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.
In 1664, England took over the Dutch colony of New Netherland (including its capital of New Amsterdam) which England renamed the Province of New York. With New Netherland, the English also came to control the former New Sweden (in what is now Delaware), which the Dutch had conquered earlier. This later became part of Pennsylvania after that was established in 1680.
The Kingdom of Scotland tried unsuccessfully to establish a colony at Darién, and the Scottish colonization of Nova Scotia (New Scotland) lasted from 1629 to 1632. Thousands of Scotsmen also participated in English colonization before the two countries were united in 1707.
The Kingdom of Great Britain acquired the French colony of Acadia in 1713 and then Canada and the Spanish colony of Florida in 1763. After being renamed the Province of Quebec, the former French Canada was divided into two Provinces, the Canadas, consisting of the old settled country of Lower Canada (today Quebec) and the newly settled Upper Canada (today Ontario).
In the north, the Hudson's Bay Company actively traded for fur with the indigenous peoples, and had competed with French, Aboriginal, and Métis fur traders. The company came to control the entire drainage basin of Hudson Bay, called Rupert's Land. The small part of the Hudson Bay drainage south of the 49th parallel went to the United States in the Anglo-American Convention of 1818.
Thirteen of Great Britain's colonies rebelled in the American Revolutionary War, beginning in 1775, primarily over representation, local laws and tax issues, and established the United States of America, which was recognised internationally with the signing of the Treaty of Paris on 3 September 1783.
Great Britain also colonised the west coast of North America, indirectly via the Hudson's Bay Company licenses west of the Rocky Mountains: the Columbia District and New Caledonia fur district. Most of these were jointly claimed as the Oregon Country by the United States from 1818 until the 49th parallel was established as the international boundary west of the Rockies by the Oregon Treaty of 1846. The Colony of Vancouver Island, founded in 1849, and the Colony of British Columbia, founded in 1858, were combined in 1866 under the name Colony of British Columbia, and joined the Confederation in 1871. British Columbia was expanded with the inclusion of the Stikine Territory in 1863; and upon joining Confederation the Peace River Block, formerly part of Rupert's Land, was added.
In 1867, the colonies of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and the Province of Canada (the southern portion of modern-day Ontario and Quebec) combined to form a self-governing dominion, named Canada, within the British Empire (the term "kingdom" was avoided so as to not provoke the United States). Quebec (including what is now the southern portion of Ontario) and Nova Scotia (including what is now New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island) had been ceded to Britain by the French. The colonies of Prince Edward Island and British Columbia joined over the next six years, and Newfoundland joined in 1949. Rupert's Land and the North-Western Territory were ceded to Canada in 1870. This area now consists of the provinces of Manitoba (admitted after negotiation between Canada and a Métis provisional government in 1870), Saskatchewan, and Alberta (both created in 1905), as well as the Northwest Territories, the Yukon Territory (created 1898, following the start of the Klondike Gold Rush), and Nunavut (created in 1999).
In order of settlement or founding:
Amherst's Decree was a general order given by General Jeffery Amherst, commander of British forces in North America, in February 1761. The order halted the longtime tradition of presenting visiting Native American chieftains with gifts, especially gunpowder and lead shot. While gift giving was generally acknowledged as a diplomatic gesture of goodwill, Amherst viewed it as "excessive coddling" which was financially costly to the British government. The decree initiated a period of increasing distrust between British and Native American tribes and is considered by historians as one of the factors leading to Pontiac's Rebellion.
Amherst justified ending the tradition of giving goods and supplies to Indians in terms of defending His Majesty's interests. Indians would have to spend more time on supplying themselves, thus less time could be spent dissenting from British authority. By strictly limiting Native American's access to ammunition, Amherst was protecting the British Army from Indian attack.The decree denied Native groups access to alcohol and limited the amount of gunpowder they could legally obtain. Amherst prohibited British traders from traveling to Native villages and prohibited them from charging excessive prices. Yet, this forced American Indians further out of their local communities due to the need to travel to British forts in order to conduct business necessary for their survival. Due to the lack of transport accessible to Indians, only the fortunate had the horses necessary to transport goods to the British forts. The size of the horses limited the amount of goods Indians could carry to trade and the traders were further compounded by the restrictions on goods they could receive from the British traders.Asiento
The asiento was the license issued by the Spanish crown, by which a set of merchants received the monopoly on a trade route or product. They were included in some peace treaties. An example of it was the payment of a fee, granting legal permission to sell a fixed number of enslaved Africans in the Spanish colonies. They were usually sold to foreigners, mainly Portuguese. They were also considered a tangible asset, comparable to tax farming, and a source of profit for the Spanish crown. The original impetus to import enslaved Africans was to relieve the indigenous inhabitants of the colonies from the labor demands of the Spanish colonists. Dutch merchants became involved in the slave trade. In 1713, the British were awarded the right to the asiento in the Treaty of Utrecht, which ended the War of the Spanish Succession. The British government passed its rights to the South Sea Company. The British asiento ended with the 1750 Treaty of Madrid between Great Britain and Spain.
