Talk:British colonization of the Americas

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Work Needed[edit]

The start of this article is a complete mess. Instead of any introductory material, there's a summary of the history of Canada. Eh? While that's undoubtedly important, it is more than adequately covered under Canada.

What is needed here as a minimum is a broad summary of the history of British colonies. The remainder of the article then being purely in list format is adequate. I don't have the knowledge myself to write such an introduction but there must be someone with the ability. If nobody volunteers, I'll remove the Canada paragraph and replace it with a stub intro. Steve Graham (talk) 12:04, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

Rupert's Land and Hudson's Bay Company[edit]

Called Rupert's Land, this gigantic region would become the Northwest Territories.

This is only partly true because part of the Hudson's Bay watershed which was the original definition of Rupert's Land became territory of the United States before Rupert's Land became the Northwest Territories. I am not sure how to write this in the article. Rmhermen 20:01 Apr 15, 2003 (UTC)

This needs a mention of John Cabot who sailed to Newfoundland in the 15th C (from Bristol?) GH

This page is about the colonization of the Americas, not the discovery. The colonization of Newfoundland began more than 110 years after Cabot visited, if he made it there and not Maine, or Nova Scotia or ?? Rmhermen 12:34, Oct 10, 2003 (UTC)

The colonization of newfoundland was made by the vikings at some 1000ad.

Yes, for that see Viking colonization of the Americas part of this series of European colonization of the Americas articles. Rmhermen 20:40, Dec 8, 2003 (UTC)

The article as it now stands, seems to be a glorified laundry list of British colonies in the Americas, with little historical perspective, discussion of reasons, government policy, or overviews. Is there more coming? -- 04:24, 10 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Bermuda and Falklands[edit]

I just moved Bermuda from the Caribbean heading (which is geographically inaccurate; the islands are in the North Atlantic) to the North American section. I also added the Falkland Islands to the South American section; they are close enough to Argentina to justify that categorization.


This article exists and so does a scotish colonization of the americas one- yet Scots are British. Shouldn't there be a English one too or the Scotish one rolled into this one?

No, because the Darrien Scheme occured before the Act of Union - so Scotland was still Scotland at the time. Rmhermen 17:19, Mar 29, 2005 (UTC)
Better yet, there should be three articles: English, Scottish, and British. Categorising the English settlements as being a British accomplishment is incorrect. Equally incorrect would be the categorisation of the British colonisation process after 1707 as being merely an continuation of the previous (English) gains, as would be inferred from the article's course. Many soldiers, colonists, and generals were Scottish, Irish or Scots Irish. A list won't suffice or do justice to all those that served as privates or civilians, so I'll quote the old Canadian national anthem: On Merry England's Far Famed Land / May Kind heaven Sweetly Smile, / God Bless Old Scotland Evermore / and Ireland's Emr'ld Isle! Bastin8 17:27, 2 May 2005 (UTC)


Shouldn't this page be called "British coliniSation of the Americas" as it is dealing with British history? Peregrine981 03:38, July 15, 2005 (UTC)

Receiving no response after 24 hours, I will now move it. Peregrine981 02:04, July 16, 2005 (UTC)
I was tempted to leave it be as it does include American history as well, but after seeing that it was actually spelt colonisation further into the article, I've changed as many as I could see. I only skipped through it though, so I may have missed some. (I am unable to edit the title however). Boico101, 5th August 2010
Right below this section is a discussion on the title of the article -- a consensus was not reached to change to the British spelling. For consistency, the style within the article should agree with the title. Tom (North Shoreman) (talk) 16:19, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
There were very few American spellings in the article however, it does not make sense to have two spellings for the same word in one article. Boico101 (talk) 6th August 2010, 17:31

Requested move[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the proposal was British colonization of the Americas -- > British colonisation of the Americas - British spelling for British history - Peregrine981 02:14, July 16, 2005 (UTC)

