The Thirteen Colonies
Each of the thirteen colonies developed its own system of self-government, based largely on independent farmers who owned their own land, voted for their local and provincial government, and served on local juries. In some of the colonies, especially Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia, there were also substantial populations of African slaves. Following a series of protests over taxes in the 1760s and 1770s, these colonies united politically and militarily in opposition to the British government and fought the American Revolutionary War, 1775–1783. In 1776, they declared their independence, and achieved that goal with the signing of the Treaty of Paris .
Before independence, the thirteen were among two dozen separate colonies in British America. Those in the British West Indies, Newfoundland, the Province of Quebec, Nova Scotia, Bermuda, and East and West Florida remained loyal to the crown throughout the war . Although there was a degree of sympathy with the Patriot cause in several of them, their geographical isolation and the dominance of British naval power precluded any effective participation. Especially in the case of Quebec and Florida, the British crown had only recently acquired those lands, and many of the issues facing the Thirteen Colonies did not apply to them.
Contemporary documents usually list the thirteen colonies of British North America in geographical order, from the north to the south.
New England colonies :
Province of New Hampshire, later New Hampshire, a crown colony
Province of Massachusetts Bay, later Massachusetts and Maine, a crown colony
Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, later Rhode Island, a crown colony
Connecticut Colony, later Connecticut, a crown colony
Middle colonies :
Province of New York, later New York and Vermont, a crown colony
Province of New Jersey, later New Jersey, a crown colony
Province of Pennsylvania, later Pennsylvania, a proprietary colony