State Land Claims

Declaration of Independence

State Land Claims - Colonial Government
The Declaration of Independence

This article about  the  State Land Claims provides information about the events in America surrounding the War of Independence, the Articles of Confederation and the change from Colonies to States

  • State Land Claims of the colonies
  • The Articles of Confederation and the  State Land Claims
  • Fast facts and information about State Land Claims and disputes
  • Interesting information and facts about Government and the State Land Claims
Northwest Ordinance 1787Colonial Congress & Government
Colonies to StatesFirst 13 Colonies
American Colonies Index

History of the Colonization of America and the original 13 Colonies

State Land Claims: The Establishment, Government and Settlement of the 13 original colonies

State Land Claims
King George III refused to discuss the petition that set forth the views of the people and the  Continental Congress, realized that reconciliation with Great Britain was impossible. Matters quickly escalated and on April 18, 1775 the American War of Independence began. On May 15, 1776 Congress advised all the colonies to form governments for themselves. They adopted constitutions, and by doing so turned themselves from British colonies into independent states.

Articles of Confederation - State Land Claims
While the colonies were gradually turning themselves into the states, Congress was trying to bind them into a union by means of a general constitution called the "Articles of Confederation." Approval of the ratification of the Articles of Confederation would bring the United States into being as a united, sovereign and national state. However, some of states had land claims they wanted recognized and refused to ratify the Articles of Confederation until these state land claims were settled.


Map British North America 1763 - 1775

Map British North America 1763 - 1775

State Land Claims
The state land claims were as follows:

  • State Land Claims: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, claimed that their "from sea to sea" charters gave them lands between the mountains and the Mississippi River
  • State Land Claims: New York claimed that they had bought the Native Indian title to land in the Ohio valley
  • State Land Claims: The other six states consisting of Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland did not have "from sea to sea" charters, and so had no claims to western lands

Objections to State Land Claims
Three states without land claims, consisting of New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland, objected to the state land claims. They argued that the claims of their sister states were invalid and they refused to adopt the Articles of Confederation unless the land that was being claimed was given to Congress to be used to pay for the cost of the Revolutionary War. The reasons for the objections that were given by New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland were:

  • The Mississippi valley had been discovered, explored, settled, and owned by France and therefore the state land claims for this area were invalid
  • Great Britain had never owned any land in the Mississippi valley until France ceded the country in 1763 following their defeat in the French Indian War when the Peace Treaty of Paris 1763 was signed and Great Britain received all French lands east of the Mississippi River
  • When the lands were passed to Great Britain the King had issued the Proclamation of 1763 that drew the "Proclamation Line," turning the Mississippi valley into Indian country, and so cut off any claim of the colonies in consequence of British ownership
  • The objecting states concluded that the western lands were therefore the property of the King - not the colonies

The objectors further argued that now that the states were in arms against him, his lands ought to be seized by Congress and used for the benefit of all the states.

State Land Claims - Maryland stands firm
For three years the land claiming states refused to be convinced by these objections and arguments. However, Maryland stood fast and made it clear that they were determined not to adopt the Articles of Confederation until their demands were complied with.  The land claiming states began to yield.

  • In February, 1780, New York ceded her claims to Congress
  • In January, 1781, Virginia gave up her claim to the country north of the Ohio River

Note: In 1784 Massachusetts ceded her strip of land in the west, following the example set by New York and Virginia.

State Land Claims are Settled

Maryland had now carried her point, and on March 1, 1781, her delegates signed the Articles of Confederation. As all the other states had ratified the Articles of Confederation, this act on the part of Maryland made them law, and March 2, 1781, Congress met for the first time under a form of government that the 13 states were pledged to obey.

Approval of the ratification of the Articles of Confederation brought into being the United States as a united, sovereign and national state - America had become the United States. The Congress of the Confederation then passed the Northwest Ordinance on July 13, 1787 which provided for the rapid and orderly expansion of the new nation across the continent.

State Land Claims

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State Land Claims are Settled - Dates of Ratification Articles of Confederation
The dates of ratification are given as follows:

State Land Claims

Connecticut Colony
 February 12, 1778
Delaware Colony
 February 1, 1779
Georgia Colony
 February 1, 1779
Maryland Colony
 March 1, 1781
 March 10, 1778
New Jersey Colony
 November 19, 1778
New York Colony
 February 6, 1778
New Hampshire Colony
 March 4, 1778
North Carolina Colony
 April 5, 1778
Pennsylvania Colony
 March 5, 1778
Rhode Island Colony
 February 9, 1778
South Carolina Colony
 February 5, 1778
Virginia Colony
 December 16, 1777

State Land Claims
We hope that this article providing an overview of the State Land Claims will assist in your studies or homework and that you will enjoy watching the videos featuring many pictures of the colonial history. A great educational resource for kids on the subject of State Land Claims. The following articles provide facts and information about the War for Independence.

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