Add *Support or *Oppose followed by an optional one-sentence explanation, then sign your vote with ~~~~
  • Oppose. It is probably worth noting that the that the British coloni[s|z]ation of the Americas, would seem to have a valid claim to being related to American history as well. If that was the only issue, I would have been neutral, but the entire Category:Colonization of the Americas seems to have standardized on the 'z', and so I think it should stay that way. Dragons flight 04:50, July 16, 2005 (UTC)
  • Support Philip Baird Shearer 17:10, 16 July 2005 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Agree with Dragons flight. olderwiser 17:18, July 16, 2005 (UTC)
  • Oppose. See below. – AxSkov (T) 02:27, 18 July 2005 (UTC)
  • Support - I originally nominated it. Peregrine981 12:09, July 18, 2005 (UTC)
  • Oppose - It appears to be more than half about the colonies later to become the United States. The philology here is also doubtful; see below. Septentrionalis 20:13, 18 July 2005 (UTC)
  • Oppose - It makes sense that all of the colonization articles should be spelled the same way. Coemgenus 22:56, 18 July 2005 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Gene Nygaard 08:59, 19 July 2005 (UTC)
  • Oppose. As this is both British and American history, the spelling should be that of earliest substantial edits, per Wikipedia:Manual of Style. —Lowellian (talk) 04:23, July 22, 2005 (UTC)

It was requested that this article be renamed but there was no consensus for it be moved. Talrias (t | e | c) 10:57, 22 July 2005 (UTC)


Add any additional comments

It is probably worth noting that the that the British coloni[s|z]ation of the Americas, would seem to have a valid claim to being related to American history as well. If that was the only issue, I would have been neutral, but the entire Category:Colonization of the Americas seems to have standardized on the 'z', and so I think it should stay that way. Dragons flight 04:50, July 16, 2005 (UTC)

It is related to American history, and that is a significant portion of the article, but the article also deals with equally with Canada, Newfoundland, the Caribbean, and South America. The unifying factor is the British involvement, not the American. Standardisation is really irrelevant to Wikipedia, since anyone can type in whatever their spelling is, and be redirected. The only relevant standard that I know of is, "Articles that focus on a topic specific to a particular English-speaking country should generally conform to the spelling of that country. " Peregrine981 06:50, July 16, 2005 (UTC)
Another principle is deference to the original author's spelling. Inasmuch as the article is NOT specific to a single country, there's no compelling reason to move. olderwiser 17:18, July 16, 2005 (UTC)
It is about a single country -- Britain -- otherwise it would be entitled "Colonization of the Americas" -- Philip Baird Shearer 15:08, 17 July 2005 (UTC)
Looks to me as though it is about Britain AND all of its various colonies and former colonies the new world. Actually, I just took another look at it and there is nothing in it at all about "Britain" proper. olderwiser 15:24, July 17, 2005 (UTC)
British colonisation of the Americas not only includes the US but also Canada – who prefer the "-ize" suffix – and is an integral part of both those nations' histories. Also a side note, according to stats: about 30 - 40 pc of Britons prefer -ize over -ise. – AxSkov (T) 02:27, 18 July 2005 (UTC)
Peregrine981's attempt to turn it into a world vs. United States issue falls on its face when the standard spelling in Canada including Newfoundland is -ize. I have no information on what Belise uses--oops, make that Belize (no, I'm not claiming that spelling is relevant to this argument, just pointing out a coincidence). Furthermore, there is that little bit about -ize being the Oxford Guide to Style spelling and used by a significant number of Britons. We also have the claim by Septentrionalis below that the -ise spelling came after this colonization was done. Gene Nygaard 09:17, 19 July 2005 (UTC)

Statistics is a wonderful discipline :-) CE is used in the majority of ex-British colonies in the new world! However this is not the reason I think it should be changed. I support the original author in most cases like this, (eg Talk:theatre) but in this case I think national interest takes precedent as the article is about British colonies. If it was called "colonization of the 13 American colonies" or "colonization of Canada" then I would not be arguing for colonisation. Philip Baird Shearer 08:23, 18 July 2005 (UTC)

This article is about British policy and actions concerning British people settling in the Americas. It is clearly centred on the British involvement in the area, we have other articles to deal with more native history, ie. Colonial America, Pre-Confederation_history_of_Canada, History of Jamaica etc... In the era of history this article deals with, there was little identity in these colonies beyond British. Peregrine981 12:16, July 18, 2005 (UTC)
This is a fallacious argument. The OED lists the word under -ize (which it has always preferred, on straight etymological grounds: "But the suffix itself, whatever the element to which it is added, is in its origin the Gr. ιζειν , L. -izāre; and, as the pronunciation is also with z, there is no reason why in English the special French spelling should be followed, in opposition to that which is at once etymological and phonetic." It is not a national mark. The OED's earliest quotations are The farther occupation and colonizing of those countries. from Bacon and Our growth by colonization, and by conquest. from Edmund Burke. Colonise is a late eighteenth-century innovation, not used by the subjects of this article. Septentrionalis 20:13, 18 July 2005 (UTC)
The argument is not whether or not British spelling should adopt the -ize suffix. As things stand, the British standard is to use -ise. Linguistic developments from as far back as the late 18th century are pretty well established by this point. Entire written languages have been standarised in the time since then. Any rate, all of that is a different discussion.
This article deals with British history, British people, and the British government. Therefore, I think we should use British spelling. However, it doesn't seem that is the way the wind is blowing. Peregrine981 13:09, July 19, 2005 (UTC)
This article deals with the history and people of BOTH Britain and the Americas, not just Britain. —Lowellian (talk) 04:26, July 22, 2005 (UTC)

