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Map of the 13 colonies

Europeans came to the new world for many reasons. They came to escape debt, persecution, or to make a profit. As the years would go by, these colonies would grow and thrive. Each would develop distinctive customs, social structure and beliefs.


Escaping Debt

Originally founded as a debtor's colony Georgia was to make a profit from the produce of the colony and giving debtors a means of working off their debts. Georgia was also a buffer between the colonies and the Spanish Empire.

Freedom of Religion

MassachusettsNew HampshirePennsylvaniaRhode IslandMaryland and Connecticut were founded so that different religions could be practiced without interference from the Old World and in some cases Massachusetts.


Virginia, New York, DelawareNorth and South Carolina, and New Jersey were the proprietary colonies. The main mission of these colonies was to make money for the stockholders in England.

Customs and Culture

The colonies were varied fragments of a European Culture interacting in a common manner with their environment and with each other with an Atlantic trading and idea exchanging community. Becoming in the end, a sufficiently altered European type society to claim the distinctions of independence.

To learn more about the history of these colonies, go to these interesting sites. Each discusses their history, social structure and development.

  • Thirteen Originals 
    This site by William Murray contains information and resources to all 13 colonies.
  • Frontier fosters self-reliance 
    This is an essay on how the colonist viewed their rights as Englishmen, and how they dealt with the Colonial governors.
  • Hypertexts American Culture 
    This site contains various hypertexts of works about and on American Culture. This is a part of the crossroads project at the University of Virginia.
  • Colonial New England 
    This is a major resource for Colonial New England. From local information to tour sites, this has it all. You may need to open another window to view this site as it has frames.
  • New Netherlands History 
    This site is a short history of New Netherlands now known as New York.
  • New River Valley Historical Notes 
    This site contains historical resources for the Upper New River Valley of North Carolina and Virginia. Jeffrey C. Weaver maintains this web site.