Charter of Carolina

Picture of King Charles II

Picture of King Charles II

This article on the Charter of Carolina provides facts and information about the establishment of the Carolina Colony:

  • What was Charter of Carolina?
  • What was its relevance to the early colonization of America?
  • Names on the 1663 Charter of Carolina
  • Educational resource for teachers and kids about the Charter of Carolina
North Carolina ColonySouth Carolina Colony
Lords ProprietorsCharter of Carolina Text
American Colonies IndexFirst 13 Colonies

History of the Colonization of America and the original 13 Colonies

The Charter of Carolina: The Establishment and Settlement of the 13 original colonies

Charter of Carolina
This article contains fast facts and information about the Charter of Carolina and the establishment and founding of the Carolina colony following the 1660 restoration of the English monarchy and King Charles II. What was Charter of Carolina? The Charter of Carolina was issued by King Charles II in order to grant land in America to eight men, selected by the king, as a reward for their faithful support in his efforts to regain the throne of England. He granted the eight men, who were called Lords Proprietors or simply Proprietors, massive amounts of lands of the American colony of Carolina. The 1663 Charter of Carolina consisted of four pages and marked the beginning of organized, representative government in the province refer to Proprietary Colonies and the
Charter of Carolina Text.

The Charter of Carolina - Background History
The turbulent history of England resulted in the appointment of the Lords Protectors and the 1663 Charter of Carolina. King James I of England died in 1625 and was succeeded by Charles I. King Charles I reigned until 1649, when he was beheaded and England came under the control of Parliamentarians led by Oliver Cromwell. The rule of the Parliamentarians lasted until 1660, when King Charles II, the son of the beheaded king, was restored to the throne of England helped by many Royalists supporters. King Charles II granted the Carolina Charter in 1663 to the eight Lords Proprietors in appreciation and to reward their help and faithful support.

English Courtiers

English Royalist Courtiers

The Charter of Carolina - Names of the Lords Proprietors
The names of the eight Lords Proprietors detailed in the 1663 Charter of Carolina were:

  • Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon
  • George Monck, 1st Duke of Albemarle
  • William Craven, 1st Earl of Craven
  • John Berkeley, 1st Baron Berkeley of Stratton
  • Anthony Ashley Cooper, 1st Earl of Shaftesbury
  • Sir George Carteret
  • Sir William Berkeley
  • Sir John Colleton  (1608–1666)

The eight men, and their heirs and assigns, were identified by the charter as “the true and absolute Lords Proprietors” of Carolina.

Who were the Lords Proprietors on the 1663 Charter of Carolina?
The 1663 Charter of Carolina of 1663 issued by King Charles II described the eight men, the Lords Proprietors as:

"...our right trusty, and right well beloved cousins and counsellors, Edward Earl of Clarendon, our high chancellor of England, and George Duke of Albermarle, master of our horse and captain general of all our forces, our right trusty and well beloved William Lord Craven, John Lord Berkley, our right trusty and well beloved counsellor, Anthony Lord Ashley, chancellor of our exchequer, Sir George Carteret, knight and baronet, vice chamberlain of our household, and our trusty and well beloved Sir William Berkley, knight, and Sir John Colleton, knight and baronet."

The Charter of Carolina
The government of Carolina was operated under the Charter of Carolina gave the eight men the authority which nearly equalled the independence of the king himself. They were conferred “full and absolute power...for the good and happy government of the said province”. The actual government of these colonies consisted of:

  • A governor
  • A council, on which half of the councillors were appointed by the Lords Proprietors
  • An elected assembly

They had the power to enact laws and decide punishments.

Charter of Carolina document

Charter of Carolina document

The Lands granted in the Charter of Carolina
The 1663 Charter of Carolina granted the Lords Proprietors all of the land from the southern border of the Virginia Colony to Florida, which had the effect of including the existing Spanish settlement at St. Augustine. The charter also granted all the land, between these northerly and southerly bounds, from the Atlantic, westward to the shores of the Pacific Ocean. The Lords Proprietors soon realized that that valuable to the North had not been included under the terms of the 1663 Charter of Carolina. They appealed to the King to confer the land in question to them, and in 1665 an amendment was made to the Charter of Carolina " enlarge our said grant unto them.”

The Charter of Carolina - Freedom of Religion

The Lords Proprietors named in the 1663 Charter of Carolina framed a system of laws which they called the Grand Model or Fundamental Constitutions and was based on the English feudal system. The colonists rejected this archaic model and the Lords Proprietors were unable to enforce their laws and compromises were reached with the colonists. However, no compromise was necessary in respect of the provisions that related to religion, or to be more precise, Freedom of Religion. Every one was free to worship God in the way he thought right. Because there was religious freedom people of all religions and from different countries in Europe settled in Carolina. Refer to Religion in the Colonies

The Charter of Carolina

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