I'm sorry, someone tried to edit this page (i left myself logged in on a public computer) i tried to reverse it, but it now says template:euroamericas at the top. I dont know why. Could someone fix it, I'm sorry Theglobeismyeye 19:28, 5 June 2007 (UTC)

Proposed merge[edit]

No reason was given when this tag was added. Content is similar in both articles.

I think that the British North America article could probably be usefully expanded and I think that Canadians would probably oppose this merge. Rmhermen 14:42, 19 September 2005 (UTC)
Yes, I would oppose such a merge: the two articles/terms are not synonymous, especially in a Canadian context. To that end, the BNA article should be enhanced. E Pluribus Anthony 05:09, 23 September 2005 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Removal of Newfoundland[edit]

The reasons for removing St. John's Newfoundland as a British colony are not valid. A colony is defined as "a territory under the immediate political control of a geographically-distant state". The definition of a colony defines no limit on the amount of people or buildings located in the colony. Early English colonies were granted only by Royal Charter of the reigning English Monarch.

St. John's received its Royal Charter in 1578 from Queen Elizabeth I. It was patented on August 5th, 1583 by Sir Humphrey Gilbert, making St, John's the first English overseas colony click here. Jcmurphy 13:41, 27 September 2005 (UTC)

Gilbert receive a piece of paper allowing him to start a colony, he scouted a location for one then died. He did not ever start a colony, transport any inhabitants or build any building, engage in any trade, etc.
"Humphrey Gilbert's visit to St. John's in 1583 is sometimes misunderstood as an effort at Newfoundland colonization, but it was not. Gilbert had plans to exploit "Norumbega", that is, the coast of Maine. St. John's was just a port where he found it convenient to supplement his lean provisions by bullying the European fishermen he found there."Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage Web Site Project by Memorial University of Newfoundland website Rmhermen 13:33, 29 September 2005 (UTC)

Yes Gilbert recieved a paper of paper, that piece of paper was the Royal Charter, issued by Queen Elizabeth I of England, claiming Newfoundland as a colony of England. Gilbert never established a 'plantation' because his ship was sunk on the return voyage. Still, according to the definition of a colony, Newfoudland was a colony. Colonies dont need people, read the definition of a colony. See Encarta Encyclopaedia and and Columbia EncyclopaediaJcmurphy 14:10, 29 September 2005 (UTC)

Claiming a piece of land for England and having the right to start a colony is not the same as actually starting one. Please read the Wikipedia article on colony. This article is not about who claimed which piece of land when. Notice no mention of John Cabot, Martin Frobisher, John Davis, Henry Hudson, etc. It is about who settled where and when. Hence no St. Johns in 1583. Please read the links provided in Humphrey Gilbert article which show that he was not attempting to start a colony anywhere on the 1583 trip. Rmhermen 14:36, 29 September 2005 (UTC)

According to the Wikipedia article, a colony is "a territory under the immediate political control of a geographically-distant state" and according to the Oxford dictionary a colony is "A region politically controlled by a distant country; a dependency. ". English colonies were only established by issue of the English crown under Royal perogative, hence John Cabot, Martin Frobisher, John Davis, Henry Hudson did not recieve a Royal Charter to establish a colony. According to the definition of a colony, colonies dont need to transport any inhabitants or build any building, engage in any trade, etc. Humphrey Gilbert was under Royal perogative to claim Newfoundland as Enlgand's first colony in 1583, whether or not people settled or built buildings is irrelevant, as a colony doesn't need either according to its definition. I think you are confusing colony with plantation. Jcmurphy 15:06, 29 September 2005 (UTC)

