REGION 2: HISTORY: (The Original 13) Fun Facts


Virginia * New York * Massachusetts * Maryland / Washington D.C. * Rhode Island * Connecticut * New Hampshire * Delaware * North Carolina * South Carolina * New Jersey * Pennsylvania * Georgia 

New England (Region 2) is one of my favorite areas to visit!  There is so much history to learn, and so much incredible scenery and so many Natural Wonders to enjoy – especially if you can get there in the fall!

 If you are traveling to the New England states (Region 2) to get a feeling for the history there, most of what you’ll find is historical information and sights dating from the early 1600’s to the early 1800’s.


As we said, there’s lots else to discover here, but for now we’ll focus on the history that New England is most known for.

Here are a few things to know about the original 13 colonies:

1). Not all the original 13 were referred to as part of ‘New England’.  Some were called Middle Colonies and some were the Lower Colonies.

2). Even though each colony was unique and independent, they all fell under the authority of the British Crown and all individuals were British subjects.

3). The original colonies all fell under 1 of the 3 organizational types of government:

          a). Royal Charter: these were initiated and governed by officials acting on behalf of the King of England

        b). Proprietary Colony: Proprietary colonies were ones granted by the English Crown to one or more proprietors who had full governing rights. A proprietor was a person granted governmental powers over a piece of land. These colonies were run under a colonial charter agreement, which was reviewed by the ruling King.

        c). Charter Colony: these were the Colonies with written contracts between the British King and the American colonists, defining the share each should have in the government, and were not to be changed without the consent of both parties.



-By 1750, North America was shared by Great Britain, France and Spain not to mention over 500 Native American tribes.

-Great Britain controlled the original 13 colonies as well as present-day Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.

-France controlled what is now the Canadian province of Québec, all the areas around the Great Lakes and everything from the west edges of the original 13 colonies to the Mississippi River all the way south to the Gulf of Mexico.

-Spain controlled what is now Florida, all of present-day Mexico, the Caribbean Islands, Present-day Grenada, what we now know as West Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Southern California’s Baja Peninsula, Southwest Colorado and South East Utah.



*1607: First English Colony: Jamestown, VA

*1619: House of Burgesses elected

*1620: Pilgrims arrive at Plymouth

*1621: The first Thanksgiving

*1628: New England Company established

*1640: The first book in North America is printed

*1647: The Constitution of Rhode Island is drafted separating church and state

*1732: Benjamin Franklin begins publishing the Poor Richard’s Almanac

*1735: Freedom of the Press is established

*1752: Begin work on the Liberty Bell

*1760: England takes possession of French lands in America

*1764-1767: Tax Acts by England enrage Colonists

*1765: First Steam Engine built

*1770: Boston Massacre

*1773: Boston Tea Party

*1774: Philadelphia becomes the 1st Capitol of the new republic

*1775: Paul Revere’s famous ride

*1775: Revolutionary War begins

*1776: American Declaration of Independence

*1777: Articles of Confederation completed

*1781: Britain surrenders at Yorktown

*1783: Americans win their independence and become the United States of America with the signing of the Treaty of Paris.

*1787: Signing of the Constitution of the U.S.

*1789: George Washington becomes the 1st President

*1789: James Madison writes the Bill of Rights

*1791: A new constitution is penned

*1792: The Dollar is introduced as the currency of the U.S.

*1794: The Cotton Gin is patented

*1800: The U.S. Capitol moves to Washington D.C. John Adams is the 1st president to reside in Washington D.C.

*1800: Thomas Jefferson is elected 3rd president of the U.S.



