In 1607, people seeking wealth founded the first successful English Colony of Jamestown in present day Virginia. Thirteen years later, people seeking religious freedom founded the Plymouth Bay Colony in present day Massachusetts. From the success of these two colonies grew 13 English colonies in America. These colonies were settled largely by people seeking new economic opportunities (wealth) and religious freedom.
The thirteen English colonies are generally studied as three distinct colonial regions: The Southern Colonies, the Middle Colonies, and the New England Colonies. We study the thirteen colonies this way, because the colonies in each region had similar geographic characteristics that differed from the colonies in the other two regions. Additionally, those geographic characteristics influenced all other aspects of life in the regions.
As more people came to America, trade between the old world and the new world increased. Raw materials, manufactured goods and people were bought and sold between America, Europe and Africa through a system known as triangular trade. This system helped to make America incredibly profitable, but it also helped establish a system of slavery in America.
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