I believe that you are confusing territory with colony. It is obvious that we will not reach an agreement between ourselves so I have listed a Request for Comments to bring in other's opinions. Rmhermen 21:20, 29 September 2005 (UTC)

Read both sides to this argument, and have to agree that the current edit should be appropriate. Based on the definition of a colony (in Wiktionary), there is no need for a colony to have settlers or a settlement. It is only a piece of land governed by a foreign power. As such it seems to be that St. John's, Newfoundland was the first colony in 1583, although not settled until the 1620's. Dbalderzak 04:15, 30 September 2005 (UTC)

Under that reasoning then it would have to be in 1497 when John Cabot sailing under letters patent from the king set foot somewhere in Newfoundland, possibly even St. John's and claimed it in the name of the king. But that is not consistant with the meaning of colony which always includes a population. We do not talk about a colony of seabirds where there are no birds or a colony of Englishmen where there are no people. Rmhermen 14:49, 1 October 2005 (UTC)

The meaning of a colony doesn't include a population. See the definition of a colony in Wiktionary and Wikipedia. As noted above a colony is a region politically controlled by a distant country. Dbalderzak 14:58, 1 October 2005 (UTC)

I mean no disrespect to the folks who maintain Wiktionary, but I think it may be a little disingenuous to Wiktionary (or the Wikipedia colony article) as the sole justification for maintain that colony does not include population. A quick check of definitions in other dictionaries ALL either explicitly or implicitly describe a colony as a populated area.
Oxford American
1. an area of land settled or conquered by a distant nation 
   and controlled by it, the American Colonies.
2. its inhabitants.
3. a group of colonists.
4. people of one nationality or occupation etc. living in a 
   particular area, the area itself, th artists' colony.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
   1. a. A group of emigrants or their descendants who settle 
         in a distant territory but remain subject to or closely 
         associated with the parent country.
      b. A territory thus settled.
  2. A region politically controlled by a distant country; 
     a dependency.
  3. a. A group of people with the same interests or ethnic 
        origin concentrated in a particular area: the American 
        colony in Paris.
     b. The area occupied by such a group.
  4. Colonies The British colonies that became the original 
     13 states of the United States.
  5. A group of people who have been institutionalized in a 
     relatively remote area: an island penal colony.
  6. Ecology. A group of the same kind of animals, plants, or 
     one-celled organisms living or growing together.
  7. Microbiology. A visible growth of microorganisms, usually 
     in a solid or semisolid nutrient medium.
WordNet ® 2.0, © 2003 Princeton University
1. a body of people who settle far from home but maintain ties 
   with their homeland; inhabitants remain nationals of their 
   home state but are not literally under the home state's system 
   of government [syn: settlement] 
2. a group of animals of the same type living together 
3. one of the 13 British colonies that formed the original states 
   of the United States [syn: Colony] 
4. a geographical area politically controlled by a distant country 
   [syn: dependency] 
5. (microbiology) a group of organisms grown from a single parent cell
Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
1 a : a body of people living in a new territory but retaining ties 
      with the parent state 
  b : the territory inhabited by such a body
2 : a distinguishable localized population within a species <colony 
      of termites>
3 a : a circumscribed mass of microorganisms usually growing in or on 
      a solid medium 
  b : the aggregation of zooids of a compound animal
4 a : a group of individuals or things with common characteristics or 
    interests situated in close association <an artist colony> 
  b : the section occupied by such a group
5 : a group of persons institutionalized away from others <a leper 
      colony> <a penal colony>; also : the land or buildings occupied 
      by such a group
And so on. Point is that merely laying claim to a territory (or even being granted a charter by some faraway sovereign who otherwise had no authority to give grants over the territory) doesn't establish a colony per se. Control of an area implies a permanent (or at least periodic) presence of persons. Even the etymology of the term (from L. colonia "settled land, farm, landed estate" in turn from colere "to inhabit, cultivate, frequent, practice, tend, guard, respect") implies settlement, rather than simply making a nominal claim to an area. At best, Humphrey Gilbert merits a note of having the first charter to establish a colony, an objective which he did not accomplish. olderwiser 16:13, 1 October 2005 (UTC)

Thank you Bkonrad for proving my point. As you have noted above in The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, 2. and WordNet ® 2.0, © 2003 Princeton University, 4. a colony can have settlers but doesn't specifically require settlers to be a colony. Dbalderzak 16:23, 1 October 2005 (UTC)