 1).Virginia Motto: ‘Thus Always to Tyrants’

r2h3 Williamsburg, VA

*Established: 1607 as a Royal Colony in the Lower Colonies

*First town: Jamestown

*Funded by: the Virginia Company of London

*Purpose: Group of men sent to find gold and see what other treasures there might be.  Initially not intended to be a permanent settlement

*Religion: Anglican

*Became wealthy with the cultivation of Tobacco


2). New York:  

*First settled by the Dutch in 1624 as a Royal Colony in the Middle Colonies

*Initially called: New Amsterdam

*Taken by the English and renamed New York in 1664 after the Duke of York

*First Capitol of the United States: 1788

*Initial wealth came from: shipping, fur trade, mercantile and agriculture

*Initial Religion: Socially tolerant Protestants including Dutch Reform, Lutheran, German Reform and Quakers. Tolerant of Jews and Catholics


3). Massachusetts:  Motto: ‘By the Sword we seek Peace, but Peace only Under Liberty’

*Established as Plymouth Colony in 1620 as a Charter Colony in the New England Colonies

*Became Massachusetts Bay Colony: 1630

*Religion: Puritans (who believed that God was sending them to a place where they could practice their faith and live their lives according to the scriptures and therefore reform the Anglican Church)

*Economy: shipbuilding, fishing, fur, and lumber

*Known for: The Mayflower and the landing of Pilgrims

r2h4                                                                                                             Mayflower

4). Maryland: Motto: ‘Manly Deeds, Womanly Words’

*Established: 1633 as a Charter Colony in the Lower Colonies by Cecil Calvert (2nd lord of Baltimore)

*Initially named: Marie Land after the wife of the king then changed to Maryland

*Settled by: 200 Catholics arriving on the ships, Dove and Ark

*1649: Maryland Tolerance Act was passed guaranteeing religious freedom as long as it was Christian.

*1688: Catholicism was outlawed until after the Revolutionary War due to the “Glorious Revolution” of 1688 in England which established the Protestant faith

*Early 1700’s: 40% of Maryland’s population were slaves and convicts

*Major income: Tobacco


5). Rhode Island:  Motto: ‘Hope’


*Established: 1636 as a Charter Colony in the New England Colonies

*Called Rhode Island because of a comparison made to the island of Rhodes in the Aegean Sea by an Italian explorer in 1524

*Founded by: Roger Williams (who was exiled from Massachusetts for his liberal religious   views) who guaranteed religious freedom                                                                                        and called it: Providence Plantation

*Founded on land sold to Williams by the Narragansett tribe

*Known for: making silverware, jewelry, textiles and other manufactured goods

*1776: First colony to renounce allegiance to King George III of England

*1777: Only colony to refuse participation in the creation of the U.S. Constitution and the last to ratify it


6). Connecticut:  Motto: ‘He who Transplanted Sustains’

r2h6*Established: 1636 as a Charter Colony in the New England Colonies by Puritans from the Massachusetts Bay Colony led by Thomas Hooker and John Haynes

*The Fundamental Orders 1639: The first constitution to be adopted by the American colonies assuring the right of free men to elect their public officials.

*Dominant Industries: Machine manufacturing, guns and other arms and textiles

*Nickname: ‘Land of Steady Habits’


7). New HampshireMotto: ‘Live Free or Die’

*Established: 1622 as a Royal Colony in the New England Colonies given to John Mason and Ferdinando Gorges as a land grant from England

*Primarily established for: Financial gain through the export of fish and wood

*1623: Settlers build forts and fish processing buildings

*1641: Massachusetts claims the territory and it becomes Upper Province

*1741: New Hampshire gains its independence and elects its own governor

*Initial religion: Puritans but the Congregational Church eventually grew out of the Puritan Church and was formally established in New Hampshire.


8). Delaware:  Motto:’Liberty and Independence’

*Established: 1638 as a Proprietary Colony in the Middle Colonies

*First settled by the Dutch in 1631 and then by the Swedes in 1637

*Established as a trading post at Fort Christina (now in Wilmington). The New Sweden Company intended to actually bring settlers to their outpost and begin a colony.

*1698-1699, the descendants of early Swedish colonists constructed Old Swedes Church (also known as Holy Trinity Church), which is one of the oldest houses of worship in America still in use.

