13 Colonies Facts | Information, Facts and Worksheets for Kids (2023)

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13 Colonies Facts | Information, Facts and Worksheets for Kids (1)

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(Video) The 13 Original Colonies for Kids | Learn all about the first 13 American Colonies

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(Video) 13 Colonies: Comparing Regions New England, Middle, and Southern

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The thirteen colonies were British settlements on the Atlantic coast of America in the 17th and 18th centuries. They eventually lead to the creation of the United States of America and are an important part of US history.

See the fact file below for more information on the 13 colonies or alternatively, you can download our 23-page 13 colonies worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.

Key Facts & Information


  • The age of mercantilism in Europe emerged during the 16th century. It meant that nations became more competitive in terms of economic gains. As a result, European nations sought territorial expansion and to acquire colonies outside the continent.
  • A colony is an area of a country that is controlled by another country. The 13 colonies were in America but were controlled by Britain. Colonies are typically settled by people from the home country.
  • In order to expand the British Empire against the Spanish rival, Queen Elizabeth of England established colonies in North America.
  • Each colony was founded under different circumstances. Many were established after escaping religious persecution in Europe. Some were plainly in search of new opportunities and better living standards.


  • Historians believe that the first English settlement established in North America was by Sir Walter Raleigh in Roanoke, in 1587. Along with 91 men, 17 women, and nine children as the first colonists, the Roanoke colony mysteriously vanished after three years of settlement.
  • In 1606, months after the divisions made by King James I, London Company sent three ships equipped with 144 men to sail to Virginia. Godspeed, Discovery, and Susan Constant reached Chesapeake Bay and headed to the James River where they established the first settlement called Jamestown.
  • At first, the colonists struggled as they focused on excavating gold and other minerals instead of feeding themselves. It was only in 1616 that the colonists began to plant tobacco.
  • By 1619, the first African slaves reached the colony. Since then, enslaved Africans became the key factor in maintaining large tobacco plantations.
  • Following Virginia, the colonies of New York (1626), Massachusetts (1630), Maryland (1633), Rhode Island (1636), Connecticut (1636), New Hampshire (1638), Delaware (1638), North Carolina (1653), South Carolina (1663), New Jersey (1664), Pennsylvania (1682), and Georgia (1732) were established.
  • The original thirteen colonies were classified into 3 main divisions, including New England, Middle Colonies, and Southern Colonies.
  • New England Colonies were composed of Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire which was initially settled by a small group of Puritans, also known as the Pilgrims, in 1620. The colonists were assisted by the natives and learned farming, hunting, and fishing.
  • Middle Colonies included Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. In 1664, King Charles II gave the territory between New England and Virginia to his brother James, the Duke of York. The territory was then occupied by patroons or Dutch traders and landowners. Persuaded by religious tolerance and fertile soil, many Quakers from all over Europe migrated to the colony of Penn’s Wood, later known as Pennsylvania.
  • Southern Colonies included Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. Most of the colonies in the south were highly dependent on African slave labor as many of them were involved in slave trade.


  • Prior to the American Revolution, the thirteen colonies were under the rule of King George III of Britain. Each colony had separate local government all under the British Parliament. Due to the great distance separating the colonies from England, King George III faced challenges in governing the colonists which caused discontent and later the American Revolutionary War.
  • As a result of the costly French-Indian War, which lasted from 1754 to 1763, the British Parliament decided to tax the thirteen colonies in North America. By 1764, the British government began to impose taxes under the following laws: The Sugar Act, Currency Act, Quartering Act, and Stamp Act.
  • Angered by the new taxes, the colonists argued that they should not be levied with taxes since they do not have representations in the Parliament. Their motto became “ No Taxation Without Representation”.
  • By 1765, the Sons of Liberty, an anti-colonialist group was formed in Boston, Massachusetts and spread in other parts of the thirteen colonies.
  • After the Boston Tea Party and issuance of the new Intolerable Acts, the colonies became more united fighting against the British government by providing supplies to Boston during the blockade.
  • As a direct response to the Intolerable Act, the First Continental Congress was held and attended by representatives from twelve out of thirteen colonies.
  • The Congress sent an appeal to King George to repeal the acts, but received no response. As a result, the colonists boycotted British goods.
  • On April 19, 1775, the American Revolutionary War broke out during the Battle of Lexington and Concord, and ended on September 3, 1783 under the Treaty of Paris.
  • A year after the war broke out, the Continental Congress declared its independence from the British government, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was formally adopted by 12 colonies, followed by the 13th (New York) in July 19. By August 2, the declaration was signed.

