7th Grade 13 Colonies Summary Notes



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7th Grade 13 Colonies Summary Notes


English Colonies in North America

England established 13 colonies in North America.

New England Colonies: Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island

Middle Colonies: New York, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania

Southern Colonies: Virginia, Maryland, North and South Carolina, Georgia



English colonists sought economic opportunity:

  • England wanted to establish colonies to provide new markets for their goods and get raw materials

  • Because of the thin, rocky, soil and long, jagged coastlines, many New England colonists turned from farming to fishing.

  • Because of its abundant wheat, Pennsylvania was called America’s breadbasket.

  • The plantation system of the Southern Colonies helped spread slavery.

English colonists showed their power:

  • In 1664, King Charles II granted all Dutch land in North America to his brother James, the Duke of York. The colony of New Netherland became New York.

  • Even after Bacon’s Rebellion collapsed, English colonists moved onto Native American land.

  • As well as offering debtors protection from imprisonment, Georgia was founded to keep the Spanish from moving northward from Florida.

English colonists exercised freedom of Religion:

  • 1620: English Separatists, known today as the Pilgrims, landed at Plymouth.

  • Puritans who wanted to reform the Church of England established settlements in what are now Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

  • Disagreements about religion led to the founding of other colonies, including Roger Williams’ settlement in Rhode Island, Thomas Hooker’s settlement in Connecticut, and John Wheelwright’s settlement in New Hampshire.

  • Quakers, who refused to pay taxes to the Church of England, settled in Pennsylvania and Delaware.

  • George Calvert founded Maryland so Catholics could live safely.

English colonists claimed the right to freedom of government:

  • 1619: Virginia’s House of Burgesses marked the start of representative government in North America.

  • 1620: Mayflower Compact was the first document in which American colonists claimed the right to govern themselves.

  • The Puritans believed towns and churches should manage their own affairs.



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