English overseas possessions

The English overseas possessions, also known as the English colonial empire, comprised a variety of overseas territories that were colonised, conquered, or otherwise acquired by the former Kingdom of England during the centuries before the Acts of Union of 1707 between the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland created the Kingdom of Great Britain. The many English possessions then became the foundation of the British Empire and its fast-growing naval and mercantile power, which until then had yet to overtake those of the Dutch Republic, the Kingdom of Portugal, and the Kingdom of Spain.

The first English overseas settlements were established in Ireland, quickly followed by others in North America, Bermuda, and the West Indies, and by trading posts called "factories" in the East Indies, such as Bantam, and in the Indian subcontinent, beginning with Surat. In 1639, a series of English fortresses on the Indian coast was initiated with Fort St George. In 1661, the marriage of King Charles II to Catherine of Braganza brought him as part of her dowry new possessions which until then had been Portuguese, including Tangier in North Africa and Bombay in India.

In North America, Newfoundland and Virginia were the first centres of English colonisation. As the 17th century wore on, Maine, Plymouth, New Hampshire, Salem, Massachusetts Bay, New Scotland, Connecticut, New Haven, Maryland, and Rhode Island and Providence were settled. In 1664, New Netherland and New Sweden were taken from the Dutch, becoming New York, New Jersey, and parts of Delaware and Pennsylvania.

English overseas possessions in 1700
All English overseas possessions in 1700, shortly before the Acts of Union of 1707


A replica of Cabot's ship, the Matthew

The Kingdom of England is generally dated from the rule of Æthelstan from 927.[1] During the rule of the House of Knýtlinga, from 1013 to 1014 and 1016 to 1042, England was part of a personal union that included domains in Scandinavia. In 1066, William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy, conquered England, making the Duchy a Crown land of the English throne. Through the remainder of the Middle Ages the kings of England held extensive territories in France, based on their history in this Duchy. Under the Angevin Empire, England formed part of a collection of lands in the British Isles and France held by the Plantagenet dynasty. The collapse of this dynasty led to the Hundred Years' War between England and France. At the outset of the war the Kings of England ruled almost all of France, but by the end of it in 1453 only the Pale of Calais remained to them.[2] Calais was eventually lost to the French in 1558. The Channel Islands, as the remnants of the Duchy of Normandy, retain their link to the Crown to the present day,

Other early English expansion occurred within the British Isles. As early as 1169, the Norman invasion of Ireland began to establish English possessions in Ireland, with thousands of English and Welsh settlers arriving in Ireland.[3] As a result of this the Lordship of Ireland was held for centuries by the English monarch, although it was not until the early 17th century that the Plantation of Ulster began.[4] English control of Ireland fluctuated for centuries until Ireland was incorporated into the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in 1801.

The voyages of Christopher Columbus began in 1492, and he sighted land in the West Indies on 12 October that year. In 1496, excited by the successes in overseas exploration of the Portuguese and the Spanish, King Henry VII of England commissioned John Cabot to lead a voyage to find a route from the Atlantic to the Spice Islands of Asia, subsequently known as the search for the North West Passage. Cabot sailed in 1497, successfully making landfall on the coast of Newfoundland. There, he believed he had reached Asia and made no attempt to found a permanent colony.[5] He led another voyage to the Americas the following year, but nothing was heard of him or his ships again.[6]

The Reformation had made enemies of England and Spain, and in 1562 Elizabeth sanctioned the privateers Hawkins and Drake to attack Spanish ships off the coast of West Africa.[7] Later, as the Anglo-Spanish Wars intensified, Elizabeth approved further raids against Spanish ports in the Americas and against shipping returning to Europe with treasure from the New World.[8] Meanwhile, the influential writers Richard Hakluyt and John Dee were beginning to press for the establishment of England's own overseas empire. Spain was well established in the Americas, while Portugal had built up a network of trading posts and fortresses on the coasts of Africa, Brazil, and China, and the French had already begun to settle the Saint Lawrence River, which later became New France.[9]

The first English overseas colonies

The first serious attempts to establish English colonies overseas were made in the last quarter of the 16th century, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth.[10] The 1580s saw the first attempt at permanent English settlements in North America, a generation before the Plantation of Ulster. Soon there was an explosion of English colonial activity, driven by men seeking new land, by the pursuit of trade, and by the search for religious freedom. In the 17th century, the destination of most English people making a new life overseas was in the West Indies rather than in North America.

