Thirteen Colonies

Puritan Colonists

The Thirteen Colonies

This article on the first Thirteen Colonies of Colonial America provides facts and information about:

  • Trade in the Thirteen Colonies
  • Religion in the Thirteen Colonies
  • Government in the Thirteen Colonies
  • Economic activity in the Thirteen Colonies
  • The differences between the New England, Middle and Southern Colonies
American Colonies Index
First 13 Colonies

History of the Colonization of America and the original 13 Colonies

The Thirteen Colonies: The Establishment and Settlement of the 13 original colonies

Names of the first Thirteen Colonies
The settlement of the First Thirteen Colonies was located on the Atlantic coast of North America. What were the names of the First Thirteen Colonies? The names of the first Thirteen Colonies are detailed on the following list:

  • Virginia
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • New Hampshire
  • North Carolina
  • Georgia
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts (included Maine)
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina

The First Thirteen Colonies were classified into three groups as the New England colonies, the Middle colonies and the Southern colonies. Each of the Thirteen Colonies had specific economic, social, and political developments that were unique to their regions and locations in Colonial America


Map of Thirteen Colonies

Map of the Thirteen Colonies
New England Colonies
Middle Colonies            
Southern Colonies       

Mayflower in Plymouth Harbor

The Mayflower in Plymouth Harbor, refer to the Mayflower Compact

The Thirteen Colonies Chart
The Thirteen Colonies chart shows the New England, Middle and Southern Colonies:

Thirteen Colonies Chart

New England ColoniesMiddle ColoniesSouthern Colonies
Rhode IslandPennsylvaniaVirginia
MassachusettsNew JerseyNorth Carolina
New HampshireNew YorkSouth Carolina

Thirteen Colonies Chart

Thirteen Colonies - Basic Needs
The major concerns of the early colonists in the Thirteen Colonies were to fulfil their basic needs for food, shelter and clothing (see Period in Jamestown Colony history referred to as the Starving Time and Colonial Food)  and all their energies were directed to ensuring that they could survive in Colonial America, refer to the Pilgrim Fathers. Once their basic needs were met the colonists were able to look for ways to gain wealth through economic activities such as farming, the fur trade and other types of trade due to the manufacture of goods.

Thirteen Colonies - Economic Activity, Trade & Differences between the Regions
There were considerable differences between the 3 regions. Economic activities were dependant of the environment in which the Colonists lived - see Colonial Times. The geography and climate and other important factors in the Thirteen Colonies impacted the economic activities of each of the 3 regions of the Thirteen Colonies - the Northern Colonies of New England concentrated in manufacture focussing on town life and industries such as ship building and the manufacture and export of rum. The Southern Colonies concentrated on agriculture and developed the Slave Plantations exporting tobacco, cotton, indigo, rice, sugar, corn, vegetables, grain, fruit and livestock. The Middle Colonies also exported agricultural products and natural resources but were also able to manufacture iron ore products like plows, tools, kettles, nails and large blocks of iron which they exported to England. Refer to Triangular Trade for additional facts about trade.

New England Ship Building

New England Ship Building

Thirteen Colonies - Trade: Imports (goods brought in) and Exports (goods sent out)
The Thirteen Colonies imported and exported goods and resources within the colonies and there was also a brisk trade between the colonists and Europe. The colonists made ships from the timber that was available in the vast forests which the English bought and then these ships took exports from Colonial America back to Europe.  

Thirteen Colonies - Differences in Religion
The types of religion and religious practices varied greatly between the three regions of the Thirteen Colonies. The religion practised in New England was strictly Puritan and they did not tolerate any other religions - refer to Pilgrims and Puritans. The Middle and Southern Colonies were not dominated by a single religion which gave way to more liberal attitudes and some religious freedom. There were Quakers, Catholics, Lutherans, Jews and others in the Middle regions and Anglicans and Baptists in the Southern regions. Refer to Religion in the Colonies

Thirteen Colonies - Government
There were various systems of government used within the Thirteen Colonies refer to Colonial Government. All of the systems of government in the Thirteen colonies elected their own legislature (parliament). They were all democratic. They all had a governor, governor's court, and a court system. The various government systems of the first Thirteen Colonies were Royal Colonies, Charter Colonies, and Proprietary Colonies:

  • Royal Government: The Royal Colonies were ruled directly by the English monarchy
  • Proprietary Government: The King granted land to people in North America, who then formed Proprietary Colonies
  • Charter Government: The Charter Colonies were generally self-governing, and their charters were granted to the colonists.

See the Lords Proprietors and the Charter of Carolina

The First Thirteen Colonies
Discover interesting  facts and information about the history of the First Thirteen starting with the arrival of the Mayflower in Plymouth in 1620 and the people who immigrated to Colonial America. For a history timeline detailing specific events relating to the First Thirteen refer to the 13 Colonies Timeline. A comprehensive history timeline reference relating to the era can be viewed via the Colonial America Time Period.

Thirteen Colonies

  • Interesting Facts and information via the first Thirteen

  • Thirteen Colonies history timeline

  • Fast Facts and info with the Thirteen Colonies timeline

  • The Thirteen Colonies is great history timeline resource for kids

  • Social Studies Homework help for kids on Thirteen Colonies

Pictures and Videos of Thirteen Colonies
The First Thirteen were classified in three separate regions consisting of the New England, the Middle and the Southern Colonies.  Virginia, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts Bay Colony (which included Maine), New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Maryland, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Delaware, New York, North Carolina, and Rhode Island. We hope that this article on the first Thirteen will assist in your studies or homework and that you will enjoy watching the videos featuring many pictures of the colonists. A great educational resource for kids on the subject of the first Thirteen.

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