North American English Colonies

By Dylan Mathwig


First of all, Jamestown was the first permanent North American English Colony. It was a granted charter financed by a Joint-Stock company named the Virginia Company which is one of the influences of the modern Stock Market. Male colonists founded it in 1607 when they landed in Chesapeake Bay. These colonists wanted to gain wealth mostly from gold mining which they believed would be an easy effort. The first to arrive were ill prepared for complete wilderness and started dying of starvation and malaria. They were eventually organized by John Smith. When John Smith left for medical treatment, these colonists entered an extreme starving period and had no way of earning money. They were saved by John Rolfe who started growing their saving grace; a cash crop called Tobacco. Jamestown then became a major plantation colony.

Massachusetts Bay

The Massachusetts Bay colony was founded by radical "puritans" in 1630. They were led by a man named John Winthrop who became their first governor for 19 years. John Winthrop helped the colony economically by establishing Massachusetts as a good fur, fishing, and ship building outpost. He motivated his fellow colonists with religious messages that they would be "the city on a hill," and tried to make their colony a prime example of a Christian example. Religious leaders in this colony held a great amount of influence but did not have absolute power. This colony believed in separation of Church and state. Although they believed in this separation, this colony as whole was not very religiously tolerant and upheld their own ideals. As a result, anyone who spoke out against their faith was banished which included the famed Anne Hutchinson and Roger Williams. Massachusetts Bay colony became one of the most influential colonies.


Maryland was founded in 1634 when Lord Baltimore was granted a royal charter. It was the second biggest plantation colony, but was the fourth colony. The original 200 settlers started in the Chesapeake Bay in what became St.Mary's. This colony was founded to gain wealth, but also to be a refuge for Roman Catholics. Lord Baltimore graciously gave land to his family, friends, and fellow catholics. Lord Baltimore supported religious tolerance. Although they had religious tolerance, an unusual law gave the Freedom of Worship to Christians but the death penalty to Atheist and Jews. Maryland became a strong supporter of the Act of Toleration Act, which was passed in 1649. This colony sheltered more Roman Catholics than any other colony.


Pennsylvania was founded by William Penn in 1681. William Penn began the colony as a place of refuge for his fellow Quakers and to try to make a profit. William Penn introduced new liberal ideas through this colony. Part of Quaker belief influenced this colony to be non-violent pacifists. As a result, liberty and religious tolerance were strongly encouraged. This colony was very ethnically diverse. They strongly disliked slavery. Pennsylvania generally had good relations to the Indians. William Penn's "liberal land policy" attracted many immigrants. Pennsylvania was the most "advertised" colony because its founder sent out paid agents and many pamphlets to encourage movement to Pennsylvania.


Georgia was the last of the original thirteen colonies founded in 1733 by James Oglethorp. Named after King George, it was originally founded to protect the Carolina's from Spanish Florida. As a result, this colony was financially supported by England. Their exports were mainly silk and wine. Georgia colonists welcomed debtors and made it a safe haven for them. The Port of Savannah became a very diverse immigration center. Many Christian missionaries, such as John Wesley, traveled to Savannah to aid and influence the debtors and Indians. It was in Georgia that John Wesley started the Methodists Church. Georgia colonists were religiously tolerant to most Christians except Catholics.