noblmen sold the land back to the corwn. It eventually separated into two separate colonies and became called North and South Carolina.

Read more about the founding of the North and South Carolina Colonies.

South Carolina

South Carolina was formed at the same time as North Carolina. See description above.

New York

New York was the tenth of the 13 colonies. It was founded in 1664. 

When the Duke of York recieved New Netherland as a gift, it was renamed New York in his honor. He broke off two pieces of the land allotted to him and gave them to two of his friends. These were the foundation for New Jersey.

Read more about the founding of the New York Colony.

New Jersey

New Jersey was the eleventh of the 13 colonies. It was founded in 1664.

When two friends of the Duke of York received land from him, they decided to colonize it. They wanted as many people to come and live there as possible, so they began to make promises about all the different things you could gain from the New World, such as fortune and freedom.

Soon, there were many people living there. Not long after, Jersey was sold, in two parts, to Quakers. They were called East and West Jersey. In 1704, with the king’s blessing, they reunited and were called New Jersey. 


Pennsylvania was the the twelfth of the 13 colonies. It was founded in 1682.

In 1682, William Penn, recieved land from his grandfather, who had recently passed away. Penn, a Quaker, wanted freedom of religion and protection from persecution for himself and others who might want the same thing. He had not been able to find this, so he started his own colony. He called it Pennsylvania.


Georgia was the last of the 13 colonies. It was founded in 1732, long after the others.

James Oglethorpe asked the king for a land charter and was granted an unpopulated portion of land from the Carolina charter called Georgia after King George. Oglethorpe had two motives for making this colony. One was for people to start anew after serving time in jail, the other, to serve as a military base to defend against the Spanish.

Read more about the founding of the Georgia Colony.

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