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British colonization of the Americas

British colonization of the Americas began in the late 1500's. Colonies were establish in North, Central and South America, in the Caribbean and a protectorship in Hawaii.

Table of contents
1 British North America
2 British Caribbean Colonies
3 British Central and South American Colonies
4 Links

British North America

The English established colonies along the east coast of North America from Newfoundland as far south as Florida. Early colonies included Jamestown, Virginia founded in 1607 (the first successful English colony in North America), the Plymouth Colony founded in 1620, and the Massachusetts Bay Colony. There was also an early unsuccessful Scottish attempt at a colony at Darien, and the colonisation of Nova Scotia is also associated with Scotland.

England also took over the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam, which was renamed New York in 1664. With New Amsterdam the British came to control the former New Sweden which the Dutch had conquered earlier. This became part of Pennsylvania. Britain acquired the French colony of New France and the Spanish colony of Florida in 1763. New France became the Canadas.

In the north the Hudson's Bay Company actively traded for fur with the Indians, and had competed with French fur traders. The company came to control the entire drainage basin of Hudson Bay called Rupert's Land. The Hudson Bay drainage south of the 49th parallel went to the United States in 1818. Britain also colonized the west coast of North America with the colonies of Vancouver Island, founded in 1849 and New Caledonia, founded in 1846 (later combined and named British Columbia). In 1867 the colonies of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and the Province of Canada (the southern portion of modern-day Ontario and Quebec) combined to form modern Canada. Quebec (including what is now the southern portion of Ontario) and Nova Scotia had been conquered from the French. The colonies of Prince Edward Island, and British Columbia joined over the next six years, and Newfoundland joined in 1949. Rupert's Land and the North-Western Territory were ceded to Canada in 1870. This area now consists of the provinces of Manitoba (admitted after negotiation between Canada and a Métis provisional government in 1870), Saskatchewan, and Alberta, as well as the Northwest Territories and the territory of Nunavut.

In order of settlement or founding

British Caribbean Colonies

In order of settlement or founding

British Central and South American Colonies

Belize - British adventurers starting in the mid-1600s, used Belize as a source for logwood, a tree used to make a wool dye. The area was claimed by Spain but they had not settled it or been able to control the natives. The Spanish destroyed the British colony in 1717, 1730, 1754 and 1779. The colony was known as British Honduras until 1973. The Spanish attacked a final time in 1798 but were defeated. Belize became fully independent in 1981.

Mosquito Coast - This area was first settled in 1630. It was briefly assigned to Honduras in 1859, then ceded to Nicaragua in 1860.

British Guiana - The British began colonies in the Guiana area in the early 17th century. In the Treaty of Breda, the Dutch gained control of these colonies. Britain later controlled various colonies in the area. The Congress of Vienna (1815) awarded the settlements of Berbice, Demerara, and Essequibo in the Guiana region to Great Britain; they were united as British Guiana in 1831. It became independent as Guyana in 1966.


See also: European colonization of the Americas, British Empire, History of the British Empire