13 August 2015

European colonies in the Americas, 1776

Most Yanks are completely oblivious to the fact that there were many more British colonies in North America in 1776 than just the thirteen represented in the stripes on the U.S. flag.  In addition, fourteen colonies joined the rebellion in 1775 that became a revolution.  So, while fourteen rebelled against Great Britain, seven did not.

Once I got to writing a list of these, I couldn’t stop myself from going all-out and listing all the colonies of European powers in the Western Hemisphere in 1776.

The rebellious colonies are marked with an asterisk.

Maine was part of Massachusetts Bay until 1820.

Vermont seceded from New York in 1777 as New Caledonia initially, then became the Republic of Vermont, which it remained until entering the Union as a state in 1791.

Gardiner’s Island is a small island in the bay of the same name at the eastern end of Long Island, New York.  Its owner had been granted the status of independent colony by the Crown as early as 1639, when the rest of what is now New York was the New Netherlands.  After the revolution, the island came under the jurisdiction of the town of East Hampton, New York.

Officially the “Three Lower Counties on the Delaware River”, when it declared independence from Great Britain, the already autonomous colony seceded from Pennsylvania as Delaware.

West Virginia at the time was merely western Virginia, and remained so until seceding from the secessionist commonwealth in the Civil War to become its own state in 1863.

Rupert’s Land was the one part of North America still owned by a proprietary company.

St. John’s Island became Prince Edward Island in 1798.

Illinois Country is roughly equivalent to what became Northwest Territory, or the Old Northwest, in 1787.  Until 1763, it was Upper Louisiane east of the Mississippi River.

The colonies of East Florida and West Florida were established in 1763 when Spain traded them to Great Britain for Louisiane west of the Mississippi River.  After they reverted to Spain in 1783, Spain retained the division.

The territory north of West Florida to the Ohio River, what had once been Lower Louisiane east of the Mississippi River, was Indian territory, but affairs involving Great Britain were handled out of the West Florida capital of Pensacola.

Norwegian colonies

In North America


British colonies

In North America

*Massachusetts Bay (which then included Maine)
*New Hampshire
*Rhode Island and Providence Plantations
*New York (which then included Vermont)
*Gardiner’s Island
*New Jersey
*Three Lower Counties (now Delaware)
*Virginia (of which West Virginia was then part)
*North Carolina
*South Carolina
Rupert’s Land (owned by Hudson’s Bay Company)
Quebec (including Illinois Country)
St. John’s Island (renamed Prince Edward Island)
Nova Scotia (then including New Brunswick and Cape Breton Island)
East Florida
West Florida (nominally including the unorganized territory north to the Ohio River)

In the Caribbean

Jamaica (and Caymans)
British Lesser Antilles (Antigua, Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts, Nevis, St.
            Vincent, Anguilla, Montserrat)

Viceroyalty of New Spain

In North America

Reino de Mexico
Captaincy-General of La Florida (formerly, until 1763)
Luisiana (under the Captaincy-General of Cuba)
Captaincy-General of the Internal Provinces (Las Californias, Nuevo Navarra, Santa Fe de
            Nuevo Mexico, Tejas, Nuevo Vizcaya, Nuevo Extremadura, Nuevo Leon, Nuevo
Nuevo Reino de Galicia
Captaincy-General of Yucatan
Captaincy-General of Guatemala (Guatemala, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras,

In the Caribbean

Captaincy-General of Cuba (including Luisiana, the former Louisiane west of the Misssissippi)
Captaincy-General of Santo Domingo
Captaincy-General of Puerto Rico
Spanish Lesser Antilles (Trinidad, Tobago)

In the western Pacific

Captaincy-General of the Philippines (Philippines, Marianas, Carolines, Moluccas)

Other Spanish colonies

In South America

Viceroyalty of New Granada
            Intendency of Caracas (became the Captaincy-General of Venezuela in 1777)
Viceroyalty of Peru
Viceroyalty of the Rio de la Plata
Captaincy-General of Chile

French colonies

In the Caribbean

Saint Domingue (now Haiti)
French Lesser Antilles (St. Lucia, St. Martin, Guadeluope, Martinique, Saint Barthelemy)

In South America


Dutch colonies

In the Caribbean

Dutch Lesser Antilles (Aruba, Sint Maarten, Bonaire, Curacao, Saba, Sint Eustatius)

In South America


Danish colonies

In the Caribbean

Danish Lesser Antilles (Virgin Islands: St. Thomas, St. Jan, St. Croix)

Portugese colonies

In South America

Viceroyalty of Brasil
            State of Brasil
            State of Maranhao e Piaui
            State of Grao-Para e Rio Negro

Russian colonies

In North America

Russkaya Amerika (Alaska, later Colony Ross in California and Schaffer’s short-lived
colonies on Oahu and Kaua’i in the Hawai’ian Islands)

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