Um, sorry, but I don't see that. Any "control" by a faraway power fairly implies the presence, either permanent or at least periodically, of persons. Where there are no persons present to exercise ongoning control over an area, there is no colony. olderwiser 16:28, 1 October 2005 (UTC)

Dictionary definitions dont imply anything. As the dictionary states, a colony is under political control of a foreign government. There is no connotation that people have to be present. If it requires only a periodical presence then what time frame qualifies as periodic? Such implications are not stated in the definition of a colony, and thus are meaningless. Dbalderzak 17:13, 1 October 2005 (UTC)

In order to have any significance, political control entails a body politic, or people. There absolutely is a connotation that people are necessary. Without people exercising practical control over an area, there is only a paper claim. My use of periodic was merely a shorthand for intermitent with a frequency sufficient to enforce control. Such implications are most certainly present in the definitions. A claim of control over an area without any actual enforcement of such claim does not make a colony. Again, look at the etymology of the term. olderwiser 17:30, 1 October 2005 (UTC)

Are you saying that to be a colony, that a land doesnt require permanent settlers, just a periodic presence of a person exhibiting political control?? Dbalderzak 17:34, 1 October 2005 (UTC)

The presence of people is necessary, but colonization can follow a couple of courses. In one case a colonizing power may exercise control over a foreign populace without necessarily having any permanent settlers from the parent power. In a second case, the colonizing power sends permanent settlers to colonize an area. But in both cases a population needs to be present in the colony over which the colonizing powers exercises political control. olderwiser 17:47, 1 October 2005 (UTC)

Then according to the first case you have listed St. Johns' would be a colony. Even thought it didnt have permanent settlers in 1583, seasonal cod fishermen had frequented Newfoundland since 1497. Gilbert's political claim to Newfoundland was exerted by the Fishing Admirals of England's West Country which had excluded all other nations from the east coast of Newfoundland by 1620. Dbalderzak 18:04, 1 October 2005 (UTC)

No, I don't think so. I phrased the first case poorly. The "foreign populace" over which the colonizing power exercises political control is residential, not transient. I.e., the populace is foreign to the colonizing power, but it is native (or at least resident) to the colonized area. Domination of the fishing waters does make a stronger case for British control over the area, but a colony without settlement is meaningless, and runs directly countrary nearly all common definition of the word as well as its etymological origins. olderwiser 18:49, 1 October 2005 (UTC)
Perhaps we can come to a compromise. St. John's Newfoundland was the first English colony but Jamestown was the first English settlement. In 1578, Queen Elizabeth gave a patent to Sir Humphrey Gilbert to "inhabit and possess at his choice all remote and heathen lands not in the actual possession of any Christian prince." John Cabot only had the power to explore lands, he never had the authority to claim lands for England. King Henry VII of England gave Cabot a grant "full and free authoritie, leave, and power, to sayle to all partes, countreys, and seas, of the East, of the West, and of the North, under our banners and ensignes, with five ships ... and as many mariners or men as they will have in saide ships, upon their own proper costes and charges, to seeke out, discover, and finde, whatsoever iles, countreyes, regions or provinces of the heathen and infidelles, whatsoever they bee, and in what part of the world soever they be, whiche before this time have beene unknowen to all Christians."

Gilbert's shipwreck prevented his exhibiting control over Newfoundland. Since the early 1500's, English fishermen under the political power of the Fishing Admiral returned each summer to Newfoundland and by 1620 they excluded other nations from the east coast of Newfoundland. Jcmurphy 18:16, 1 October 2005 (UTC)

This is selective quoting as Cabot's letter patent continue on and say: "And'that the aforesayd Iohn and his sonnes, or their heires and assignee may subdue, occupy and possesse all such townes, cities, castles and isles of them found, which they can subdue, occupy and possesse, as our vassals, and lieutenants, getting vnto vs the rule, title, and jurisdiction of the same villages, townes, castles, & firme land so found." Which sounds like authority to claim lands for England. Rmhermen 02:39, 1 December 2005 (UTC)
I think the most that can be said of Gilbert in Newfoundland is that it was a failed attempt to establish a colony. He made a claim and nothing much ever came of it except a lot of hooing and hawing about who was first. But to be honest, I don't object to the current phrasing in this article: St. John's, Newfoundland claimed for England by Sir Humphrey Gilbert in 1583; settled unsuccessfully in 1610; informal settlements by 1627. olderwiser 18:49, 1 October 2005 (UTC)

I agree fully. It's just that several published reference books state that Gilbert was the first to colonize North America. Perhaps, this is not the correct place to argue for that one way or the other. I just felt that there should be some reference to Gilbert in this article. The current phrasing is fine. Jcmurphy 21:58, 1 October 2005 (UTC) If you think the Native Amercans had it bad, think about the slaves later brought in to replace the Natives.


