What Are the Rivers That Crossed Through the 13 Colonies?

While no one river crosses through all of the original 13 colonies, there are several that flow through more than one state, such as the Connecticut River. Some other major rivers that flow through multiple states include the Potomac River and the Delaware River.

The largest river in New England is the Connecticut River, stretching for over 400 miles from New Hampshire through Massachusetts and Connecticut to New York. Colonists originally used this river for fish because the surrounding land made for poor farming. The Delaware River also cuts through much of the original 13 colonies. Starting in New York, it travels 330 miles through Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware to the Atlantic Ocean.

The Potomac River is a historically important body of water stretching from Maryland and Virginia to Pennsylvania. Colonists once used this river as a major shipping route and plantation owners once grew tobacco along the river, but the slash-and-burn practice of farming added silt to the river. This caused the Potomac to become too shallow for many shipping vessels. George Washington chose to establish the United States capital of Washington D.C. on the Potomac River because it was a major trading hub as well as an important source of drinking water.