*1787: Delaware becomes the 1st state to ratify the new Constitution of the United States, thus getting its nickname – ‘The First State’ r2h11


9). North Carolina:  Motto: ‘To Be rather than to Seem’

*1584-1587: Sir Walter Raleigh’s ‘Lost colony of Roanoke’ along with Virginia Dare (first child born of English descent in the New World) establishes and then disappears

*Established: 1653 as a Royal Colony in the Lower Colonies

*Settled by: Virginian Colonists as a haven for religiously discontented settlers

*1663: King Charles II grants a charter as establishes the borders of Northern Carolina

*Major exports: tobacco and cotton

*1712: North Carolina and South Carolina separate

*1776: North Carolina was the first colony that instructed its delegates to vote in favor of separation with England at the Continental Congress


 10). South Carolina:  Motto: ‘While I Breathe I Hope’

*Established: 1663 as a Royal Colony in the Lower Colonies by separation from North Carolina

*1670: First English settlement at Albemarle Point.  Many of the first settlers came from Barbados in the Caribbean

*Major exports: cotton and tobacco

*By 1730 2/3rds of South Carolina’s population was of African descent.

*Initial religion: French Huguenots, Anglicans

*1786: First Golf in the New World established on Harleston Green with shipment of golf balls and clubs from Scotland

*1861: South Carolina is the first state to succeed from the Union; first shots of the Civil War fired on Ft Sumter

*The only commercial tea plantation in the 48 states is on Wadmalaw Island, near Charleston, South Carolina.

*The palmetto tree has been an important icon of South Carolina since the American Revolutionary War. The story goes that the British attacked a fort on Sullivan’s Island, (near Charleston) and the cannonballs bounced off the spongy palmetto logs used to build the fort’s exterior wall.


11). New Jersey:  Motto: ‘Liberty and Prosperity’

*Established: 1664 as a Royal Colony in the Middle Colonies

*Religion: Toleration for all faiths including Catholics, Jews, Lutherans, and Quakers.

*Main resources: agricultural land, timber, iron ore, coal, and furs.

*Main exports: livestock, rice, wheat, indigo, rice, grain and items made from iron ore such as: tools, kettles, nails, plows, and nails

*1664-1702 the New Jersey Colony was divided into East Jersey and West Jersey. Each had their own constitution and governing agents. The border was never very firmly established and was often in dispute.

*1702: East Jersey and West Jersey became a single royal colony

r2h7 New Jersey Congress


12). Pennsylvania:  Motto: ‘Virtue, Liberty and Independence’

*Established: 1681-1682 as a Proprietary Colony under a Charter in the Middle Colonies

*Founded by William Penn as a haven for Quakers

*Governed Delaware until 1703

*Main resources: big food producing region that included corn, wheat and livestock including beef and pork. Other industries included the production of iron ore, lumber, textiles, furs and shipbuilding

*1717-1790: Pennsylvania sees extensive immigration including Germans, Welsh, Scotch-Irish, French, Dutch, Swedes, Jews and Africa

*Site of the 1st and 2nd Continental Congresses in 1774 & 1775

*1790-1800: Philadelphia serves as the nation’s second capitolr2h9

*Home of Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell

*Site of the writing and signing of both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S, Constitution

*1780: The Pennsylvania Gradual Abolition Act was the first attempt to abolish slavery in the colonies.

*1863: Location of the town of Gettysburg – site of the Battle of Gettysburg during the Civil War and Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address


13). Georgia:  Motto: ‘Wisdom, Justice and Moderation’

*Late 1500’s: Modest Spanish presence centering on Catholic mission work

*Established: 1732-1733 at Savannah as a Royal Colony in the Lower Colonies by social reformer James Oglethorpe, and the only colony to be governed remotely by a Board of Trustees in London for the first 20 years

*Boundaries initially included the present-day states of Alabama and Mississippi

*Initially conceived as a refuge for indebted prisoners and the poor, but ultimately established to protect South Carolina and other southern colonies from Spanish invasion through Florida.

