New Jersey Colony

The Year: 1664

Image: Map of Colonial New Jersey

The early European settlement of New Jersey involved the Dutch and the Swedes. The Dutch West India Company worked to stimulate settlement in the area by granting large tracts of land to its members in New Netherland, which included the area that would become New Jersey. These grants were called patroonships. A patroon was a landholder who was granted one of these great estates in exchange for bringing fifty new settlers into the colony.

In 1620, a trading post was established at the site of Bergen, New Jersey, which would later be developed as the first permanent white settlement in the area. Other Dutch enclaves followed at Fort Nassau and at Jersey City.

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Witchcraft in Connecticut

The Year: 1647

Image: Witchcraft Trial

In 1642, witchcraft became punishable by death in the Connecticut Colony. This capital offense was backed by references to the King James version of the Bible: Exodus (22:18) says, Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. And Leviticus (20:27) says, A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood (shall be) upon them.

Belief in witchcraft was common in seventeenth-century New England. The infamous witchcraft trials at Salem in 1692 are well known, but if you exclude those, ninety-three complaints of witchcraft were made in New England between 1638 and 1697—forty-three in Connecticut and fifty in Massachusetts, which was much more heavily populated.

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Maryland Colony

Thirteen Colonies

A Southern Colony
The Province of Maryland was an English colony in North America that was founded in 1632. It began as a proprietary colony of Lord Baltimore, who wanted to create a haven for English Catholics in the New World, and to demonstrate that Catholics and Protestants could live together harmoniously. Although Maryland was an early pioneer of religious tolerance in the British colonies, religious strife between Anglicans, Puritans, Catholics, and Quakers was common in the early years.

A Royal Charter
Charles I of England granted a charter for about twelve million acres to Cecil Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore on June 20, 1632. The charter had originally been granted to Calvert’s father, George Calvert, 1st Baron Baltimore, but he died before it could be executed, so it was granted to his son. Cecil had converted to Catholicism, which was a severe stigma for a nobleman in 17th century England. Catholics were considered enemies of the crown and traitors to their country.

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Delaware Colony

The Year: 1638

Early explorations of Delaware’s coastline were made by Samuel Argall in 1610. During a storm, Argall was blown off course and sailed into a bay that he named in honor of his governor—Lord De La Warr. In 1631, the first white settlement was made on Delaware soil, after a group of Dutchmen formed a trading company headed by Captain David Pietersen de Vries. The expedition of about 30 individuals sailed from the town of Hoorn on the ship De Walvis (The Whale). Arriving in the New World in 1632, Captain de Vries found the settlers had been killed and their buildings burned by the Indians.

The Swedes
In 1638, a Swedish trading post and colony was established at Fort Christina (now Wilmington) by Dutchman Peter Minuit and a group of Swedes, Finns, and Dutch. This was the first permanent European settlement in the Delaware Valley.

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Overview of the Middle Colonies

The Middle Colonies — New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania — created a unique environment of early settlement by non-English Europeans, mostly Dutch and German. English men and women were the smallest minority. These immigrants came mostly in family units that preserved a balanced sex ratio.

Religious Tolerance
The Middle Colonies were the most ethnically and religiously diverse of the thirteen original colonies because of the influence of their Polish, English, Dutch, French and German origins. In this atmosphere of religious tolerance, New Netherland and New Amsterdam became the commercial center of the eastern North American colonies.

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American Colonies: New Sweden

The Year: 1638

New Sweden was a small Swedish settlement along the Delaware River on the Mid-Atlantic coast of North America. It was centered at Fort Christina, now in Wilmington, Delaware, and included parts of Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. The settlement was founded March 29, 1638, and was incorporated into Dutch New Netherland on September 15, 1655. Along with Swedes, a large number of the settlers were Dutch.

American Colonies: New Sweden

By the middle of the 17th century, Sweden was one of the great powers in Europe. Sweden then included Finland and Estonia and parts of modern Russia, Poland, Germany and Latvia. Inspired by the other European powers, the Swedes wanted to expand their territory into the New World. America was seen as the standard-bearer of enlightenment and freedom, and became the ideal of liberal Swedes.

Peter Minuit
In 1637, Swedish, Dutch and German stockholders formed the New Sweden Company to trade for furs and tobacco in North America. Under the command of Peter Minuit, the company’s first expedition sailed from the port of Gothenburg in late in 1637 in two ships. Minuit had been the governor of the Dutch colony, New Netherland, from 1626 to 1631.

In late March 1638, the members of the expedition, aboard the ships Fogel Grip and Kalmar Nyckel, sailed into Delaware Bay and anchored at a rocky point that is known today as Swedes’ Landing.

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New Haven

Colony of New Haven

Image: Quinnipiac Memorial Monument
Fort Wooster Park, New Haven, Connecticut

Monument to Native Americans
This monument to local Indians, whose ancient place names like Hammonasset and Wepawaug still identify the landscape, was dedicated on November 12, 2000. It stands above New Haven Harbor, looking down upon rich fishing and oystering grounds, and memorilizes the small tribe who educated the colonists in wilderness skills and helped protect them against raiding parties from larger tribes such as the Pequots.

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Rhode Island Colony

The Year: 1636

The Colony of Rhode Island
Scattered Europeans began to settle the area that would become Rhode Island as early as 1620, but the first permanent settlement was not established until 1636. When Roger Williams was banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony for his religious beliefs, he took refuge among the Narragansett Native American tribe, who occupied the country at the head of Narragansett Bay. Canonicus, their chief, held the good man in high esteem, and presented him with a large tract of land, which the devout Williams named Providence.

A New England Colony
Other nonconformists followed Roger Williams to that region, including Anne Hutchinson and William Coddington, who founded Portsmouth in 1638. A short-lived dispute sent Coddington to the southern tip of Aquidneck Island (also purchased from the Narragansetts), where he established Newport in 1639. The fourth original town, Warwick, was settled in 1642 by Samuel Gorton, another dissident from Portsmouth.

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Maine Colony

History of Maine

Image: Map of Early Maine

The 1622 grant of the Province of Maine is outlined in blue. The Province of New Hampshire is shown in teal, and the colony of Maine is shown in pink. The boundaries of the Massachusetts Bay Company grant are shown in green.

The Province of Maine refers to several English colonies of that name that existed in the 17th century along the northeast coast of North America, roughly encompassing portions of the present-day states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and the Canadian province of Quebec. The province existed through a series of land patents in several incarnations, the last of which was eventually absorbed into the Province of Massachusetts Bay.

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Connecticut Colony

One of the Thirteen Original Colonies

The Colony of Connecticut included all of the present State of Connecticut and a few townships on the shore of Long Island Sound. The Dutch claimed the territory and erected a fort on the Connecticut River in 1633. A number of Massachusetts traders settled at Windsor in 1633. Saybrook, at the mouth of the Connecticut, was settled in 1635. A great many emigrants came from Massachusetts in 1636, the principal leader being Thomas Hooker.

Dutch, Pilgrims and Puritans
The people of Massachusetts were not long in casting their eyes westward from their own barren coast to the fertile valley of the Connecticut River. That knowledge had come early to the Dutch, who had planted a blockhouse, the House of Good Hope in 1633. Plymouth Colony, searching for new trading opportunities, sent William Holmes, who sailed past the Dutch fort and took possession of the site of Windsor.

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