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A proprietary colony was a colony in which one or two Individuals, usually land owners, remaining subject to their parent state's sanctions, retained rights that are today regarded as the privilege of the state, and in all cases eventually became so.
This type of colonial government, based on the county palatine and resembling feudal grants of fiefs in exchange for service was used by England's colonization along the Atlantic coasts of North America and the Caribbean.
Most were run under a colonial charter agreement, which was reviewed by the ruling monarch. A good example is the Province of Pennsylvania, granted to William Penn (the state still bears the name meaning "woodlands of Penn") by King Charles II of England.
This type of indirect rule eventually fell out of favor as the colonies became established and administrative difficulties eased. The English sovereigns sought to concentrate their power and authority and the colonies were converted to crown colonies, i.e. governed by officials appointed by the King, replacing the people the King had previously appointed and under different terms.
In medieval times, it was customary in Continental Europe for a sovereign to grant almost regal powers of government to the feudal lords of his border districts, so as to prevent foreign invasion. These districts or manors were often called palatinates or counties palatine, because the lord dwelled in a palace, or wielded the power of the king in his palace. His power was regal in kind, but inferior in degree to that of the king.
This type of arrangement had been made in Norman times for certain English border counties. These territories were known as counties palatine and they lasted at least in part to 1830 and for good reason: remoteness, poor communications, governance carried out under difficult circumstances. The monarch and his or her government, retained its usual right to separate head and body, figuratively or literally, at any time. (see also the hereditary title marquess.)
Proprietary colonies in America were governed by a lord proprietor, who, holding authoriity by virtue of a royal charter, usually exercised that authority almost as an independent sovereign. Eventually, these were converted to royal colonies.
British America colonies before the American Revolution
- Virginia Colony
- Province of Georgia
- Province of Carolina (which was divided in 1712 into the Province of North Carolina and the Province of South Carolina
- Province of Pennsylvania (aka Pennsylvania Colony)-Granted to William Penn in 1681.
- Proprietors of Maine: John Mason, 1622 to 1635; Sir Ferdinando Gorges, incumbent
- Proprietor of New Somersetshire: Sir Ferdinando Gorges, 1635–1647
- Province of Maryland – Granted by Charles I of England to Cæcilius Calvert (Cecil), 2nd Baron Baltimore in the Peerage of Ireland, and continued of a dynasty of Barons of Baltimore (except the last incumbent) 20 June 1632 – 11 November 1776
- Province of New York (1664–1685)
- Province of New Jersey
- Delaware Colony - and see History of Delaware
- Proprietor of Nova Scotia, 10 September 1621 – 12 June 1632 Sir William Alexander, (from 1633) Earl of Stirling and Viscount of Canada (b. 1567–d. 1640)
In 1603, Henry IV, the King of France, granted Pierre Du Gua de Monts the exclusive right to colonize lands in North America between 40°–60° North latitude. The King also gave Dugua a monopoly in the fur trade for these territories and named him Lieutenant General for Acadia and New France. In return, Dugua promised to bring 60 new colonists each year to what would be called l'Acadie. In 1607 the monopoly was revoked and the colony failed, but in 1608 he sponsored Champlain to open a colony at Quebec.
The Iles Glorieuses, i.e. Glorioso Islands, were on 2 March 1880 settled and named by Frenchman Hippolyte Caltaux (b. 1847–d. after 1907), who was their proprietor from then till 1891. Only on 23 August 1892 they were claimed for the French Third Republic, as part of the Indian Ocean colony of French Madagascar.
However he was again their proprietor from 1901 till his death in 1907.
On 26 June 1960 they became a regular French possession, initially administered by the High Commissioner for Réunion, on 3 January 2005 transferred to the administrators of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands.
- English colonial empire
- Proprietary governor
- Proprietary House
- Colonial government in America
- Settler colonialism
- Quia Emptores
- Bernard Vincent, La période coloniale in États-*Unis peuple et culture, 2004, ISBN 2-7071-4260-3
- Osgood, H. L. American Historical Review, July, 1897, p. 644
- Elson, Henry William, History of the United States of America, The MacMillan Company, New York, 1904. Chapter IV
- Osgood, Herbert L. “The Proprietary Province as a Form of Colonial Government.” Part I. American Historical Review 2 (July 2010): 644-64; Part 495. vol 3 (October 1897): 31-55; Part III. vol 3 (January 1898): 244-65.