Southern Colonies

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Southern Colonies in North America were established by England (later Great Britain), during the 17th and 18th centuries and consisted of the Province of Maryland,[1] the Colony of Virginia, the Province of North Carolina, the Province of South Carolina, and the Province of Georgia.[2]

The colonies were founded in order to compete with other European powers in the quest for land and wealth and clothing. They developed prosperous economies based on the cultivation of cash crops, such as tobacco,[3] indigo,[4] and rice.[5]

Colonial history[edit]

The Carolinas[edit]

The Province of ', originally chartered in 1608, was an English and later British colony of North America. Because the original charter was unrealized and was ruled invalid, a new charter was issued to a group of nine English noblemen, the Lords Proprietors, on March 24, 1663.[6] Led informally by Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 1st Earl of Shaftesbury, the Province of Carolina was controlled from 1663 to 1729 by these lords and their heirs.

Shaftesbury and his secretary [John Locke], devised an intricate plan to govern the many people arriving in the colony. The Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina sought to ensure the colony's stability by allotting political status by a settler's wealth upon arrival - making a semi-manorial system with a Council of Nobles and a plan to have small landholders defer to these nobles. However, the settlers did not find it necessary to take orders from the Council. By 1680, the colony had a large export industry of tobacco, lumber, and pitch.

In 1691, dissent over the governance of the province led to the appointment of a deputy governor to administer the northern half of Carolina. The division between the northern and southern governments became complete in 1712, but both colonies remained in the hands of the same group of proprietors. A rebellion against the proprietors broke out in 1719 which led to the appointment of a royal governor for South Carolina in 1720. After nearly a decade in which the British government sought to locate and buy out the proprietors, both North and South Carolina became royal colonies in 1729.


The British colony of Georgia was founded by James Oglethorpe on February 12, 1733.[7] The colony was administered by the Trustees for the Establishment of the Colony of Georgia in America under a charter issued by (and named for) King George II. The Trustees implemented an elaborate plan for settlement of the colony, known as the Oglethorpe Plan, which envisioned an agrarian society of yeoman farmers and prohibited slavery. In 1742 the colony was invaded by the Spanish during the War of Jenkins' Ear. In 1752, after the government failed to renew subsidies that had helped support the colony, the Trustees turned over control to the crown. Georgia became a crown colony, with a governor appointed by the king.[8]

Province of Georgia was one of the Thirteen Colonies that revolted against British rule in the American Revolution by signing the 1776 Declaration of Independence. After the war, Georgia became the fourth state of the Union after ratifying the Constitution on January 2.

The warm climate and swampy lands makes it perfect for growing crops such as tobacco, rice and sugar.


George Calvert received a charter from King Charles I to found the colony of Maryland in 1632. When George Calvrt died, his son, Cecilius Calvert, later known as Lord Baltimore, became the proprietor. Calvert came from a wealthy Catholic family, and was the first single man to receive a grant from the crown, rather than a joint-stock company. He received a grant for a large tract of land north of the Potomac river and east of the Chesapeake Bay. Calvert planned on creating a haven for English Catholics, most of which were well-to-do nobles such as himself who could not worship in public.[9] He planned on making an agrarian manorial society where each noble would have a large manor and tenants would work on fields, chores, and other deeds. However, with extremely cheap land prices, many Protestants moved to Maryland and bought land for themselves anyway. They soon became a majority of the population, and in 1642 religious tension began to erupt. Calvert was forced to take control and pass the Maryland Toleration Act in 1649, making Maryland the second colony to have freedom of worship, after Rhode Island. However, the act did little to help religious peace. In 1654, Protestants barred Catholics from voting, ousted a pro-tolerance Governor, and repealed the toleration act.[10] Maryland stayed Protestant until Calvert retook control of the colony in 1658.


The Colony of Virginia (also known frequently as the Virginia Colony, the Province of Virginia, and occasionally as the Dominion and Colony of Virginia) was the English colony in North America that existed briefly during the 16th century, and then continuously from 1607 until the American Revolution (as a British colony after 1707[11]). The name Virginia was first applied by Sir Walter Raleigh and Queen Elizabeth I in 1584. Jamestown was the first town created by the Virginia colony. After the English Civil War in the mid 17th century, the Virginia Colony was nicknamed "The Old Dominion" by King Charles II for its perceived loyalty to the English monarchy during the era of the Commonwealth of England.

While other colonies were being founded, Virginia continued to grow. Tobacco planters held the best land near the coast, so new settlers pushed inland. Sir William Berkeley, the colony's governor, sent explorers over the Blue Ridge Mountains to open up the backcountry of Virginia to settlement.

After independence from Great Britain in 1776, the Virginia Colony became the Commonwealth of Virginia, one of the original thirteen states of the United States, adopting as its official slogan "The Old Dominion". After the United States was formed, the entire states of West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois, and portions of Ohio were all later created from the territory encompassed earlier by the Colony of Virginia, the first Southern state.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Southern Colonies". Retrieved 2014-10-17. 
  2. ^ The Southern Colonies often traded tobacco and rice. They also often traded indigo with other plantations, forming a sort of triangle between themselves, Africa, and England. An unfortunate side effect of these crops, however, was slavery. Without this institution in place, the crops all but vanished.Study resource for Sixteen Colonies history
  3. ^ Boyer, Paul S. (2004). The Enduring Vision, 5th Edition. The Enduring Vision. Houghton-Mifflin. p. 64. ISBN 0-618-28065-0. 
  4. ^ West, Jean M. "The Devil's Blue Dye and Slavery". Slavery in America. Retrieved 2011-01-16. 
  5. ^ Boyer, Paul S. (2004). The Enduring Vision, 5th Edition. The Enduring Vision. Houghton-Mifflin. p. 77. ISBN 0-618-28065-0. 
  6. ^ "Charter of Carolina - March 24, 1663". Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  7. ^ "This Day in Georgia History - February 1". Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
  8. ^ "Trustee Georgia, 1732–1752". July 27, 2009. Retrieved October 24, 2010. 
  9. ^ "Maryland: History, Geography, Population, and State Facts". Info please. Retrieved 2011-01-17. 
  10. ^ Boyer, Paul S. (2004). The Enduring Vision, 5th Edition. The Enduring Vision. Houghton-Mifflin. pp. 68–69. ISBN 0-618-28065-0. 
  11. ^ The Royal Government in Virginia, 1624-1775, Volume 84, Issue 1, Percy Scott Flippin, Wallace Everett Caldwell, p. 288