13 Colonies Worksheets

This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about 13 Colonies across 23 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use 13 Colonies worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the thirteen colonies which were British settlements on the Atlantic coast of America in the 17th and 18th centuries. They eventually lead to the creation of the United States of America and are an important part of US history.

Complete List Of Included Worksheets

  • 13 Colonies Facts
  • Mapping the Colonies
  • Between Two Statements
  • Eliza Lucas Pinckney
  • The Diary of Mary Cooper
  • Through Painting
  • Way of Life in a Colony
  • My Colony
  • The Colony Today
  • 13 Facts
  • My Social Movement

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Use With Any Curriculum

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(Video) Thirteen Colonies: the Middle Colonies


What are the 13 colonies explained? ›

the thirteen British colonies in North America that joined together and became the United States of America after adopting the Declaration of Independence in 1776: New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, ...

Who founded the colonies? ›

In the early 1600s, the British king began establishing colonies in America. By the 1700s, most of the settlements had formed into 13 British colonies: Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and South Carolina.

Why were the 13 colonies so important? ›

The thirteen colonies were British settlements on the Atlantic coast of America in the 17th and 18th centuries. They eventually lead to the creation of the United States of America and are an important part of US history.

What did the 13 colonies grow? ›

What did they grow? Colonial farmers grew a wide variety of crops depending on where they lived. Popular crops included wheat, corn, barley, oats, tobacco, and rice.

How old were 13 colonies? ›

The United States was formed from thirteen British colonies in 1776. Many of these colonies had been around for well over 100 years including the first colony of Virginia which was founded in 1607.

Who were the 13 colonies created by? ›

Over the next century, the English established 13 colonies. They were Virginia, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. By 1750 nearly 2 million Europeans lived in the American colonies.

What did colonies eat? ›

Those animals settled in the colonies along with the people and became a source of food. After a time people started hunting for deer, turkey, ducks and geese. They also were able to fish for cod and flounder and catch lobster and clams. Farmers grew corn, wheat, rice, barley, oats, squash, pumpkins and beans.

What do colonies eat? ›

Colonials ate a variety of fish including cod, flounder, trout, salmon, clams, lobsters, and halibut. The colonials brought over domesticated animals from Europe that could be raised as livestock for meat. These included sheep, cattle, chicken, and pigs.

What are the 4 main colonies? ›

Map of the eastern seaboard, showing New England colonies (Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Connecticut), Middle colonies (New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware), Chesapeake colonies (Virginia, Maryland), and Southern colonies (North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia).

Who did the 13 colonies fight? ›

The Continental Congress, a body representing the 13 North American colonies' opposition to British policy, would soon adopt and sponsor the armed rebels into the beginnings of a 'Continental Army'. George Washington was appointed its commander-in-chief.

What were the 13 colonies originally called? ›

The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colonies, the Thirteen American Colonies, or later as the United Colonies, were a group of British colonies on the Atlantic coast of North America.

Where did the 13 colonies come from? ›

The 13 colonies were a group of settlements that became the original states of the United States of America. Nearly all the colonies were founded by the English, and all were located along the East Coast of North America. In 1776 the 13 colonies declared their independence from Great Britain.

Who settled the first colony? ›

The Spanish were among the first Europeans to explore the New World and the first to settle in what is now the United States. By 1650, however, England had established a dominant presence on the Atlantic coast. The first colony was founded at Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607.

Who controls the colony? ›

The colony was then often ruled by a royal governor with a council. A proprietary charter was granted to an individual as a direct result of their relationship with the king. This would result in the individual, or Lord Proprietor, governing the colony in their own way but still under the flag of the mother country.

What were the 3 types of colonies? ›

In fact, there were three different types of colonies: royal, self-governing, and proprietary.

