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New Amsterdam: a small city with a big wall across it where Wall Street is now

New Amsterdam in 1664

More settlements came soon after Jamestown. Dutch traders settled in New York in 1614 to trade with the Iroquois for furs. Another settlement was in Massachusetts in 1620, when the Puritans came in the Mayflower from England to live according to their religion. In 1631, more Dutch traders settled in Delaware and made arrangements with the local Lenape people to trade with them for furs. In 1681, a group of Quakers came from England, led by a man called William Penn, and they called the place where they settled down Pennsylvania (Penn’s woods). They pushed out the Lenape people, who spoke an Algonquin language.

By the time of the American Revolutionary War and the Declaration of Independence, there were thirteen English colonies that decided to become the United States. They were (from north to south):

  • New Hampshire
  • Massachusetts (Maine split off from Massachusetts later)
  • Rhode Island
  • Connecticut
  • New York
  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania
  • Delaware
  • Maryland
  • Virginia (Kentucky and West Virginia split off later)
  • North Carolina (Tennessee split off later)
  • South Carolina
  • Georgia

Florida was English by this time but chose not to participate in the Revolution. Florida stayed loyal to England during the Revolution. Then Florida became Spanish again after England lost the war. Florida joined the United States only under Andrew Jackson in 1821.

Learn by doing: try to spot license plates from all 13 original states
More about the Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Independence
The Revolutionary War
American History home