Early claims

Financed by the Muscovy Company, Martin Frobisher set sail on 7 June 1576, from Blackwall, London, seeking the North West Passage. In August 1576 he landed at Frobisher Bay on Baffin Island and this was marked by the first Church of England service recorded on North American soil. Frobisher returned to Frobisher Bay in 1577, solemnly taking possession of the south side of it in Queen Elizabeth's name. In a third voyage, in 1578, he reached the shores of Greenland and also made an unsuccessful attempt at founding a settlement in Frobisher Bay.[11][12] While on the coast of Greenland, he also claimed that for England.[13]

At the same time, between 1577 and 1580, Sir Francis Drake was circumnavigating the globe. He claimed Elizabeth Island off Cape Horn for his queen, and on 24 August 1578 claimed another Elizabeth Island, in the Straits of Magellan.[14] In 1579, he landed on the north coast of California, claiming the area for Elizabeth as "New Albion".[15] However, these claims were not followed up by settlements.[16]

In 1578, while Drake was away on his circumnavigation, Queen Elizabeth granted a patent for overseas exploration to his half-brother Humphrey Gilbert, and that year Gilbert sailed for the West Indies to engage in piracy and to establish a colony in North America. However, the expedition was abandoned before the Atlantic had been crossed. In 1583, Gilbert sailed to Newfoundland, where in a formal ceremony he took possession of the harbour of St John's together with all land within two hundred leagues to the north and south of it, although he left no settlers behind him. He did not survive the return journey to England.[17][18]

The first overseas settlements

US Navy 070426-N-1688B-156 Robert Hicks as Capt. John Radcliff reads the ordination orders and instructions during a re-enactment ceremony
Re-enactment of English settlers arriving in Virginia, 1607

On 25 March 1584, Queen Elizabeth I (the "Virgin Queen") granted Sir Walter Raleigh a charter for the colonization of an area of North America which was to be called, in her honour, Virginia. This charter specified that Raleigh had seven years in which to establish a settlement, or else lose his right to do so. Raleigh and Elizabeth intended that the venture should provide riches from the New World and a base from which to send privateers on raids against the treasure fleets of Spain. Raleigh himself never visited North America, although he led expeditions in 1595 and 1617 to the Orinoco River basin in South America in search of the golden city of El Dorado. Instead, he sent others to found the Roanoke Colony, later known as the "Lost Colony".[19]

On 31 December 1600, Elizabeth gave a charter to the East India Company, under the name "The Governor and Company of Merchants of London Trading into the East Indies".[20] The Company soon established its first trading post in the East Indies, at Bantam on the island of Java, and others, beginning with Surat, on the coasts of what is now India and Bangladesh.

Most of the new English colonies established in North America and the West Indies, whether successfully or otherwise, were proprietary colonies with Proprietors, appointed to found and govern settlements under mercantile charters granted to joint stock companies. Early examples of these are the Virginia Company, which created the first successful English overseas settlements at Jamestown in 1607 and Bermuda, unofficially in 1609 and officially in 1612, its spin-off, the Somers Isles Company, to which Bermuda (also known as the Somers Isles) was transferred in 1615, and the Newfoundland Company which settled Cuper's Cove near St John's, Newfoundland in 1610. Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Massachusetts Bay were also charter colonies.

Bermuda, today the oldest-remaining British Overseas Territory, was settled and claimed by England as a result of the shipwreck there in 1609 of the Virginia Company's flagship Sea Venture. The town of St George's, founded in Bermuda in 1612, remains the oldest continuously-inhabited English settlement in the New World. Some historians state that with its formation predating the conversion of "James Fort" into "Jamestown" in 1619, St George's was actually the first successful town the English established in the New World. Bermuda and Bermudians have played important, sometimes pivotal, roles in the shaping of the English and British trans-Atlantic empires. These include roles in maritime commerce, settlement of the continent and of the West Indies, and the projection of naval power via the colony's privateers, among others.[21][22]

Between 1640 and 1660, the West Indies were the destination of more than two-thirds of English emigrants to the New World. By 1650, there were 44,000 English people in the Caribbean, compared to 12,000 on the Chesapeake and 23,000 in New England.[23] The most substantial English settlement in that period was at Barbados.