How did the 13 colonies win? ›

After French assistance helped the Continental Army force the British surrender at Yorktown, Virginia, in 1781, the Americans had effectively won their independence, though fighting would not formally end until 1783.

Why did the 13 colonies move to America? ›

Colonists came to America because they wanted political liberty. They wanted religious freedom and economic opportunity. The United States is a country where individual rights and self-government are important.

Why did the 13 colonies join together? ›

In 1774, Great Britain's North American colonies first came together to defend themselves against wrongs committed by their "mother country." By 1789, these colonies had become independent states, joined by a new federal constitution into a single nation.

How did Colonist live? ›

The colonists developed an economy based on farming, commerce, and crafts. Farm families produced most of what they needed for themselves. In the villages and cities, many trades and crafts developed.

What was the biggest colony in the 13 colonies? ›

By the time of the revolution, Virginia was the largest colony in both land and population.

Did the colonies grow fast? ›

From 260,000 settlers in 1700, the colonial population grew eight times to 2,150,000 in 1770. (In comparison, the French colonial population grew from 15,000 to 90,000 in 1775, i.e., just 4% of the English total.) In fact, the English colonial population doubled almost every 25 years in the 1700s.

How long did the colonies last? ›

Colonial Settlement, 1600s - 1763.

How many people lived in the 13 colonies? ›

In July 1776, an estimated 2.5 million people lived in the 13 colonies (Series B 12 table below).

When did the 13 colonies start? ›

Who ruled all 13 colonies? ›

What Were the 13 Colonies? A colony is an area that is under the control of another country. In this case, the 13 colonies were located in North America, and they were controlled by Great Britain.

What did the colonists drink? ›

During the colonial era, rum was the preferred alcoholic drink of American colonists. By one estimate, colonists consumed 3.7 gallons annually per head by the time of the American Revolution.

Did the colonists have candy? ›

Candy appeared on the table only at the most sumptuous banquets. Colonists from Britain and France brought candy to America in the eighteenth century. The most common form was what is today known as rock candy, a sugarcane reduction that forms crystalized sugar.

What did colonists do for fun? ›

Colonial life was filled with work, but it wasn't always hard or boring. Early Americans knew how to turn work into fun by singing or telling stories, having contests, or working together in spinning or quilting bees. Some liked to dance to fiddle and fife music.

Which colonies had fish? ›

Also, because the New England colonies were along the coast, many colonists fished. The fishing industry included whaling and cod, among other types of fish. Whale oil was an important resource that was used as fuel for lamps and could also be sold.

Did colonists fish? ›

European and African settlers utilized traps and weirs but also engaged in fishing we would recognize today, with poles, line, floats, weights, and hooks. The same switchcane used to create fish traps could also be used to fashion cane poles. Line was made of cotton or linen thread.

What kind of animals form colonies? ›

Small, functionally specialized, attached organisms called polyps in cnidarians and zooids in bryozoans form colonies and may be modified for capturing prey, feeding, or reproduction. Colonies of social insects (e.g., ants, bees) usually include castes with different responsibilities.

What were the 5 original colonies? ›

The Southern Colonies list consisted of five of the original 13 Colonies: Maryland. Virginia. North Carolina.
The 13 Colonies.
13 Colonies Chart
New England ColoniesMiddle ColoniesSouthern Colonies
Rhode IslandPennsylvaniaVirginia
MassachusettsNew JerseyNorth Carolina
New HampshireNew YorkSouth Carolina
3 more rows

How many colonies did we start with? ›

It was those colonies that came together to form the United States. The original 13 colonies of North America in 1776, at the United States Declaration of Independence.

What was the first colony in the United States? ›

Virginia. The first successful English colony was Jamestown, established May 14, 1607, near Chesapeake Bay.

Who lost the 13 colonies? ›

In 1763 the first British Empire primarily centred on North America. By 1815, despite the loss of the 13 colonies, Britain had a second empire, one that straddled the globe from Canada and the Caribbean in the Western Hemisphere around the Cape of Good Hope to India and Australia.

How did America start? ›

In 1776, in Philadelphia, the Second Continental Congress declared the independence of the colonies as the "United States". Led by General George Washington, it won the Revolutionary War. The peace treaty of 1783 established the borders of the new sovereign state.