On 15 December, the article British colonization of the Americas was moved to here without any justification or debate. It was moved by a user with only four other edits under his or her belt, and, therefore, it is likely that it was done without knowledge of the necessity of debate and consensus or near-consensus.

As I stated a year ago (here), this page should be separated into two: English colonisation of the Americas (for pre-1707) and British colonisation of the Americas (for post-1707), with suitable links between them and with the Scottish page. Is there anyone opposed to that? Bastin8 12:32, 13 May 2006 (UTC)

I disagree with splitting the page. There is no good reason to discuss the same people colonizing the same places in two different articles merely because the name of their mother country changed. Few of the colonies were started after the name change, there is no reason to believe that any of the control, or ownership of the colonies was altered by the name change, and the new article would have to go through and re-discusse all the continuing colonies that had already been started before the name change. A needless duplication of effort. Better to leave this as British and discuss all the colonies in one place. If anything, find a way to add a mention of the one Scottish post-merger colony here. Rmhermen 01:45, 14 May 2006 (UTC)
First, it wasn't a name change; the Act of Union ended England and Scotland, and created a different country.
Second, most British colonies were started after 1707: Nova Scotia (including modern NB and PE), Georgia (including AL and MS), Turks and Caicos, Dominica, Florida, Grenada, Québec (including ON), Saint Vincent, Tobago, West Florida, Trinidad, Guyana, Saint Lucia, Falkland Islands, Vancouver Island, British Columbia.
Third, there was no 'Scottish post-merger colony', since Scotland ceased to be a state after 1707. So, for that matter, did England. Thus, to treat the United Kingdom as if it is the same as England is ridiculous. Bastin8 14:29, 14 May 2006 (UTC)

Re: Newfoundland and 1605[edit]

One or two anonymous user/s has added a book source and a date of 1605 for informal settlement. I do not have access to that book and perhaps because he/she has a dynamic IP, they did not get the message I left them. I asked for clarification of what exact claim the book makes and note that it is not written by a trained/professional historian. I also note that I can find no online claim for this early date. For instance the The Early Settlement of St. John's, by Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage Web Site Project hosted at Memorial University of Newfoundland can be expected to be a good source and does not make this claim. In fact they state: "There is one record, in an early Cornish account book, of what sounds like an over-wintering caretaker in Conception Bay in 1609 (a year before John Guy's colony at Cupids). It is sometimes claimed that English fishing ships regularly left winter crews behind at this time, but there is no other evidence for this. In fact, the suggestion seems unlikely." Rmhermen 13:00, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

Article mostly just lists[edit]

I found this page and hoped to find more information about why the British began to colonize in the first place, information on what kinds of people emigrated, information on enclosure in England creating landless poor, the English Civil War, and so on. But the article is more than half lists. The text is very wide focus and terse.

There seems to be much more information on the how and why of colonization at Colonial America, but unfortunately that article is only about the region that began the United States (although it is not restricted to British colonization, even if it overfocuses on the British).

So many wikipedia articles are little more than lists. Even the text of this article reads like a list of facts. I'd love to see more about why and how the British began colonizing, why they colonized the places they did. What kind of people emigrated and why. Rivalry between London and Bristol? There is a sentence or two in this article about the effect of the American Revolution on the British colonial system, but what about the English Civil War? Why were so many British people willing to emigrate? Etc. short, lists of facts are useful in a dictionary-type way, but not very explanatory. Pfly 14:44, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

Colonial Extents[edit]

The article says that British American colonies "came to rival the Spanish American colonies in extent" Weren't Portuguese colonies as big, or even bigger?KAAAAAAAAAABBBBBBBBBCCCCCCCCCCCCCDDDDDDDDDDDDEEEEEEEEEEEEFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFGGGGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

English colonisation[edit]

Surely colonies founded before the Act of Union should be described in a seperate article about English colonisation? The Scots and Welsh have their own info pages, why doesn't England? Lenzar 14:40, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

The Union proclamation to established the United Kingdom of Great Britain took place in 1707 to bring an end to independent Scotland and Wales, and included their colonies into the British (English) fold. This article on British colonization is based on England though, but has continued on to become that of the "British empire". + (talk) 11:56, 13 April 2008 (UTC)
England's independence was also ended though. This seems to be recurring problem that I have noticed, that people treat the UK as England. This is incorrect and it is worrying that people think this. It's like saying the USA is only California. Boico101 16:30 5th August 2010.