In 1660, King Charles II established the Royal African Company, essentially a trading company dealing in slaves, led by his brother James, Duke of York. In 1661, Charles's marriage to the Portuguese princess Catherine of Braganza brought him the ports of Tangier in Africa and Bombay in India as part of her dowry. Tangier proved very expensive to hold and was abandoned in 1684.[24]

After the Dutch surrender of Fort Amsterdam to English control in 1664, England took over the Dutch colony of New Netherland, including New Amsterdam. Formalized in 1667, this contributed to the Second Anglo–Dutch War. In 1664, New Netherland was renamed the Province of New York. At the same time, the English also came to control the former New Sweden, in the present-day US state of Delaware, which had also been a Dutch possession and later became part of Pennsylvania. In 1673, the Dutch regained New Netherland, but they gave it up again under the Treaty of Westminster of 1674.

Council of Trade and Foreign Plantations

In 1621, following a downturn in overseas trade which had created financial problems for the Exchequer, King James instructed his Privy Council to establish an ad hoc committee of inquiry to look into the causes of the decline. This was called The Lords of the Committee of the Privy Council appointed for the consideration of all matters relating to Trade and Foreign Plantations. Intended to be a temporary creation, the committee, later called a 'Council', became the origin of the Board of Trade which has had an almost continuous existence since 1621. The Committee quickly took a hand in promoting the more profitable enterprises of the English possessions, and in particular the production of tobacco and sugar.[25]

The Americas

List of English possessions in North America

John Smith after Simon De Passe
Captain John Smith, 'Admiral of New England'
Gilbert plaque
Plaque at St John's marking Sir Humphrey Gilbert's landing there in 1583

List of English possessions in the West Indies

  • Barbados, first visited by an English ship, the Olive Blossom, in 1605,[32] was not settled by England until 1625,[33] soon becoming the third major English settlement in the Americas after Jamestown, Virginia, and the Plymouth Colony.
  • Saint Kitts was settled by the English in 1623, followed by the French in 1625. The English and French united to massacre the local Kalinago, pre-empting a Kalinago plan to massacre the Europeans, and then partitioned the island, with the English in the middle and the French at either end. In 1629 a Spanish force seized St Kitts, but the English settlement was rebuilt following the peace between England and Spain in 1630. The island then alternated between English and French control during the 17th and 18th centuries.
  • Nevis, settled 1628
  • Providence Island colony, settled by the Providence Island Company in 1629 and captured by Spain in 1641.
  • Montserrat, settled 1632
  • Antigua, settled in 1632 by a group of English colonists from Saint Kitts
  • The Bahamas were mostly deserted from 1513 to 1648, when the Eleutheran Adventurers left Bermuda to settle on the island of Eleuthera.
  • Anguilla, first colonized by English settlers from St Kitts in 1650; the French gained the island in 1666, but under the Treaty of Breda of 1667 it was returned to England
  • Jamaica, formerly a Spanish possession known as Santiago, it was conquered by the English in 1655.
  • Barbuda, first settled by the Spanish and French, was colonized by the English in 1666.
  • The Cayman Islands were visited by Sir Francis Drake in 1586, who named them. They were largely uninhabited until the 17th century, when they were informally settled by pirates, refugees from the Spanish Inquisition, shipwrecked sailors, and deserters from Oliver Cromwell's army in Jamaica. England gained control of the islands, together with Jamaica, under the Treaty of Madrid of 1670.