Which country helped 13 American colonies? ›

The primary allies were France, Spain, and the Netherlands with France giving the most support. Why did they want to help colonists? European nations had a number of reasons why they aided the American colonies against Britain.

What language did the 13 colonies speak? ›

The era of the 13 colonies had many different languages that spread through the English, Dutch, ,French, and Native Americans. The most common languages were, Algonquian and Middle English.

What was the first colony name? ›

The establishment of the Roanoke Colony (/ˈroʊənoʊk/ ROH-ə-nohk) was an attempt by Sir Walter Raleigh to found the first permanent English settlement in North America.

Which of the 13 colonies was the most successful? ›

Virginia was one of the most successful colonies because of its a profitable economy, a colonial government, and settlers who benefited Virginia and caused problems in the colony.

Where did the 13 colonies meet? ›

On September 5, 1774, 56 delegates met in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This First Continental Congress represented all the 13 colonies, except Georgia. It included some of the finest leaders in the land, including George Washington, Patrick Henry, John Adams, Samuel Adams, and John Jay.

How do you define a colony in simple terms? ›

: a group of people sent out by a state to a new territory. : the territory in which such colonists live. : a distant territory belonging to or under the control of a nation.

What is Colonial in simple words? ›

1. the control or governing influence of a nation over a dependent country, territory, or people. 2. the system or policy by which a nation maintains or advocates such control or influence. 3.

What is colonization simple words? ›

Colonization is the act of setting up a colony away from one's place of origin.

What is Colonisation in simple words for kids? ›

Colonialism is defined as “control by one power over a dependent area or people.” It occurs when one nation subjugates another, conquering its population and exploiting it, often while forcing its own language and cultural values upon its people.

What are the 3 types of colony? ›

In fact, there were three different types of colonies: royal, self-governing, and proprietary. Royal colonies were owned and completely administered by the Crown. The Governor and his Council were appointed by the King and these lands existed simply to generate wealth for England.

Why is it called colony? ›

The word "colony" comes from the Latin word colōnia, used as concept for Roman military bases and eventually cities. This in turn derives from the word colōnus, which was a Roman tenant farmer.

How many colonies still exist? ›

There are 61 colonies or territories in the world. Eight countries maintain them: Australia (6), Denmark (2), Netherlands (2), France (16), New Zealand (3), Norway (3), the United Kingdom (15), and the United States (14).

What are the types of colonial? ›

Majorly there are two types of colonialism: Settler colonialism and Exploitation colonialism.

What is colonial answer one word? ›

: forming, existing in, or used by a colony.

Do colonies still exist? ›

Today colonies are rare, but still exist as non-self-governing territories, as categorized by the United Nations. Examples include Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, and the Cayman Islands, to name a few.

How much of the world was colonized? ›

Although Europe represents only about 8 percent of the planet's landmass, from 1492 to 1914, Europeans conquered or colonized more than 80 percent of the entire world.

What is colony in history? ›

A colony is a group of people from one country who build a settlement in another territory, or land. They claim the new land for the original country, and the original country keeps some control over the colony. The settlement itself is also called a colony. The practice of setting up colonies is called colonialism.

Why was the colonies founded? ›

The New England colonies were founded to escape religious persecution in England. The Middle colonies, like Delaware, New York, and New Jersey, were founded as trade centers, while Pennsylvania was founded as a safe haven for Quakers.

How do you start a colony? ›

Consider the following:
  1. Step 1: Choose a reason / motivation. ...
  2. Step 2: Describe your colony. ...
  3. Step 3: Create a charter: ...
  4. Step 4: Pick a leader. ...
  5. Step 5: Choose a location: ...
  6. Step 6: Draw a map or diagram of your colony: ...
  7. Step 7: Create a Colonial Flag: ...
  8. Step 8: Determine your role in the group:

What is a colony example? ›

In biology, typical examples of colonies are insect colonies. For example, an ant colony is comprised of ants that live closely together due to mutual benefits, such as to make stronger defense. Single-celled organisms can also form colonies, as coenobium is a colony of single-celled Volvox species.


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