The original 13 states included the northern states of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Connecticut and New York and the southern states of South Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia. The remaining five states were Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and Maryland. These states started as colonies of England in the New World before gaining their independence in the American Revolutionary War.
The 13 colonies declared their independence from England on July 4, 1776. Following the Revolutionary War, the former colonies formed a confederacy bound by the Articles of Confederation. This document proved to be insufficient for an effective central government. Therefore, the former colonies sent delegates to the Constitutional Convention 1787 to draft and agree upon a framework for the new country.
Although signed in September of that year, the U.S. Constitution needed to be ratified by at least nine of the 13 former colonies. The first former colony to ratify the U.S. Constitution, Delaware, became the first official state in the country on Dec. 7, 1787. Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut and Georgia quickly followed suit. New Hampshire became the ninth official state, ratifying the document on June 21, 1788. The final and 13th state to ratify the document, Rhode Island, held out until May 29, 1790.