List of English possessions in Central and South America

English possessions in India and the East Indies

Fort St. George, Chennai
Fort St George, Madras, the first English fortress in India
  • Bantam: The English started to sail to the East Indies about the year 1600, which was the date of the foundation in the City of London of the East India Company ("the Governour and Company of Merchants of London trading into the East Indies") and in 1602 a permanent "factory" was established at Bantam on the island of Java.[35] At first, the factory was headed by a Chief Factor, from 1617 by a President, from 1630 by Agents, and from 1634 to 1652 by Presidents again. The factory then declined.
  • Surat: The East India Company's traders settled at Surat in 1608, followed by the Dutch in 1617. Surat was the first headquarters town of the East India Company, but in 1687 it transferred its command centre to Bombay.
  • Machilipatnam: a trading factory was established here on the Coromandel Coast of India in 1611, at first reporting to Bantam.[36]
  • Run, a spice island in the East Indies. On 25 December 1616, Nathaniel Courthope landed on Run to defend it against the claims of the Dutch East India Company and the inhabitants accepted James I as sovereign of the island. After four years of siege by the Dutch and the death of Courthope in 1620, the English left. According to the Treaty of Westminster of 1654, Run should have been returned to England, but was not. After the Second Anglo-Dutch War, England and the United Provinces agreed to the status quo, under which the English kept Manhattan, which the Duke of York had occupied in 1664, while in return Run was formally abandoned to the Dutch. In 1665 the English traders were expelled.
  • Fort St George, at Madras (Chennai), was the first English fortress in India, founded in 1639. George Town was the accompanying civilian settlement.
  • Bombay: On 11 May 1661, the marriage treaty of King Charles II and Catherine of Braganza, daughter of King John IV of Portugal, transferred Bombay into the possession of England, as part of Catherine's dowry.[37] However, the Portuguese kept several neighbouring islands. Between 1665 and 1666, the English acquired Mahim, Sion, Dharavi, and Wadala.[38] These islands were leased to the East India Company in 1668. The population quickly rose from 10,000 in 1661, to 60,000 in 1675.[39] In 1687, the East India Company transferred its headquarters from Surat to Bombay, and the city eventually became the headquarters of the Bombay Presidency.[40]
  • Bencoolen was an East India Company pepper-trading centre with a garrison on the coast of the island of Sumatra, established in 1685.
  • Calcutta on the Hooghly River in Bengal was settled by the East India Company in 1690.

English possessions in Africa

English possessions in Europe

Transformation into British Empire

The Treaty of Union of 1706, which with effect from 1707 combined England and Scotland into a new sovereign state called Great Britain, provided for the subjects of the new state to "have full freedom and intercourse of trade and navigation to and from any port or place within the said united kingdom and the Dominions and Plantations thereunto belonging". While the Treaty of Union also provided for the winding up of the Scottish African and Indian Company, it made no such provision for the English companies or colonies. In effect, with the Union they became British colonies.[41]

