Who Gives the Authority to Colonize in a Charter Colony?

Charter colonies, one of three types of colonies created in Colonial America, were granted their charter by the sovereign power of their governing nation. These colonies were self-governed and largely autonomous.

Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island were all created as charter colonies, running their own government and appointing their own officials. They chose a governing structure focused on local church meetinghouses, using town meetings to conduct most business. The three charter colonies fought to maintain their high level of independence.

In 1685, all three were converted into royal colonies under Sir Edmund Andros when King James II ascended the throne. Captain Joseph Wadsworth stole Connecticut's charter, hiding it for protection in the famous Charter Oak. This ensured Connecticut regained charter status after the 1688 Glorious Revolution. Rhode Island regained their charter through smart politicking. Massachusetts, however, was denied a new charter because they revolted and arrested Andros in 1689.