The original 13 colonies were established by a range of people, though they were gifted or chartered by the King of England, from the Puritans and London Company to English aristocrats. The first two colonies, Virginia and Massachusetts, were established by the London Company and the Plymouth Company. King James I of England originally gave the charter to the two companies in 1606.Continue Reading
The London Company was the first to establish a colony in 1607 at Jamestown, Virginia. The Plymouth company, let by the Puritans, established Plymouth in 1620 in the colony that eventually became Massachusetts.
The Puritans branched off to form the colonies of Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Hampshire. John Wheelwright, a Puritan and adventure, founded the third colony New Hampshire in 1623. The Puritans who established the Connecticut and Rhode Island colonies, founded in 1635 and 1636 respectively, wanted less or more religious restriction. For instance, Thomas Hooker and his compatriots founded New Haven, Connecticut because they believed Massachusetts was no longer pious enough. Roger Williams and his group believed Massachusetts too pious and founded Rhode Island.
Meanwhile, the colonists in Jamestown, Virginia, started growing tobacco and became known as a tobacco colony. With this success, Lord Baltimore turned the 12 million acres giving to him by the King of England into Maryland in 1632 where tobacco was also farmed.
The New Sweden Company founded Delaware in 1638, with North and South Carolina following in 1653 and 1663 by aristocratic nobles. New Jersey and New York were both founded in 1664 by Lord Berkeley and the Duke of York. William Penn, a Quaker and his followers, founded Pennsylvania in 1682. Fifty years later, James Oglethorpe founded Georgia as a way to separate the English from Florida's Spanish colonies.Learn more about US History