The 13 Colonies

From the first settlement at Jamestown in 1607 early America's colonies enjoyed a slow but steady growth. Most of the colonies' population — approximately 2,500,000 by 1775 — lived east of the Allegheny mountains.

A majority of the colonists were English or of English descent. Nearly all spoke English. Second in numbers were the Germans in Pennsylvania, the Dutch in New York, and the Irish and Scotch-Irish who had settled to some extent throughout all of the colonies.

Map of the 13 American colonies

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A witty Frenchman at the time observed that the people of England reminded him of a barrel of their own beer — froth on the top, dregs at the bottom, but clear and sound in the middle. It was a fact that the greater part of the emigrants who settled early America were from that energetic, industrious middle-class.

As such, none of the colonies had a titled aristocracy holding land. The colonies had men of intelligence and wealth, but no lords. Learned and influential clergymen, but no bishops.

The original thirteen colonies were Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Virginia.