List of English possessions which are still British Overseas Territories

North America and the West Indies



See also



  1. ^ Keynes, Simon. "Edward, King of the Anglo-Saxons" in N. J. Higham & D. H. Hill, Edward the Elder 899-924 (London: Routledge, 2001), p. 61.
  2. ^ Griffiths, Ralph A. King and Country: England and Wales in the Fifteenth Century (2003, ISBN 1852850183), p. 53
  3. ^ Bartlett, Thomas. Ireland: A History (2010, ISBN 0521197201) p. 40.
  4. ^ Hill, George. The Fall of Irish Chiefs and Clans and the Plantation of Ulster (2004, ISBN 094013442X)
  5. ^ Kenneth Andrews, Trade, Plunder and Settlement: Maritime Enterprise and the Genesis of the British Empire, 1480–1630 (Cambridge University Press, 1984, ISBN 0-521-27698-5) p. 45.
  6. ^ Ferguson, Niall. Colossus: The Price of America's Empire (Penguin, 2004, p. 4)
  7. ^ Thomas, Hugh. The Slave Trade: the History of the Atlantic Slave Trade (Picador, 1997), pp. 155–158.
  8. ^ Ferguson (2004), p. 7.
  9. ^ Lloyd, Trevor Owen. The British Empire 1558–1995 (Oxford University Press, 1996, ISBN 0-19-873134-5), pp. 4–8.
  10. ^ Nicholas Canny, The Origins of Empire, The Oxford History of the British Empire, vol. I (Oxford University Press, 1998, ISBN 0-19-924676-9), p. 35
  11. ^ The Nunavut Voyages of Martin Frobisher at web site of the Canadian Museum of Civilization, accessed 5 August 2011
  12. ^ Cooke, Alan (1979) [1966]. "Frobisher, Sir Martin". In Brown, George Williams. Dictionary of Canadian Biography. I (1000–1700) (online ed.). University of Toronto Press.
  13. ^ McDermott, James. Martin Frobisher: Elizabethan privateer (Yale University Press, 2001, ISBN 0-300-08380-7.) p. 190
  14. ^ a b Francis Fletcher, The World encompassed by Sir Francis Drake (1854 edition) by the Hakluyt Society, p. 75.
  15. ^ Dell'Osso,, John (October 12, 2016). "Drakes Bay National Historic Landmark Dedication". NPS.gov. National Park Service. Retrieved January 23, 2019.
  16. ^ Sugden, John. Sir Francis Drake (Barrie & Jenkins, 1990, ISBN 0-7126-2038-9), p. 118.
  17. ^ Andrews (1984), pp. 188-189
  18. ^ Quinn, David B. (1979) [1966]. "Gilbert, Sir Humphrey". In Brown, George Williams. Dictionary of Canadian Biography. I (1000–1700) (online ed.). University of Toronto Press.
  19. ^ David B. Quinn, Set fair for Roanoke: voyages and colonies, 1584–1606 (1985)
  20. ^ The register of letters, &c: of the governour and company of merchants of London trading into the East Indies, 1600–1619 (B. Quaritch, 1893), p. 3.
  21. ^ Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia and Essays in History review of In the Eye of All Trade: Bermuda, Bermudians, and the Maritime Atlantic World, 1680-1783, By Michael J. Jarvis, Published for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia. Archived 2012-01-09 at the Wayback Machine ISBN 978-0-8078-3321-6
  22. ^ Lt. Col. Gavin Shorto, The Bermudian: Bermuda in the Privateering Business
  23. ^ Alan Taylor, Colonial America: A Very Short Introduction (2012), p. 78
  24. ^ a b John Wreglesworth, Tangier: England's Forgotten Colony (1661-1684), p. 6
  25. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica: a new survey of universal knowledge (Volume 10, 1963), p. 583
  26. ^ Nicholas Canny, The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume I, 2001, ISBN 0-19-924676-9.
  27. ^ "Early Settlement Schemes". Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage Web Site Project. Memorial University of Newfoundland. 1998. Retrieved 2010-01-09.
  28. ^ Paul O'Neill, The Oldest City: The Story of St. John's, Newfoundland, 2003, ISBN 0-9730271-2-6.
  29. ^ "William Vaughan and New Cambriol". Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage Web Site Project. Memorial University of Newfoundland. Retrieved 2010-01-09.
  30. ^ Permanent Settlement at Avalon, Colony of Avalon Foundation, Revised March 2002, accessed 6 August 2011
  31. ^ John Andrew Doyle, English Colonies in America: The Puritan colonies (1889) chapter 8, p. 220
  32. ^ Sir Robert Schomburg, History of Barbados (2012 edition), p. 258
  33. ^ Reuben Gold Thwaites, The Colonies, 1492-1750 (1927), p. 245
  34. ^ Canny, p. 71
  35. ^ East India Company, The Register of Letters &c. of the Governour and Company of Merchants of London Trading Into the East Indies, 1600-1619 (B. Quaritch, 1893), pp. lxxiv, 33
  36. ^ N. S. Ramaswami, Fort St. George, Madras (Madras, 1980; Tamil Nadu State Department of Archaeology, No. 49)
  37. ^ "Catherine of Bragança (1638–1705)". BBC. Retrieved 5 November 2008.
  38. ^ The Gazetteer of Bombay City and Island 1978, p. 54
  39. ^ M. D. David, History of Bombay, 1661–1708 (1973) p. 410
  40. ^ F. L. Carsten, The New Cambridge Modern History V (The ascendancy of France 1648–88) (Cambridge University Press, 1961, ISBN 978-0-521-04544-5), p. 427
  41. ^ Treaty of Union of the Two Kingdoms of Scotland and England at scotshistoryonline.co.uk, accessed 2 August 2011


Primary sources
  • Crouch, Nathaniel. The English Empire in America: or a Prospect of His Majesties Dominions in the West-Indies (London, 1685).

