|flag of british america
the thirteen colonies (shown in red) in 1775
|status||part of british america (1607–1776)|
|capital||administered from london, england|
- indigenous languages
- various other minor languages
american indian religions
|government||colonial constitutional monarchy|
|james i & vi (first)|
|george iii (last)|
• rhode island royal charter
• new netherland
ceded to england
- pound sterling
- colonial money
- bills of credit
- commodity money
|today part of|| united states|
|history of the
united states portal|
the thirteen colonies, also known as the thirteen british colonies or the thirteen american colonies, were a group of colonies of great britain on the atlantic coast of america founded in the 17th and 18th centuries which declared independence in 1776 and formed the united states of america. the thirteen colonies had very similar political, constitutional, and legal systems, and were dominated by protestant english-speakers. the northern colonies were founded primarily for religious reasons, while the southern colonies were founded for financial profit and business expansion. all thirteen were part of britain's possessions in the new world, which also included colonies in canada, florida, and the caribbean.
the colonial population grew from about 2,000 to 2.4 million between 1625 and 1775, sometimes displacing american indians. this population included people subject to a system of slavery which was legal in all of the colonies prior to the american revolutionary war. in the 18th century, the british government operated its colonies under a policy of mercantilism, in which the central government administered its possessions for the economic benefit of the mother country.
the thirteen colonies had a high degree of self-governance and active local elections, and they resisted london's demands for more control. the french and indian war (1754–63) against france and its indian allies led to growing tensions between britain and the thirteen colonies. during the 1750s, the colonies began collaborating with one another instead of dealing directly with britain. these inter-colonial activities cultivated a sense of shared american identity and led to calls for protection of the colonists' "rights as englishmen", especially the principle of "no taxation without representation". grievances with the british government led to the american revolution, in which the colonies worked together to form the continental congress. the colonists fought the american revolutionary war (1775–83) with the aid of the kingdom of france and, to a much smaller degree, the dutch republic and the kingdom of spain.