us history independence

US History

The Colonial Era



adopt tolerate West Indies
slave establish settlement
colony declare permanent
extract compact Julian Calendar
will (3) petition determined
extract found (2) prosecution
accuse hearing witchcraft
series conduct notorious
plea province enter a plea
kite incident prestigious
treaty primarily theater (2)
hang dominant parliament
impose confirm resistance
prison right (3) violation
consent outbreak foreshadow
iconic consider massacre
spark coercive intolerable
trigger outrage East Indies
option delegate convention
brief congress board (2)
Crown redress grievance
appeal boycott separatist
affect battle constitution
ratify bound (2) anchor (2)


Video (up to 5:45)



On the evening of August 3rd 1492, Christopher Columbus left Spain, bound for the East Indies.

However, he came upon a continent that had previously been unknown to Europeans, a portion of which would later become the United States of America.

In 1492, Columbus sailed the oceans blue.

May 14th 1607, Jamestown, Virginia was established by the Virginia Company of London, which was the first, permanent, English settlement in what would become the United States.

In 1619, slavery was introduced to North America in the colony of Virginia.

While the Mayflower was anchored on the northern tip of Cape Cod, the Mayflower Compact was signed by 41 of the ship’s 101 passengers on November 11th, 1620, according to the Julian Calendar.

Almost half of the colonists were part of a separatist group seeking the freedom to practice Christianity as they determined, and not under the will of the Anglican Church.

.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .

In 1636, Harvard College was founded, the oldest institution of higher learning in the future United States, and one most prestigious in the world.

Between February 1692 and May 1693, a series of hearings and prosecutions of people accused of witchcraft, in colonial Massachusetts, known as the Salem Witch Trials occurred.

Although the most notorious trials were conducted in Salem town, they were conducted across the province, including Andover and Ipswich.

All told, twenty were hanged and five died in prison.

Giles Corry, a full member of the church, was pressed to death for refusing to enter a plea at his trial.

Many years later, on June 15th 1752, Benjamin Franklin conducted his famous kite experiment in Philadelphia, successfully extracting sparks from a cloud.

.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .

The French and Indian War began in 1754, and was the North American theater of the larger Seven Years War.

It was fought primarily between the colonies of Great Britain and New France, and came to an end with the signing of the Treaty of Paris on February 10th, 1763.

The end result was the confirmation of Britain’s position, as the dominant colonial power in the eastern half of North America.

The Stamp Act of 1765 was a direct tax imposed by the British Parliament on the colonies of British America.

It met great resistance in the colonies, including occasional violence. Many colonists considered it a violation of their rights as Englishmen, to be taxed without their consent.

On March 5th, 1770, British Army soldiers killed five civilian men in what is known as the Boston Massacre.

This event is widely viewed as foreshadowing the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War five years later.

On December 16th, 1773, after officials in Boston refused to return three shiploads of taxed tea to Britain, a group of colonists boarded the ships and destroyed the tea by throwing it into the Boston harbor, known as the Boston Tea Party.

The incident was a key event in the growth of the American Revolution, and remains an iconic event of American history.

A series of laws were passed by the British Parliament in 1774, called the Intolerable Acts, or the Coercive Acts, which triggered outrage and resistance in the Thirteen Colonies.

The First Continental Congress was a convention of delegates from twelve of the thirteen colonies that met on September 5th, 1774, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, early in the American Revolution.

The Congress met briefly to consider options, including an economic boycott of British trade, and petitioning King George III for redress of grievances.

Their appeal to the Crown had no effect.

The American Revolutionary War began on April 19th 1775, at the Battles of Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts.

The war would last for eight years and 137 days, ending on September 3rd, 1783.

In 1776, New Hampshire ratified the first state constitution. On May 10th, 1775, delegates from the Thirteen Colonies started meeting in Philadelphia in the Second Continental Congress.

Along with managing the colonial war effort, they also adopted the United States Declaration of Independence the following year, on the fourth of July, 1776.


*     *     *     *     *     *     *


1. It took the English a long time to establish colonies in North America. Yes or no?

2. What were two reasons why English people wanted to settle in North America in the 1600s?

3. Did everyone find complete freedom and liberty in the New World?

4. The French and Indian War (part of the greater Seven Years War) was significant in history. True or false? Why was it very important?

5. The colonists remained content with British rule and loyal to Britain. True or false? What was their biggest complaint or objection to British rule? How did the colonists react?

6. Did the colonist go directly to war with Britain or did they try to negotiate first?

7. Each state conducted its own affairs and war effort alone. Is this correct or wrong?

8. The American Revolutionary War ended in 1776. Yes or no?


A. Why did many European migrate to the New World?

B. Did they can to main or sever ties with Europe?

C. What do you think about taxes? Is this a good reason for armed rebellion?

D. Has your country declared independence from another country or empire? Has a colony or part of your country or empire declared independence?

E. What do you think about independence movements around the world, e.g. Catalonia and the Basque region in Spain; Northern Ireland; Quebec in Canada; Okinawa in Japan?


Comments are closed.