Further reading

  • Adams, James Truslow, The Founding of New England (1921), to 1690
  • Andrews, Charles M., The Colonial Period of American History (4 vols. 1934–38), the standard political overview to 1700
  • Andrews, Charles M., Colonial Self-Government, 1652–1689 (1904) full text online
  • Bayly, C. A., ed., Atlas of the British Empire (1989), survey by scholars, heavily illustrated
  • Black, Jeremy, The British Seaborne Empire (2004)
  • Coelho, Philip R. P., "The Profitability of Imperialism: The British Experience in the West Indies 1768–1772," Explorations in Economic History, July 1973, Vol. 10 Issue 3, pp. 253–280.
  • Dalziel, Nigel, The Penguin Historical Atlas of the British Empire (2006), 144 pp
  • Doyle, John Andrew, English Colonies in America: Virginia, Maryland and the Carolinas (1882) online edition
  • Doyle, John Andrew, English Colonies in America: The Puritan colonies (1889) online edition
  • Doyle, John Andrew, The English in America: The colonies under the House of Hanover (1907) online edition
  • Ferguson, Niall, Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order and the Lessons for Global Power (2002)
  • Fishkin, Rebecca Love, English Colonies in America (2008)
  • Foley, Arthur, The Early English Colonies (Sadler Phillips, 2010)
  • Gipson, Lawrence. The British Empire Before the American Revolution (15 vol 1936–70), comprehensive scholarly overview
    • Morris, Richard B., "The Spacious Empire of Lawrence Henry Gipson," William and Mary Quarterly Vol. 24, No. 2 (Apr., 1967), pp. 169–189 in JSTOR
  • Green, William A., "Caribbean Historiography, 1600–1900: The Recent Tide," Journal of Interdisciplinary History Vol. 7, No. 3 (Winter, 1977), pp. 509–530. in JSTOR
  • Greene, Jack P., Peripheries & Center: Constitutional Development in the Extended Polities of the British Empire & the United States, 1607–1788 (1986), 274 pages.
  • James, Lawrence, The Rise and Fall of the British Empire (1997)
  • Jernegan, Marcus Wilson, The American Colonies, 1492–1750 (1959)
  • Koot, Christian J., Empire at the Periphery: British Colonists, Anglo-Dutch Trade, and the Development of the British Atlantic, 1621–1713 (2011)
  • Knorr, Klaus E., British Colonial Theories 1570–1850 (1944)
  • Louis, William, Roger (general editor), The Oxford History of the British Empire, 5 vols (1998–99), vol. 1 "The Origins of Empire" ed. Nicholas Canny (1998)
  • McDermott, James, Martin Frobisher: Elizabethan privateer (Yale University Press, 2001).
  • Marshall, P. J., ed., The Cambridge Illustrated History of the British Empire (1996)
  • O'Shaughnessy, Andrew Jackson, Empire Divided: The American Revolution & the British Caribbean (2000) 357pp
  • Parker, Lewis K., English Colonies in the Americas (2003)
  • Payne, Edward John, Voyages of the Elizabethan Seamen to America (vol. 1, 1893; vol. 2, 1900)
  • Payne, Edward John, History of the New World called America (vol. 1, 1892; vol. 2, 1899)
  • Quinn, David B., Set Fair for Roanoke: voyages and colonies, 1584–1606 (1985)
  • Rose, J. Holland, A. P. Newton and E. A. Benians, gen. eds., The Cambridge History of the British Empire, 9 vols (1929–61); vol 1: "The Old Empire from the Beginnings to 1783" (online edition)
  • Sheridan, Richard B., "The Plantation Revolution and the Industrial Revolution, 1625–1775," Caribbean Studies Vol. 9, No. 3 (Oct., 1969), pp. 5–25. in JSTOR
  • Sitwell, Sidney Mary, Growth of the English Colonies (new ed. 2010)
  • Thomas, Robert Paul, "The Sugar Colonies of the Old Empire: Profit or Loss for Great Britain" in Economic History Review April 1968, Vol. 21 Issue 1, pp. 30–45.
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.

English Civil War

The English Civil War (1642–1651) was a series of armed conflicts and political machinations between Parliamentarians ("Roundheads") and Royalists ("Cavaliers") over, principally, the manner of England's governance. The first (1642–1646) and second (1648–1649) wars pitted the supporters of King Charles I against the supporters of the Long Parliament, while the third (1649–1651) saw fighting between supporters of King Charles II and supporters of the Rump Parliament. The war ended with the Parliamentarian victory at the Battle of Worcester on 3 September 1651.

