Tuesday, October 30, 2012

English New World Colonies post 1660AD

Today our tour of New World Colonies continues with those English colonies founded after 1660AD.  Of course, these lists should not be considered exhaustive!

Map of Eastern North America in the wake of the Seven Years' (French and Indian) War, in 1763AD.

  • Carolina (1663):  We now move to the era of the restored Stuart throne (post 1660).  In this period immediately after the restoration of Charles II to the throne, a political friend, the Earl of Shaftesbury, sought a New World proprietorship.  He, along with the Governor of Virginia, Sir William Berkeley, and Sir John Colleton of Barbados, sought this new charter from the King, which they received in 1663 for the territory south of the Virginia colony, perfect as a buffer with Spain.  It would be named for the King – Carolus in Latin – as Carolina.  The first inhabitants were folks who drifted south from Virginia – outcasts and dubious wild folks from Virginia who would tobacco farm.  In the south of this new Colony, planters from Barbados, immigrants from England set up shop – including the new city of Charles Town (Charleston) – founded inland in 1670, and moved to the present location in 1680.  This colony would take a while to catch on, although the proprietors were extremely unpopular.  The sections would split into two colonies in North and South in 1719 – even as the proprietors lost control.  This would lead to the official formation of two royal colonies in 1729.  The proprietors were also given title to the Bahamas!
  • New York (1664): By the time of the mid 1660s, New Netherlands were a mishmash of twelve nationalities in the port town of New Amsterdam.  Fort Orange (Albany) and Fort Nassau (Trenton), both inland on rivers, the Hudson & Delaware respectively, were the centers of the fur trade.  Between Fort Orange & New Amsterdam were massive manorial estates (patroonships) that characterized the rural settlement of the colony.  Wedged between the English colonies of Maryland & Virginia to the South, and those of New England to the North, the English sought the opportunity to extinguish this economic and political threat.  In 1664, in the midst of a trade war between England and the Netherlands, an English naval force approached New Amsterdam, and the governor, Stuyvesant, finding no support was forced to surrender without firing a shot.  The old Dutch colony of New Netherland was now the English proprietary colony of King Charles II’s younger brother, James, Duke of York (he would convert to Catholicism by the end of the decade, and become James II in 1685).  Thus, New York was the new English name.  The English, for their part, gave sections of Guiana in South America to the Dutch to compensate.
  • New Jersey (1664): This English colony was carved out of the newly conquered colony of New York.  The Duke of York essentially sublet – as proprietor, he granted another proprietary colony from the territory that he now controlled.  This would be a chaotic colony, as it was opposed by New York – the port of Perth Amboy across the Hudson from New York tried to take business – and the proprietors were numerous, and interested in short-sighted policies that didn’t seek to plant a well-grounded colony.  In 1674, it would be split in half as East & West Jersey.  They would be reunited as a royal colony in 1702.
  • New Hampshire (1679): This little colony, with its port of Portsmouth, had been settled before MA Bay, but didn’t get a separate charter until now.  It would fall back under MA control at times.  Maine, however, is still under MA jurisdiction.
  • Pennsylvania (1681): The last new colony before 1700, Pennsylvania was another proprietary colony granted by the restored crown, again returning a favor, or in this case, paying a debt.  The founder, William Penn, would found this as a social experiment and charity work.  The Duke of York, to pay off his debt to Penn, granted him the land west of the Delaware in his proprietary colony – to be named for Penn by the Duke.  It would be a much more clearly governed colony than the other recent proprietaries, like Jersey or Carolina.  William Penn, as a Quaker, formed his colony on their ideals – pacifist, tolerant, and believers in an “inner light.”  Thus, they founded the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia, as their capital.  By the time of the American Revolution, this would be the #2 city in the British Empire, after only London.
  • Delaware (1702):  This area of the old New Sweden colony was actually a sort of disputed area.  In the end, Pennsylvania controlled these three “lower counties,” and although sharing the same proprietor, these non-Quaker counties were granted their own legislature in 1702, first meeting in 1704.  Delaware, then, was a semi-independent part of Pennsylvania until the Revolution.
  • Nova Scotia (1713): This English colony would be added as a result of Queen Anne’s War (War of Spanish Succession), which we will discuss later.  In 1713, this section of Acadia would come under English rule as Nova Scotia (New Scotland) with the city-fortress of Halifax becoming a significant northern base of operations.  The French held on to Ile Saint Jean (Prince Edward Island) and Ile Royale (Cape Breton Island), with the Fortress Louisbourg.  In 1763, Nova Scotia would receive those islands, too.
  • Prince Rupert’s Land (1713): This was the large, but unpopulated, company owned land around the Hudson Bay in the far north of Canada.  It was granted by charter in 1670, but recognized by treaty in 1713.
  • Newfoundland (1713): Britain and France had squabbled over this fishing area, which finally went to Britain with the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. [British at St. John’s, French at Plaisance -- both had been on the island for some time before the settlement]
  • Georgia (1732): Georgia would be the first new colony chartered under the new ruling house of Hanover.  King George II granted a charter to a group of Trustees, with James Oglethorpe most notable, for a colony to bear his name south of South Carolina.  This was a social experiment of sorts, as the colony was to be for debtors and downtrodden Englishmen.  Slavery was illegal under the rule of these Trustees.  The colony, sitting as it did south of the Savannah River, was to be a buffer against the Spanish in Florida.  Development was slow to start, though the capital city of Savannah was laid out, planned, and founded by Oglethorpe in 1733, including its now famous squares.  The rule of the Trustees would expire, and Georgia became a royal colony in 1751.  This was a frontier colony that saw some combat, in addition to its difficult conditions.
  • Prince Edward Island (1769): The French Ile St. Jean, it became British and part of Nova Scotia in 1763, made its own colony in 1769, and finally took the name PEI in 1798.

Sources: American Colonial and Revolutionary History by Smelser; The Columbia Encyclopedia.

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