Failed British Colonial attempts[edit]

It's a little known fact that British explorer Sir Francis Drake first landed on California north of San Francisco in 1541 and declared the land Nova Albion but never managed to colonize the US west coast, but there was a "secret seaport" in San Francisco where British ships guard their claim masked by daily fog for over 200 years until the Spanish discovered the San Francisco Bay area in the 1760s.

Also the British never took full control of Oregon Country (the present-day states of Oregon, parts of Idaho and Washington state) with the land dispute between contenders: French, Spanish, Russian and finally American claims over Oregon lasted for two centuries until the 1840's the British agreed to give the land to the U.S. (see the Provisional Government of Oregon). + (talk) 11:54, 13 April 2008 (UTC)


This article either does not give any actual reasons for the colonization, or it is just very good at keeping it hidden. I do no know the reasons, but someone does and should to a bit to clarify. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 04:25, 5 February 2007 (UTC).

I agree. I know one of the colonies was established by English Seperatists fleeing the Act of Uniformity (Plymouth Colony). I think tobacco and the search for precious minerals were reasons but I don't think Yahoo! Answers is a citable resource. holizz (talk) 16:26, 29 March 2011 (UTC)

Proposed edit : Third paragraph in introductory section[edit]

The third paragraph/line is in essence a repetition of the second. Though it is not word for word repetitive, the meaning conveyed by the respective paragraphs is, in my opinion, virtually identical. I thus propose the removal of the third paragraph and that "..or were incorporated into the colonial system." be added to the conclusion of the second paragraph. (Atchy007 14:44, 18 April 2007 (UTC))

Inappropriate link redirect[edit]

In the final paragraph of the introduction, the "royal colonies" link redirects to "British Overseas Territories", which is not at all what is meant by "royal colonies" in the context of this article. 22:05, 22 April 2007 (UTC)


I have assessed this as Start Class, as it contains more detail and organization than would be expected of a Stub, and of mid importance, as I do feel that the subject of this article plays a strong role in the understanding of Canada. Cheers, CP 01:18, 5 November 2007 (UTC)

british AND english?![edit]

theres a section on English colonization, and then on Scottish, and then on BRITISH. correct me if i'm wrong, but British and English are the same thing. these two sections should be merged, methinks (talk) 04:43, 19 March 2008 (UTC)

>British and English are the same thing.

Most certainly not, The United Kingdom (called Britain by some) is going through changes. With Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish parliaments the path to a break up and independents is set. This is a good thing as it will reduce the burden on the English tax payers England will then have it own parliament and work for it self in the European Union. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:33, 16 June 2008 (UTC)

Hahahahahahaha! Well, it's really more tragedy, than comedy, so I shouldn't really laugh. No, British and English are not the same. The Act of Union 1707, which founded the Kingdom of Great Britain, merged the two. Due to the importance of the Darien scheme to Union and the importance of the Union to the development of Atlantic Canada, it is only right that they are separate. Bastin 14:00, 16 June 2008 (UTC)

Map is Wrong[edit]

I've noticed on the map of North America that Florida is shaded red which denotes it was colonized by the British. I am sorry but this is incorrect. Florida as it stood, was colonized and administered by the Spanish Conquistadors from the 1500's until 1819 when it was sold to the United States. Obviously, this map is inaccurate and it needs to be changed. -- (talk) 04:52, 12 May 2009 (UTC)

Florida was British from 1761 to 1783.Skookum1 (talk) 15:21, 12 May 2009 (UTC)
Although the map in question is gone (didn't note if Florida's on it) the one that's there now - the pole-to-pole global view - doesn't have the Pacific Northwest north of the 42nd Parallel (Oregon-Washington) and west of the Continental Divide (Idaho and western Montana). The scale is too small to show the British lease of the southeastern Alaska Panhandle and teh British base at Callao perhaps is not significant enough, nor the HBC store at San Francisco (which was never a claim, mind you). Wasn't there also a more extensive British claim on the Caribbean shore of Central America, or which Belize/British Honduras is/was only a remnant?Skookum1 (talk) 01:54, 2 March 2010 (UTC)
The caption could be clearer too. "Britain in the Americas"? What does that mean? Pfly (talk) 05:57, 2 March 2010 (UTC)

Rewriting history[edit]

The United States was never a British colony. It was an English colony. I surmise the name has been changed here to suit modern (British) tastes and terminology, and perhaps makes everything more linear. But it's wrong. To draw a comparison, we don't say Britannia was once part of the Italian Empire, although Rome today is the capital of Italy.

