I came across a nice succinct explanation of how each of the 13 colonies started and their central purpose. I decided to include it on my site as a resource for those interested in how the country started.
The Colonies are listed in the order of their inception and the country of origin for the first settlers:
Virginia — England
Launched at Jamestown in 1607, it was founded by English settlers and was established to create a profit for a London Corporation (and indirectly to improve the fortunes of the settlers). This is the colony where my paternal line entered North America.
Massachusetts — England by way of Holland
Founded in 1620 at Plymouth Rock by English settlers, this colony was organized so residents could practice their Puritan religious beliefs. They were not, however, tolerant of other denominations and faiths –persecuting and, in some cases, executing, Quakers, Baptists, Catholics and Jews.
New Hampshire — England by way of Massachusetts
This colony began in Dover in 1623 and was started by people from Massachusetts. According to the textbook, the colony was launched because the ‘settlers sought greater opportunity.’
New York — Holland
Of the original 13 states, this is the first one started by non-English settlers. The settlement, founded by the Dutch in 1624, was located in present-day Albany. It was originally a trading post but in 1664 England seized control of the colony.
Connecticut — England by way of Massachusetts
This is the second colony created by people already in North America migrating to a new region. It was founded in Windsor in 1633 by residents of Massachusetts who were seeking land and religious freedom.
Maryland — England
Maryland was founded in 1634 in St. Mary’s City as a refuge for Catholics. It was an English colony headed by Cecilius Calvert and Lord Baltimore.
Rhode Island — England by way of Massachusetts
After his falling out with the Puritans in Massachusetts, Roger Williams and his followers settled Providence in 1636. They established the colony so they could worship as they chose — after the Puritans excommunicated Williams.
Delaware — Sweden
This is the second of the non-English settlements within the original 13 colonies. The Swedes established this colony in 1638 in present-day Wilmington. In 1681, Pennsylvania (William Penn) took over the colony.
New Jersey — Holland
This is the second Dutch settlement along the eastern seaboard. It was established in present-day New Jersey City around 1640. Like the New York it was established as a trading post.
Pennsylvania — Sweden
Initially started as a Swede colony in 1643, it eventually became the site for William Penn’s Holy Experiment. Penn established his colony as a refuge for Quakers who were being persecuted in England and North America. My maternal line landed in Pennsylvania before exiting the colony and heading to present-day Appalachia.
North and South Carolina — England by way of Virginia
Originally the land in these two states belonged to just eight men. The owners and settlers were from the Virginia Colony. North Carolina was created in 1653 and the South Carolina was established in 1670.
Georgia — England
The last of the colonies was launched in Savannah in 1733. This English settlement, established by James Oglethorpe, was a refuge for debtors and prisoners.
Source: The World and Its People: The United States and Its Neighbors
Learn & Compare
For a broader look at the Colonies based on the four significant British America colonies read Albion’s Seed. The author breaks down the colonies, not by states, but rather by region and he looks at the settlers’ unique customs.
Although Jamestown is always listed as the first permanent white settlement from England, which it is (permanent being the key word), it was not the first English colony. That distinction belongs to the Roanoke Colony.