The overall outcome of the war was threefold: the trial and execution of Charles I (1649); the exile of his son, Charles II (1651); and the replacement of English monarchy with, at first, the Commonwealth of England (1649–1653) and then the Protectorate under the personal rule of Oliver Cromwell (1653–1658) and subsequently his son Richard (1658–1659). In England, the monopoly of the Church of England on Christian worship was ended, while in Ireland the victors consolidated the established Protestant Ascendancy. Constitutionally, the wars established the precedent that an English monarch cannot govern without Parliament's consent, although the idea of Parliament as the ruling power of England was only legally established as part of the Glorious Revolution in 1688.

English overseas possessions in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms

Between 1639 and 1651 English overseas possessions were involved in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, a series of civil wars and wars that were fought in and between England, Scotland and in Ireland.

Exclusion Crisis

The Exclusion Crisis ran from 1679 through 1681 in the reign of King Charles II of England, Scotland and Ireland. Three Exclusion bills sought to exclude the King's brother and heir presumptive, James, Duke of York, from the thrones of England, Scotland and Ireland because he was Roman Catholic. None became law. Two new parties formed. The Tories were opposed to this exclusion while the "Country Party", who were soon to be called the Whigs, supported it.

History of Buckinghamshire

Although the name Buckinghamshire is Anglo Saxon in origin meaning The district (scire) of Bucca's home (referring to Buckingham in the north of the county) the name has only been recorded since about the 12th century. The historic county itself has been in existence since it was a subdivision of the kingdom of Wessex in the 10th century. It was formed out of about 200 communities that could between them fund a castle in Buckingham, to defend against invading Danes.

History of Cambridgeshire

This article concerns the History of Cambridgeshire. For other information on the region, see Cambridgeshire.The English county of Cambridgeshire has a long history.

History of Essex

Essex is a county in the East of England which originated as the ancient Kingdom of Essex and one of the seven kingdoms, or heptarchy, that went on to form the Kingdom of England.

History of Leicestershire

The first recorded use of the name Laegrecastrescir was in 1807. In the Anglo-Saxon period the area was originally in the territory of the Middle Angles and later Mercia. After the Danish invasions it was included in the Danelaw, whose boundary ran on the south-western boundary of the shire.

Leicestershire was recorded in the Domesday Book in four wapentakes: Guthlaxton, Framland, Goscote and Gartree. These later became hundreds, with the division of Goscote into West Goscote and East Goscote, and the addition of Sparkenhoe hundred.

Leicestershire's external boundaries have changed little since the Domesday Survey. The Measham-Donisthorpe exclave of Derbyshire has been exchanged for the Netherseal/Overseal area, and the urban expansion of Market Harborough has caused Little Bowdon, previously in Northamptonshire to be annexed.

History of Rutland

The history of the English county of Rutland, located in the East Midlands. It was reconstituted as a district of Leicestershire in 1974 by the Local Government Act 1972. This district was given unitary authority status on 1 April 1997.

History of Suffolk

This article describes the history of Suffolk, the English county.

Minister of the Crown

Minister of the Crown is a formal constitutional term used in Commonwealth realms to describe a minister to the reigning sovereign or their viceroy. The term indicates that the minister serves at His/Her Majesty's pleasure, and advises the sovereign or viceroy on how to exercise the Crown prerogatives relative to the minister's department or ministry.

Pale of Calais

The Pale of Calais (French: le Calaisis) was a historical region in France that was controlled by the monarchs of England following the Battle of Crécy in 1346 and the subsequent siege. Pale is an archaic English term for "area, jurisdiction". The capture by the English is the subject of Auguste Rodin's 1889 sculpture The Burghers of Calais. In 1558, the expanding Kingdom of France annexed the Pale of Calais in the aftermath of the Siege of Calais.

The region was represented in the Parliament of England by members sitting for the Calais constituency.

Privy Council of England

The Privy Council of England, also known as His (or Her) Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, was a body of advisers to the sovereign of the Kingdom of England. Its members were often senior members of the House of Lords and the House of Commons, together with leading churchmen, judges, diplomats and military leaders.

The Privy Council of England was a powerful institution, advising the Sovereign on the exercise of the Royal prerogative and on the granting of Royal charters. It issued executive orders known as Orders in Council and also had judicial functions.

Proprietary governor

A proprietary governor is an individual authorized to govern a proprietary colony. Under the proprietary system, individuals or companies were granted commercial charters by the monarchs of the Kingdom of England to establish colonies. These proprietors then selected the governors and other officials in the colony. This system was used to establish several colonies on the island of Newfoundland. The provinces of Maryland, Carolina and several other colonies in the Americas were initially established under the proprietary system.

