British America comprised the British Empire's colonial territories in North America, Bermuda, Central America, the Caribbean, and Guyana from 1607 to 1783. The American colonies were formally known as British America and the British West Indies before 1776, when the Thirteen Colonies declared their independence in the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783) and formed the United States of America. After that, the term British North America was used to describe the remainder of Britain's continental North American possessions. That term was first used informally in 1783 by the end of the American Revolution, but it was uncommon before the Report on the Affairs of British North America (1839), called the Durham Report.
British America gained large amounts of new territory following the Treaty of Paris (1763) which ended the French and Indian War in America, and ended British involvement in the Seven Years' War in Europe. At the start of the Revolutionary War in 1775, the British Empire included 20 colonies north and east of New Spain, including areas of Mexico and the Western United States. East and West Florida were ceded to the Kingdom of Spain in the Treaty of Paris (1783) which ended the American Revolution, and then ceded by Spain to the United States in 1819 after treaty negotiations to settle the old southwest border with Spanish Florida (eastern Louisiana, southern Alabama, Mississippi, and western Georgia). The remaining continental colonies of British North America to the northeast formed the Dominion of Canada by uniting provinces between 1867 and 1873. The Dominion of Newfoundland to the east joined Canada in 1949.
British America and the British West Indies
British colonies in North America (red) and the island colonies of the British West Indies near the Caribbean Sea (pink)
|Status||Colonies of England (1607–1707)|
Colonies of Great Britain (1707–1783)
|Capital||Administered from London, England|
|Common languages||English (official) |
|Religion||Anglicanism, Protestantism, Lutheranism, Roman Catholicism, Judaism, American Indian religion|
|James I & VI (first)|
|George III (last)|
|Currency||Pound sterling, Spanish dollar, colonial money, bills of credit, commodity money, and many local currencies|
|Today part of|
A number of English colonies were established in North America between 1606 and 1670 by individuals and companies whose investors expected to reap rewards from their speculation. They were granted commercial charters by King James I, King Charles I, Parliament, and King Charles II. The first permanent settlement was founded in 1607 on the James River at Jamestown, Virginia upstream from Chesapeake Bay by the London Company. This was followed in 1620 when the Pilgrims established the Plymouth settlement in New England. English Catholics settled the Province of Maryland in 1634, with Cecilus Calvert, second Lord Baltimore.
In London beginning in 1660, all colonies were governed through a state department known as the Southern Department, and a committee of the Privy Council called the Board of Trade and Plantations. In 1768, a specific state department was created for America, but it was disbanded in 1782 when the Home Office took responsibility.
The Thirteen Colonies formed the original states of the United States:
Several British colonies and territories were ruled by Britain from 1763 after the Seven Years' War, but were ceded to Spain (the Floridas) or the United States (the Indian Reserve and Southwestern Quebec). Others became part of Canada.
Territories that became part of the United States of America:
British colonies and territories that became part of Canada:
A Summary View of the Rights of British America was a tract written by Thomas Jefferson in 1774, before the U.S. Declaration of Independence, in which he laid out for delegates to the First Continental Congress a set of grievances against King George III, especially against the King's and Parliament's response to the Boston Tea Party. Jefferson declares that the British Parliament did not have the right to govern the Thirteen Colonies. He argues that since the individual colonies were founded they were independent of British rule. Jefferson, in this work, held that allodial title, not feudal title, was held to American lands, and thus the people did not owe fees and rents for that land to the British crown.