In Spain the asientos of the Genoveses (enemies of the Crown of Aragon) and later of the so-called Marranos or Portuguese Jews stand out.
In many cases, intra-nationally, a seat in the form of financing in the case of economies of scale resulted in a chartered company, which was a commercial company whose activities enjoyed the protection of the State by means of a special privilege, which, although it did not always constitute a total monopoly. Its existence dates back to 14th century in Italy, highlighting the British East India Company, the Dutch West India Company or the Casa de la Contratación de Indias in Seville.British America
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 Guiana
British Guiana was the name of the British colony, part of the British West Indies (Caribbean), on the northern coast of South America, now known as the independent nation of Guyana (since 1966).
The first European to discover Guiana was Sir Walter Raleigh, an English explorer. The Dutch were the first Europeans to settle there, starting in the early 17th century, when they founded the colonies of Essequibo and Berbice, adding Demerara in the mid-18th century. In 1796, Great Britain took over these three colonies during hostilities with the French, who had occupied the Netherlands. Britain returned control to the Batavian Republic in 1802, but captured the colonies a year later during the Napoleonic Wars. The colonies were officially ceded to the United Kingdom in 1814, and consolidated into a single colony in 1831. The colony's capital was at Georgetown (known as Stabroek prior to 1812).
As the British developed the colony for sugarcane plantations, they imported many Africans as slave labour. The economy has become more diversified since the late 19th century, but has relied on resource exploitation. Guyana became independent of the United Kingdom on 26 May 1966.Columbia District
The Columbia District was a fur trading district in the Pacific Northwest region of British North America in the 19th century. Much of its territory overlapped with the disputed Oregon Country. It was explored by the North West Company between 1793 and 1811, and established as an operating fur district around 1810. The North West Company was absorbed into the Hudson's Bay Company in 1821, under which the Columbia District became known as the Columbia Department. The Oregon Treaty of 1846 marked the effective end of the Hudson's Bay Company's Columbia Department.History of Antigua and Barbuda
The history of Antigua and Barbuda can be separated into three distinct eras. In the first, the islands were inhabited by three successive Amerindian societies. The islands were neglected by the first wave of European colonisation, but were settled by England in 1632. Under British control, the islands witnessed an influx of both Britons and African slaves. In 1981, the islands were granted independence as the modern state of Antigua and Barbuda.History of Trinidad and Tobago
The history of Trinidad and Tobago begins with the settlements of the islands by Amerindians, specifically the Island Carib and Arawak peoples. Both islands were explored by Christopher Columbus on his third voyage in 1498. Trinidad remained in Spanish hands until 1797, but it was largely settled by French colonists. Tobago changed hands between the British, French, Dutch, and Courlanders, but eventually ended up in British hands following the second Treaty of Paris (1814). In 1889 the two islands were incorporated into a single crown colony. Trinidad and Tobago obtained its independence from the British Empire in 1962 and became a republic in 1976.History of the Bahamas
The earliest arrival of humans in the islands now known as The Bahamas was in the first millennium AD. The first inhabitants of the islands were the Lucayans, an Arawakan-speaking Taino people, who arrived between about 500 and 800 AD from other islands of the Caribbean. Their ancestors came from mainland South America, where Arawakan-language peoples were present in most territories, and especially along the northeastern coast.
Recorded history began on 12 October 1492, when Christopher Columbus landed on the island of Guanahani, which he renamed San Salvador Island on his first voyage to the New World. The earliest permanent European settlement was in 1648 on Eleuthera. During the 18th century slave trade, many Africans were brought to the Bahamas as labourers. Their descendants now constitute 85% of the Bahamian population. The Bahamas gained independence from the United Kingdom on July 10, 1973.History of the British West Indies
The term British West Indies refers to the former English and British colonies and the present-day overseas territories of the United Kingdom in the Caribbean.
In the history of the British West Indies there have been several attempts at political unions. These attempts have occurred over a period of more than 300 years, from 1627 to 1958, and were carried out, or sometimes imposed, first by the English and then the British government. During this time, some of the attempted unions were true federations of colonies and others involved attaching various colonies to a major, nearby colony for the purposes of cheaper, efficient government or because the attached colonies were too small to justify a governor and administration of their own.