*The only colony to prohibit slavery from the beginning – along with rum, lawyers and Roman Catholics

*Original producer of peanuts, pecans and peaches, and Vidalia onions

*Oglethorpe’s original Utopian plan for all of Georgia using Savannah as the model:  Oglethorpe laid out the city of Savannah around a series of squares and laid out the streets in a grid pattern. Each square had a small community of colonists living around it and had separate lots dedicated to community buildings as well as a park in the center. Each free man who came to Savannah was given 50 acres of land. This included a homestead lot in the city of Savannah, a five-acre garden lot outside of the city, and a 45-acre farm lot beyond the garden lots. The colonists generally lived on the city lot, so they could take advantage of the safety of the city, and they worked their garden and farm lots for food and other resources which were all shared equally.

*1864: During the Civil War, ‘Sherman’s March to the Sea’ from Atlanta to Savannah was a military campaign to intimidate Georgians into abandoning their cause



D). Here are a few of the significant and/or interesting events that have happened in New England since 1800:

*1812: War of 1812 Americans are victorious over the British as they attempt to control the U.S. Navy.

*1814: British army burns down the White House in Washingto

*1815: European trade reopens

*1817-1825: Erie Canal links New York to the Great Lake

*1818: Northern border of the U.S. and Canada is established

*1830: Congress passes the Indian Removal Act

*1851: Isaac Singer from NY invents the sewing machine

*1857: Elisha Otis installs the first passenger elevator in NY

*1858: First transatlantic cable from the U.S. to Britain is laid

*1861-1864: Civil War is fought as slave states cede from the Union

*1869: Transcontinental Union-Pacific completed in U.S.

*1877: Thomas Edison invents the first phonograph

*1882: In Boston, Gilbert & Sullivan’s Iolanthe becomes the first electrically illuminated theatrical production in the country

*1883: Brooklyn Bridge is completed

*1885: The Statue of Liberty arrives in NY from France

*1886: Coca-Cola is produced in Georgia

*1888: George Eastman perfects the Kodak camera

*1892: Ellis Island Immigration Office opens in NY

*1897: Underground Railroad system opens in Boston

*1898: Boroughs in NY unite to form Greater New York

*1903: Flight of the Wright Bros at Kitty Hawk, NC

*1904: NY Subway opens

*1910: Thomas Edison demonstrates motion pictures

*1913: Federal Reserve Board founded in Washington D.C.

*1915: First U.S. transcontinental telephone link established between NY and San Francisco

*1917-1918: U.S. enters WW1

*1919: FBI established

*1920: U.S. Women granted the Vote

*1920: Prohibition introduced sparking rise of organized crime

*1920: World’s first radio program broadcast airs in    Pittsburgh

*1929: Wall Street Crash leads to global Depression

*1933: Prohibition repealed in Washington D.C.

*1941: U.S. enters WW2 after bombing of Pearl Harb

*1945: United Nations established in New York

*1945: Pres. Harry Truman drops the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan

*1957: First U.S. nuclear reactor opens in Pennsylvania

*1949: North Atlantic Treaty signed in Washington

*1961: U.S. launches first man into Space, Alan Shepard

*1963/1965: Protestors of racial discrimination march on Washington

*1964: U.S. joins war in Vietnam

*1964: ‘Great Society’ Civil Rights Act forbids segregation in public U.S. places

*1969: U.S. lands on the moon

*1973: U.S. and USSR sign agreement on the Prevention of Nuclear War in Washington D.C.

*1973: World Trade Center in NY becomes the highest building in the world at 1,349 feet high

*1974: Watergate scandal in Washington D.C.

*2002: Estimated worldwide internet users: 530 million

I hope that these bits of information will help you as you navigate your way through the massive amount of history to be learned here in the New England area!  The trick here is to try and learn a few things that you really find interesting and not let yourself slip into ‘information-overload coma!  Enjoy!!! 





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