The work was presented to, and debated by, the First Continental Congress. When this took place, Jefferson did not attend. Despite his attempts, Congress agreed to a more moderate decision than Jefferson's proposed concept. Despite not being able to completely convince Congress, friends of Jefferson printed the Summary in a pamphlet form. It was distributed throughout London, New York and Philadelphia. Research states that the document "helped establish Jefferson's reputation as a skillful, if radical, political writer."Alienation (property law)
In property law, alienation is the voluntary act of an owner of some property disposing of the property, while alienable is the capacity for a piece of property or a property right to be sold or otherwise transferred from one party to another. Most property is alienable, but some may be subject to restraints on alienation. In England under the feudal system, land was generally transferred by subinfeudation and alienation required licence from the overlord. Some objects are incapable of being regarded as property and are inalienable, such as people and body parts. Aboriginal title is one example of inalienability (save to the Crown) in common law jurisdictions. A similar concept is non-transferability, such as tickets. Rights commonly described as a licence or permit are generally only personal and are not assignable. However, they are alienable in the sense that they can generally be surrendered.
English common law traditionally protected freehold landowners from unsecured creditors. In 1732, the Parliament of Great Britain passed legislation entitled “The Act for the More Easy Recovery of Debts in His Majesty’s Plantations and Colonies in America”, which required all real property in British America to be treated as chattel for debt collection purposes. The legislation was reenacted by many statehouses after the American Revolution, leading to the more commodified and transferable development of American property law.Almanac
An almanac (also spelled almanack and almanach) is an annual publication listing a set of events forthcoming in the next year.
It includes information like weather forecasts, farmers' planting dates, tide tables, and other tabular data often arranged according to the calendar. Celestial figures and various statistics are found in almanacs, such as the rising and setting times of the Sun and Moon, dates of eclipses, hours of high and low tides, and religious festivals.
A calendar, which is a system for time keeping, in written form is usually produced as a most simple almanac: it includes additional information about the day of the week on which a particular day falls, major holidays, the phases of the moon, earthquake hazard levels etc. The set of events noted in an almanac are selected in view of a more or less specific group of readers e.g. farmers, sailors, astronomers or others.Boston Tea Party
The Boston Tea Party was a political and mercantile protest by the Sons of Liberty in Boston, Massachusetts, on December 16, 1773. The target was the Tea Act of May 10, 1773, which allowed the British East India company to sell tea from China in American colonies without paying taxes apart from those imposed by the Townshend Acts. American Patriots strongly opposed the taxes in the Townshend Act as a violation of their rights. Demonstrators, some disguised as Native Americans, destroyed an entire shipment of tea sent by the East India Company.
They boarded the ships and threw the chests of tea into the Boston Harbor. The British government responded harshly and the episode escalated into the American Revolution. The Tea Party became an iconic event of American history, and since then other political protests such as the Tea Party movement have referred to themselves as historical successors to the Boston protest of 1773.
The Tea Party was the culmination of a resistance movement throughout British America against the Tea Act, which had been passed by the British Parliament in 1773. Colonists objected to the Tea Act because they believed that it violated their rights as Englishmen to "no taxation without representation", that is, to be taxed only by their own elected representatives and not by a British parliament in which they were not represented. In addition, the well-connected East India Company had been granted competitive advantages over colonial tea importers, who resented the move and feared additional infringement on their business. Protesters had successfully prevented the unloading of tea in three other colonies, but in Boston, embattled Royal Governor Thomas Hutchinson refused to allow the tea to be returned to Britain.The Boston Tea Party was a significant event in the growth of the American Revolution. Parliament responded in 1774 with the Intolerable Acts, or Coercive Acts, which, among other provisions, ended local self-government in Massachusetts and closed Boston's commerce. Colonists up and down the Thirteen Colonies in turn responded to the Intolerable Acts with additional acts of protest, and by convening the First Continental Congress, which petitioned the British monarch for repeal of the acts and coordinated colonial resistance to them. The crisis escalated, and the American Revolutionary War began near Boston in 1775.British colonization of the Americas
British colonization of the Americas (including colonization by both the English and the Scots) began in 1607 in Jamestown, Virginia, and reached its peak when colonies had been established throughout the Americas. The English, and later the British, were among the most important colonizers of the Americas, and their American empire came to surpass the Spanish American colonies in military and economic might.