Britain implies more than just England, and thus muddles the history of colonial America when altered. The original colonists were (for a while, at least) primarily English, and distinct among settlers of other ethnic and national origins. Gotmywaderson (talk) 07:31, 19 February 2010 (UTC)

The first line of the article is "British colonization of the Americas (including colonization sponsored by the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland before the 1707 Acts of Union created the Kingdom of Great Britain)", and there are sub-heading under 'North America' for 'English colonies in North America', 'Scottish colonies in North America' and 'British colonies in North America'. So the article does address the different stages of colonisation by the various 'British' Kingdoms (eg England, Scotland and Great Britain). Myrin1 (talk) 09:10, 19 February 2010 (UTC)


Hawaii is isolated in the Pacific Ocean and is nearly 2,000 miles from any continent. It is not logically a part of the Americas. Nor was it a colony of Great Britain. However a last colony founded should be added to the lede in place of Hawaii. Nitpyck (talk) 21:24, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

England, Scotland and Britain[edit]

An anon keeps trying to change this to England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland; however, Wales and Ireland never founded any colonies while the three countries originally mentioned did found colonies discussed in this article. This is not a sentence discusses the origins of the colonists but the national owners of the colonies - as described in the text of the article and mentioned above in this talk page.

Additionally the want to change a statement to the 20th century - while we see 1791 and 1867 as important dates for advances in Canada's self-rule as the first example I looked at. Rmhermen (talk) 01:51, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

Wales was just a province or England from 1535 to 1955 and played a major role in founding colonies, as did Ireland from 1801 onwards. It was World War I that led to British and French colonies being given greater self-government; there were numerous British colonies in the Caribbean. ( (talk) 14:37, 1 September 2012 (UTC))

this is simply incorrect. We are not listing every county or village that settlers came from we are only listing the countries which controlled/owned/founded the colony. Those are only England and after the union, Britain and Scotland with the Darrien project. Ireland and Wales as countries never had any colonies. Rmhermen (talk) 15:01, 6 September 2012 (UTC)

Ireland and Wales had the same colonies as England and Scotland. Wales and Ireland played integral roles in building the British Empire. Most soldiers in the British army were Irish. ( (talk) 15:59, 6 September 2012 (UTC))

But Wales and Ireland did not individually have colonies in the Americas, they were annexed by a country which did. Whether or not Irish and/or Welsh people played a role in the development of the colonies, they were British colonies and they played those roles as British citizens. When the Romans invaded Britain we don't say that the Greeks did, despite the fact that they were under Roman rule and there's every chance there were Greek conscripts in the invading army now do we? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:21, 7 March 2013 (UTC)

England and Wales had been under the same Crown since 1300s and legally one country with the same legal system since the 1540s. Ireland was under the same Crown but not formally joined to the United Kingdom until 1801. Scotland had the same Crown since 1603 and became part of the United Kingdom in 1707. So "English colonies" were both English and Welsh. Ireland did not set up separate colonies but Irish people were involved in some British colonies before the Union with the United Kingdom. Scotland had set up some colonies before the Union. Dabbler (talk) 21:24, 7 March 2013 (UTC)

map issues[edit]

This map should have the rest of the Columbia District on it, also the lost areas of Rupert's Land now in the US (the Red River Valley) and the old more southerly Maine boundary. Also seems to me that Belize's boundary was claimed as larger until the deal establishing today's division between what was British Honduras and Spanish Honduras. I didn't look close but is Jamaica coloured red as it should be? Also doesn't seem much point to use the whole New World as the basemap, since there's nothing south of Guyana..... unless proxy colonialism in Uruguay or things like the old Royal Navy bases on the Pacific at Callao and..somewhere in Chile...are to be included.Skookum1 (talk) 05:52, 11 October 2014 (UTC)

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