These colonies were distinct from crown colonies in that they were commercial enterprises established under authority of the crown. Proprietary governors had legal responsibilities over the colony as well as responsibilities to shareholders to ensure the security of their investments.

The proprietary system was a mostly inefficient system, in that the proprietors were, for the most part, like absentee landlords. Many never even visited the colonies they owned. By the early 18th century, nearly all of the proprietary colonies had either surrendered their charters to the crown to become royal colonies, or else had significant limitations placed on them by the crown.

Run (island)

Run (also known as Pulau Run, Pulo Run, Puloroon, or Rhun) is one of the smallest islands of the Banda Islands, which are a part of Moluccas, Indonesia. It is about 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) long and less than 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) wide. According to historian John Keay, Run is comparable in its significance in the history of the English overseas possessions as Runnymede is to British constitutional history.

Slave states and free states

In the history of the United States, a slave state was a U.S. state in which the practice of slavery was legal, and a free state was one in which slavery was prohibited or being legally phased out. Historically, in the 17th century, slavery was established in a number of English overseas possessions. In the 18th century, it existed in all the British colonies of North America. In the Thirteen Colonies, the distinction between slave and free states began during the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783). Slavery became a divisive issue and was the primary cause of the American Civil War. The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, ratified in 1865, abolished slavery throughout the United States, and the distinction between free and slave states ended.

South Falkland

South Falkland was an English colony in Newfoundland established by Henry Cary, 1st Viscount Falkland, in 1623 on territory in the Avalon Peninsula including the former colony of Renews. Cary appointed Sir Francis Tanfield, his wife's cousin, to be the colony's first Proprietary Governor. Tanfield founded the colony of South Falkland at Renews in 1623. It was still in existence by 1626 but ultimately failed. The settlers are thought to have returned to England or Ireland by 1630, and Cary granted much of his land to Sir Henry Salisbury who had been Cary's only known investor.

Timeline of British history (1600–99)

The concept of "British history" began to emerge in the 1600s , largely thanks to the attempts of King James II to assert that the Union of the Crowns of 1603 had created a Kingdom of Great Britain, which in fact did not come into existence until a century later. The governance of England and Scotland remained separate until 1707, and until then in most ways the Scots were excluded from sharing in the English overseas possessions.

This page presents a timeline of events in English and Scottish history from 1600 until 1699.

1603 – Death of Queen Elizabeth I on 24 March

1603 England – James VI of Scotland crowned King of England (as James I of England)

1603 England – Plague

1605 England and Scotland – on 5 November, the Gunpowder plot is uncovered, in which Guy Fawkes and other catholic associates attempted to blow up the king, James VI and I and the Parliament of England.

1618 England – Execution of Sir Walter Raleigh

1625 England and Scotland – Death of James VI and I on 27 March

1639 England and Scotland – At war until 1644 in what become known as the Bishops' Wars

1640 England – The Long Parliament summoned.

1642 England – English Civil War begins (see Timeline of the English Civil War)

1652 England – Tea arrives in Britain

1666 England – The Great Fire of London ravages the city, 2–5 September.

1688 England – The Glorious Revolution replaces James II with William III

1689 England and Scotland – The Bill of Rights 1689 and the Claim of Right Act 1689 are enacted by the Parliament of England and Parliament of Scotland

Ultramarine (disambiguation)

Ultramarine means "beyond the ocean" and is the name of a color pigment.

Ultramarine may also refer to:

Ultramarine (album), the fourth studio album (2013) by Young Galaxy

Ultramarine (band), a British electronic and dance band (1989–present)

Ultramarine (novel), a book by Malcolm Lowry from 1933

Ultramarine (poetry collection), a book by Raymond Carver from 1986

Ultramarine Corps, an Authority-esque superteam in DC Comics

Nigritude ultramarine, a search engine optimization contest held in 2004And Ultramarines may refer to:

"The Ultramarines", a fictional chapter of Space Marines (Warhammer 40,000)

Ultramarines: A Warhammer 40,000 Movie, a film set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe

Ultra Marines, an introductory board game set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe

Ultramarines, supporters of FC Girondins de Bordeaux

Royal Houses
Colonial conflicts involving the English/British Empire

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