Three types of colonies were established in the English overseas possessions in America of the 17th century and continued into the British Empire at the height of its power in the 17th century. These were charter colonies, proprietary colonies, and royal colonies. A group of 13 British American colonies collectively broke from the British Empire in the 1770s through a successful revolution, establishing the modern United States. After the end of the Napoleonic Wars (1803–15), the remaining British territories in North America were slowly granted more responsible government. In 1838 the Durham Report recommended full responsible government for Canada, but this was not fully implemented for another decade. Eventually, with the Confederation of Canada, the Canadian colonies were granted significant autonomy and became a self-governing Dominion in 1867. Other colonies in the Americas followed at a much slower pace. In this way, two countries in North America, ten in the Caribbean, and one in South America have received their independence from Great Britain or the later United Kingdom. All of these, except the United States, are members of the Commonwealth of Nations and nine are Commonwealth realms. The eight current British overseas territories in the Americas have varying degrees of self-government.Francis Marion
Francis Marion (c. 1732 – February 27, 1795) was a military officer who served in the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783). Acting with the Continental Army and South Carolina militia commissions, he was a persistent adversary of the British in their occupation of South Carolina and Charleston in 1780 and 1781, even after the Continental Army was driven out of the state in the Battle of Camden.
Marion used irregular methods of warfare and is considered one of the fathers of modern guerrilla warfare and maneuver warfare, and is credited in the lineage of the United States Army Rangers and the other American military Special Forces such as the "Green Berets". He was known as The Swamp Fox.Hessian (soldier)
Hessians (US: or UK: ) were German soldiers who served as auxiliaries to the British Army during the American Revolutionary War.The Hessians were contracted by Great Britain and others as mercenaries in several 18th century European wars, but are most widely associated with the American Revolution, where around 30,000 German soldiers fought for the British during the war, forming a quarter of the troops sent to British America. The term Hessians is used by Americans to refer to all German troops fighting on the British side, a form of synecdoche as 65% of the German troops came from the German states of Hesse-Kassel and Hesse-Hanau, while the remainder were leased from other small German states. The Hessians were led by Wilhelm von Knyphausen, entering British service as entire units, fighting under their own German flags, commanded by their usual officers, and wearing their existing uniforms.
The use of German troops to suppress a rebellion in the British colonies angered the American patriots, and one of the grievances against King George III in the Declaration of Independence was "transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries".John Stark
John Stark (August 28, 1728 – May 8, 1822) was a New Hampshire native who served as an officer in the British Army during the French and Indian war and a major general in the Continental Army during the American Revolution. He became widely known as the "Hero of Bennington" for his exemplary service at the Battle of Bennington in 1777.Middle Colonies
The Middle Colonies were five 1/2 of the thirteen colonies in British America, located between the New England Colonies and the Southern Colonies. Along with the Chesapeake Colonies, this area now roughly makes up the Mid-Atlantic states (though with the notable exception of Vermont, which is reckoned with New England).
Much of the area was part of New Netherland until the British exerted their control over the region. The British captured much of the area in their war with the Dutch around 1664, and the majority of the conquered land became the Province of New York. But The Duke of York and the King of England would later grant others ownership of the land which would become the Province of New Jersey and the Province of Pennsylvania. The Delaware Colony later separated from Pennsylvania, which was founded by William Penn.
The Middle Colonies had lots of fertile soil, which allowed the area to become a major exporter of wheat and other grains. The lumber and shipbuilding industries enjoyed success in the Middle Colonies because of the abundant forests, and Pennsylvania saw moderate success in the textile and iron industry. The Middle Colonies were the most ethnically and religiously diverse British colonies in North America; they had settlers from England, Scotland, Ireland, the Netherlands, and German states. The good farm land was much cheaper than in Europe. With the new arrivals came various Protestant denominations, which were protected in the Middle Colonies by written freedom of religion laws. This tolerance was very unusual and distinct from the situation in other British colonies.Natchez District
The Natchez District was one of two areas established in the Kingdom of Great Britain's West Florida colony during the 1770s – the other being the Tombigbee District. The first Anglo settlers in the district came primarily from other parts of British America. The district was recognized to be the area east of the Mississippi River from Bayou Sara in the south (presently St. Francisville, Louisiana) and Bayou Pierre in the north (presently Port Gibson, Mississippi).
