English America, and later British America, refers to the English, and later British territories in the Americas (including Bermuda), Central America, the Caribbean, and Guyana from 1607 to 1783. Formally, the British colonies in North America were known as British America and the British West Indies until 1776, when the Thirteen British Colonies located along the Atlantic seaboard declared their independence and formed the United States of America. After that, British North America (or, simply but not inclusively, Canada) was used to describe the remainder of Britain's continental North American possessions. The term "British North America" was first used informally in 1783, but it was uncommon before the Report on the Affairs of British North America (1839), called the Durham Report.
British America gained large amounts of new territory following the Treaty of Paris (1763) which ended Britain's involvement in the Seven Years' War. At the start of the American War of Independence in 1775, the British Empire included 20 colonies north and east of New Spain (present-day areas of Mexico and the Western United States). East and West Florida were ceded to Spain in the Treaty of Paris (1783) which ended the American Revolution, and then ceded by Spain to the United States in 1819. All but one of the remaining colonies of British North America apart from the British West Indies united together from 1867 to 1873 forming the Dominion of Canada. Newfoundland joined Canada in 1949.
Between 1606 and 1670, a number of English colonies were established in North America by individuals and companies granted commercial charters by King James I, King Charles I, Parliament, and King Charles II to found and run settlements there. The first such permanent settlement was founded at Jamestown by the Virginia Company whose investors expected to reap rewards from their speculative investments. Virginia Native Americans had established settlements long before the English settlers arrived, and there were an estimated 14,000 natives in the region. Their chief sought to resettle the English colonists from Jamestown to another location and expected them to become members of his Confederacy. Other settlers, both English and German, did join the Powhatans. The first explorers were welcomed by the Indians with dancing, feasting and tobacco ceremonies.
List of North American colonies in 1775
There were twenty British colonies in North America in 1775. These were:
1) The Thirteen Colonies that eventually formed the original states of the United States of America:
- Province of Massachusetts Bay
- Province of New Hampshire
- Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations – founded in 1636 as a sanctuary for religious freedom by Baptists expelled from Massachusetts Bay by the Puritans and formally authorised by charter of King Charles II on 8 July 1663.
- Connecticut Colony
2) Other British colonies and territories (ruled by Britain after 1763) that were later ceded by Britain to Spain (the Floridas) or the United States (the Indian Reserve and Southwestern Quebec); all this territory eventually became part of the United States of America:
3) British colonies and territories that would eventually become part of modern Canada:
List of colonies in 1783 in North America, the Caribbean and South America
The colonies remaining under British rule after 1783:
- Divisions of the Colony of the Leeward Islands
- Other Possessions in the British West Indies