The Thirteen Colonies

Photo by Susan Zakovec


The thirteen colonies are distinguished by regions, based somewhat on shared cultural and economic characteristics.

The New England Colonies

  • Connecticut
  • Rhode Island
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire

The Middle Colonies

  • Delaware
  • Pennsylvania
  • New Jersey
  • New York

The Southern Colonies

  • Maryland
  • Virginia
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Georgia

While there were unsuccessful colonies to precede it, the first English-speaking colony to survive was at Jamestown, VA.

The last to settle was Georgia, by charter, in 1732. The list below includes the thirteen colonies.


  • Named in honor of Elizabeth, the Virgin Queen, the land that was called Virginia was the site of some the New World's earliest English speaking colonies, including the "Lost Colony of Roanoke." Jamestown, Virginia, was settled when the London Company sponsored settlers in 1607 on the James River.


  • On September 16, 1620, the Mayflower set sail from Plymouth carrying 102 passengers. They settled in an area they named Plymouth Harbor.

New Hampshire

  • In 1623 English settlers established a fishing village near the moth of the Piscataqua River. 


  • Founded in 1633 by Lord Biltmore as a refuge for English Catholics.


  • Dutch traders began settling in the area of Hartford in 1633.

Rhode Island

  • In 1635, Roger Williams was driven from Salem for speaking out for religious and political freedom. He settled in an area now called Providence.


    • In 1638, Peter Minuet led settlers to establish on the Delaware River under a grant from the New Sweden Company.

    North Carolina

    • Founded in 1653 by Virginia colonists, the area was first a proprietary colony. 

    South Carolina

    • The southern part of Carolina was at first a province. North and South Carolina officially divided in 1712.

      New Jersey

      • This colony was originally settled by the Dutch, but established as a colony in 1664 by Lord Berkeley and Sir George Carteret.

      New York

      • Originally called New Amsterdam, the area of New York was settled early by the Dutch West India Company. The British gained control of the settlement in 1674.


      • In 1682, William Penn was granted a charter for the area known as Pennsylvania.


      • Georgia was formed from the Southern area of the land known as Carolina as a buffer colony to protect the people of South Carolina. In 1732 King George II granted the land to James Edward Oglethorpe.


      All About the Colonial Governments

      Chart of the thirteen colonies

      American History Timeline