It became a center of wealth in the antebellum years, as a trading center for slaves and cotton, and the center of cotton culture in the Old Southwest. Today, this area corresponds roughly with and includes most of the lands south of Interstate 20 and west of Interstate 55 in the state of Mississippi, in the southwest corner of the state.
After the United States made the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 of large territories formerly controlled by France west of the Mississippi River, the lowlying delta area on the west side of the river became considered part of the Natchez District. Several parishes were developed for plantation cotton cultivation here in the antebellum era, unlike southern Louisiana, where sugar cane was the dominant commodity crop. The Louisiana Natchez District included the parishes of Carroll (split between East Carroll and West Carroll in 1877), Concordia, Madison and Tensas.New England Colonies
The New England Colonies of British America included Connecticut Colony, the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Massachusetts Bay 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. Captain John Smith's 1616 work A Description of New England first applied the term "New England" to the coastal lands from Long Island Sound to Newfoundland.Orange Order in Canada
The Grand Orange Lodge of British America, more commonly known as the Grand Orange Lodge of Canada or simply Orange Order in Canada, is the Canadian branch of the Orange Order, a Protestant fraternal organization that began in County Armagh, Ireland, in 1795. It has played a large part in the history of Canada, with many prominent members including four Prime Ministers, amongst them Sir John A. Macdonald and John Diefenbaker, as well as Tommy Douglas, founder of the New Democratic Party.Proprietary colony
A proprietary colony was a type of British colony mostly in North America and the Caribbean in the 17th century. In the British Empire, all land belonged to the ruler, and it was his prerogative to divide. Therefore, all colonial properties were partitioned by royal charter into one of four types: proprietary, royal, joint stock, or covenant. King Charles II used the proprietary solution to reward allies and focus his own attention on Britain itself. He offered his friends colonial charters which facilitated private investment and colonial self-government. The charters made the proprietor the effective ruler, albeit one ultimately responsible to English Law and the King. Charles II gave New Netherland to his younger brother The Duke of York, who named it New York. He gave an area to William Penn who named it Pennsylvania.This type of indirect rule eventually fell out of favour as the colonies became established and administrative difficulties eased. The English sovereigns sought to concentrate their power and authority and the colonies were converted to Crown colonies, i.e. governed by officials appointed by the King, replacing the people the King had previously appointed and under different terms.Province of South Carolina
The Province of South Carolina (also known as the South Carolina Colony) was originally part of the Province of Carolina in British America, which was chartered by eight Lords Proprietor in 1663. The province later became the U.S. state of South Carolina.Relict
A relict is a surviving remnant of a natural phenomenon.
In biology a relict (or relic) is an organism that at an earlier time was abundant in a large area but now occurs at only one or a few small areas.
In ecology, an ecosystem which originally ranged over a large expanse, but is now narrowly confined, may be termed a relict.
In geology, a relict is a structure or mineral from a parent rock that did not undergo metamorphosis when the surrounding rock did, or a rock that survived a destructive geologic process.
In geomorphology, a relict landform is a landform formed by either erosive or constructive surficial processes that are no longer active as they were in the past.
In agronomy, a relict crop is a crop which was previously grown extensively, but is now only used in one limited region, or a small number of isolated regions.
In history (as revealed in DNA testing), a relict population is an ancient people in an area who have been largely supplanted by a later group of migrants and their descendants.
In real estate law, reliction is the gradual recession of water from its usual high-water mark so that the newly uncovered land becomes the property of the adjoining riparian property owner.Other uses:
In addition, relict was an ancient term still used in colonial (British) America, and in England of that era, but now archaic, for a widow; it has come to be a generic or collective term for widows and widowers.
