The modern incarnation of the Episcopal Church derives from the Church of England, which was officially founded in the 16th century. British colonization caused the establishment of the Church of England on every continent.
The Church of England's beginnings date back to the second century, when merchants and other travelers first brought Christianity to England. In its current form, the church began during the English Reformation of the 16th century, when royal supremacy was established and the authority of the papacy was repudiated. During the era of British Colonization, newly founded churches in the colonies gained their independence, but retained connections with the mother church in the Anglican Communion.