The initial federal attempts never went so far as to try to encompass all of the British West Indies (BWI), but were more regional in scope. The historical regional groupings were the British Leeward Islands, the British Windward Islands, and Jamaica with other nearby English/British colonies such as the Cayman Islands, British Honduras and the Turks and Caicos Islands.List of colonial governors and administrators of Dominica
This article lists the governors and other administrators of Dominica (where known), during its time as a colony of the Kingdom of Great Britain (1761–1778; 1784–1800), the Kingdom of France (1778–1784), and the United Kingdom (1800–1978).List of colonial governors of the British Virgin Islands
List of Colonial Heads of the British Virgin IslandsNootka Sound
Nootka Sound is a sound of the Pacific Ocean on the rugged west coast of Vancouver Island, in the Canadian province of British Columbia, historically known as King George's Sound. It separates Vancouver Island and Nootka Island. It played a historically important role in the maritime fur trade.North-Western Territory
The North-Western Territory was a region of British North America until 1870. Named for where it lay in relation to Rupert's Land, the territory at its greatest extent covered what is now Yukon, mainland Northwest Territories, northwestern mainland Nunavut, northwestern Saskatchewan, northern Alberta and northern British Columbia. Some of this area was originally part of Rupert's Land due to inaccurate maps. The acquisition of Rupert's Land was the largest land purchase in Canada's history.Slavery in the British Virgin Islands
In common with most Caribbean countries, slavery in the British Virgin Islands forms a major part of the history of the Territory. One commentator has gone so far as to say: "One of the most important aspects of the History of the British Virgin Islands is slavery."In 1563, before there had been any European settlement in the British Virgin Islands, Sir John Hawkins visited the islands with a cargo of slaves bound for Hispaniola.
In 1665 the Dutch settlers on Tortola were attacked by a British privateer, John Wentworth, who is recorded as capturing 67 slaves which were removed to Bermuda. This is the first record of slaves actually being kept on Tortola.
The first Dutch settlers also built slave pens at Port Purcell and on Scrub Island. In 1690 the Brandenburgers built slave pens on Peter Island, however, they later abandoned them in favour of an agreement with the Danes to set up a trading outpost on St. Thomas. The Brandenburgers and Dutch were both expelled by the British (although the remains of the pens can still be seen in Great Harbour, Peter Island and on Scrub Island).Slavery in the British and French Caribbean
Slavery in the British and French Caribbean refers to slavery in the parts of the Caribbean dominated by France or the British Empire.St. George's, Bermuda
St. George's (formally, the Town of St. George, or St. George's Town), located on the island and within the parish of the same names, settled in 1612, was the first permanent English settlement on the islands of Bermuda. It is often described as the third successful English settlement in the Americas, after St. John's, Newfoundland, and Jamestown, Virginia and the oldest continuously-inhabited English town in the New World, since the other two settlements were seasonal for a number of years.Treaty of Friendship and Alliance
The Treaty of Friendship and Alliance was signed on March 16, 1740 between King Edward I of the Miskito Nation and the British. Based on the terms of the treaty, King Edward relinquished his kingdom to King George II in return for British military protection. Moreover, the accord dictated that King Edward adopt all English laws throughout his territories.Treaty of Lochaber
The Treaty of Lochaber was signed in South Carolina on 18 October 1770 by British representative John Stuart and the Cherokees, fixing the boundary for the western limit of the frontier settlements of Virginia and North Carolina.Lord Shelburne in London was determined to settle disputes along the western frontier in order to avoid more conflict with the Native Americans. Although he lost his office as Southern Secretary in October 1768, negotiations with tribal chiefs regarding the North American colonial frontier progressed. The Treaty of Fort Stanwix in November 1768 fixed the boundary lines to the north of Virginia. The border variances from the Treaty of Hard Labour led to negotiations where 1000 Cherokees were hosted by Alexander Cameron (d. 1781) at Lochabar Plantation in Ninety-Six District, South Carolina.Based on the terms of the accord, the Cherokee relinquished all claims to land from the previous North Carolina and Virginia border to a point six miles east of Long Island of the Holston River in present-day Kingsport, Tennessee, to the mouth of the Kanawha River at present-day Point Pleasant, West Virginia, in Mason County. The North Carolina-Virginia border at this time was along the 36° 30' parallel in present-day Tennessee. The south fork of the Holston River was agreed to become the southern bounds due to settler's confusion of where the parallel ran. Therefore, "North of the Holston" settlers were considered outside of the Cherokee lands. In this treaty, the Cherokee surrendered their rights to the remaining land in present-day southern West Virginia not included in the Treaty of Hard Labour in October 1768.Utilitarian genocide
Utilitarian genocide is one of five forms of genocide categorized and defined in 1975 by genocide scholar Vahakn Dadrian.Utilitarian genocide is distinctly different from ideologically-motivated genocides like the Holocaust and the Cambodian genocide. This form of genocide has as its aim some form of material gain, such as the seizure of territory in order to gain control of economic resources for commercial exploitation. Two given examples of this form are the genocide of indigenous peoples in Brazil and the genocide of indigenous peoples in Paraguay.This form of genocide was highly prominent during the European colonial expansions into the Americas, Oceania, and Africa. The colonial expansion into the Americas was markedly different in its approaches to the accumulation of wealth. The French colonization of the Americas through exploitation and the fur trade had a minor impact on the indigenous peoples. The Spanish colonization of the Americas however was devastating to the indigenous population, as was the British colonization of the Americas. Dadrian has also given as further examples of utilitarian genocide the murders of Moors and Jews during the Spanish Inquisition and the killing of Cherokee Indians during the colonial expansion of the United States.This type of genocide has continued into the twentieth century, with the ongoing genocide of indigenous tribes in the rain forests of South America primarily due to progress and the development of resources within their territories; these regions are exploited for economic gain the indigenous peoples are considered a "hindrance" and are forcibly relocated or killed.