The American Colonies or as they are commonly referred to the thirteen colonies were established between the 17th and 18th centuries predominantly by British settlers.
The very first settlers of colonial America had a very tough time, many starved or were killed in long running disputes with local native American tribes.
By the time the American revolution began, their settlements had spread far beyond the Appalachians and extended from Maine in the north to the Altamaha River in Georgia, and there were about 2.5 million American colonists at that moment.
Colonial America Facts
1. 13 Colonies in Total
There was a total of thirteen distinct colonies spread across the Eastern seaboard.
Just prior to declaring independence, the Thirteen Colonies consisted of:
- New Hampshire
- Rhode Island
- New York
- New Jersey
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
2. First Colony was a Failure
The first colony was The Roanoke Colony that was founded in 1587. 115 colonists landed on Roanoke Island which is on the Outer Banks of modern day North Carolina, at the time it was part of Virginia.
On July 4, they arrived at Roanoke Island and soon formed connections with the local natives, the Secotans and the Croatans.
They were not very well prepared to survive n the new land and had several disputes with the local native Americans.
They colony was found to have been completely abandoned without signs of a struggle or attack and is still considered a mystery to this day.
The only thing that was found was the word “Croatoan” carved into a fence post and “Cro” carved into a tree.
3. Jamestown was the First Successful colony
Although The Roanoke Colony is considered the first colony in the new world it is the Jamestown Colony that is considered the first successful, permanent colony in America.
None of the original Jamestown settlers were women, only men arrived on the first voyage in 1607 in what is now known as Virginia.
Also Read: 13 Colonies in Order
144 men were sent to Virginia by the London Company on three ships: the Godspeed, the Discovery and the Susan Constant. In the spring of 1607, they entered the Chesapeake Bay and moved about 60 miles up the James River, where a settlement they called Jamestown was founded.
Hunger, disease, and Indian warfare ensued, and although more ships arrived with new settlers, the colony had a precarious life for a time.
4. The Pilgrims Did Not Arrive Until 1620
A group of about 100 English men and women, many of them members of the English Separatist Church, later known as the Pilgrims, set sail for the New World on board the Mayflower during the reign of King James I in September 1620.
There was a second group of individuals, the Strangers, involved in the Plymouth Colony settlement. The Strangers were individuals put in place to help govern and guide the colony by the Merchant Adventurers.
Although during that grueling first winter, more than half of the original settlers died, the survivors were able to secure peace treaties with neighboring Native American tribes within five years and build a largely self-sufficient economy. Plymouth was New England’s first colonial settlement.
5. The Mayflower was a Cargo Ship
The Mayflower was a regular merchant vessel and in no way a comfortable ship in which to spend the two months that it would take to cross the Atlantic Ocean.
The settlers spent the first winter on the Mayflower before finally moving inland on a permanent basis.
Many did not survive the winter due to a lack of food and a high level of disease on board. Women were hit hardest as of the original 20 onboard only 8 survived.
6. Many First Settlers were Indentured Servants
Many of the first settlers were keen to leave Europe for the new world but booking passage and affording that passage was difficult for many.
Indentured servitude was a contract that was struck that enabled the settlers to travel and have work and food in exchange for working(usually for a trade company) for fixed number of years.
Also Read: Boston Tea Party Facts
During their period of service, the indentured servants were provided with basic necessities such as food, clothing and lodging, but they were not paid. Indentured servants could look forward to liberation from their contract once the time expired, unlike slaves.
7. Food was Scarce and Very Bland
Starvation was commonplace and they endured considerably tough winters as they tried to adapt to life in the new world.
The food was very basic and generally quite bland as it was more often than not boiled as the means to cook it.
Religious beliefs also played a large factor in how and what was eaten, food was a necessity and not an indulgence.
Meat was only consumed on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and abstained from during Lent and Advent. Fasting was also performed.
We hope you have enjoyed out list of colonial America facts.