In historical linguistics, a relict is a word that is a survivor of a form or forms that are otherwise archaic.Southern Colonies
The Southern Colonies within British America consisted of the Province of Maryland, the Colony of Virginia,
the Province of Carolina (in 1712 split into North and South 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.
These colonies would become the historical core of what would become the Southern United States, or "Dixie".
The colonies developed prosperous economies based on the cultivation of cash crops, such as tobacco, indigo, and rice. A side effect of the cultivation of these crops was the presence of slavery in significantly higher proportions than in other parts of British America.Thomas Gage
General Thomas Gage (10 March 1718/19 – 2 April 1787) was a British Army general officer and colonial official best known for his many years of service in North America, including his role as British commander-in-chief in the early days of the American Revolution.
Being born to an aristocratic family in England, he entered military service, seeing action in the French and Indian War, where he served alongside his future opponent George Washington in the 1755 Battle of the Monongahela. After the fall of Montreal in 1760, he was named its military governor. During this time he did not distinguish himself militarily, but proved himself to be a competent administrator.
From 1763 to 1775 he served as commander-in-chief of the British forces in North America, overseeing the British response to the 1763 Pontiac's Rebellion. In 1774 he was also appointed the military governor of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, with instructions to implement the Intolerable Acts, punishing Massachusetts for the Boston Tea Party. His attempts to seize military stores of Patriot militias in April 1775 sparked the Battles of Lexington and Concord, beginning the American Revolutionary War. After the Pyrrhic victory in the June Battle of Bunker Hill, he was replaced by General William Howe in October, 1775, and returned to Great Britain.Tory
A Tory () is a person who holds a political philosophy, known as Toryism, based on a British version of traditionalism and conservatism, which upholds the supremacy of social order as it has evolved throughout history. The Tory ethos has been summed up with the phrase "God, King, and Country". Tories generally advocate monarchism, and were historically of a high church Anglican religious heritage, opposed to the liberalism of the Whig faction.
The philosophy originates from the Cavalier faction, a royalist group during the English Civil War. The Tories political faction that emerged in 1681 was a reaction to the Whig-controlled Parliaments that succeeded the Cavalier Parliament. It also has exponents in other parts of the former British Empire, such as the Loyalists of British America, who opposed American secession during the American War of Independence. The loyalists that fled to the Canadas at the end of the American Revolution, the United Empire Loyalists, formed the support base for political cliques in Upper and Lower Canada. Toryism remains prominent in the Commonwealth realms, particularly in Canada, and the United Kingdom. Several Conservative parties in the Commonwealth realms, along with their party members, continue to be referred to as Tories.
The term Tory is used regardless of whether they are traditionalists or not. Adherents to traditional Toryism in contemporary times are referred to as High Tories. The terms Blue Tory and Red Tory have been used to describe the two different factions of the federal and provincial Conservative/Progressive Conservative parties in Canada. In addition, Pink Tory is used in Canadian politics as a pejorative term to describe a member of the Conservative/Progressive Conservative party who is perceived as liberal.William and Mary Quarterly
The William and Mary Quarterly is a quarterly history journal published by the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture. The journal originated in 1892, making it one of the oldest scholarly journals in the United States. Currently in its third series, the Quarterly is the leading journal for the study of early American history and culture. It ranges chronologically from Old World–New World contacts to about 1820. Geographically, it focuses on North America—from New France and the Spanish American borderlands to British America and the Caribbean—and extends to Europe and West Africa. Though grounded in history, it welcomes works from all disciplines bearing on the early American period—for example, literature, law, political science, anthropology, archaeology, material culture, cultural studies.
The journal is named for the College of William and Mary where it was founded in 1892. It has been published in three successive series, with volume numbers repeating with each new series. The journal's first series of 27 volumes ran from 1892 to 1919. The second series began in 1921 and ended in 1943, while the third series began in 1944 and runs through the present day.
The journal is available online through the JSTOR service.