History of New England

From Roses, Tulips, & Liberty

The inhabitants of New England prior to European colonization were the Algonquian speaking groups, most notably the Penobscot, Narragansetts, Pocumtucks, Abnakis, and Wampanoags. In the early 1600s, French, Dutch, and English traders began exploring the area of New England and traded metal, glass, and cloth for local beaver pelts.

17th Century

In 1616, English explorer named the region "New England." New England was initially composed of multiple colonies in the 17th century, the first of which was the Massachusetts Bay colony with its capital Boston established in 1630. Eventually, more colonies would be created in the 19th century.

Second Anglo-Dutch War and the Treaty of Breda

The Second Anglo-Dutch War and the Treaty of Breda (1667) The Second Anglo-Dutch War (1664-1667) was a conflict that England fought against a Franco-Dutch alliance over a trade dispute. The English lost the war. The resulting treaty, the Treaty of Breda (1667), forms the basis of New England's modern-day borders. New England lost land west of the Versche River to New Netherland, while they gain the land colloquially known as the "New England Panhandle" from New France in exchange of dropping English claims in Acadie. The New England panhandle did not become part of any colony and was instead went directly under crown rule.

The New England Royal Charter (1670)

The humiliating defeat of New England resulted in fears of France and the Dutch Republic eventually dominating eastern America. This prompted the English crown to consolidate the multiple colonies of New England through a royal charter in 1670, similar to what was done in Virginia. Under the new charter, the colonies still enjoyed a degree of autonomy for domestic affairs, but a central New England government was in charge of the military. The colonies were initially skeptical of the new structure, but the terms were amicable to most settlers. Over the rest of the 16th and early 17th centuries, the power of individual colonies would eventually wane and a new distinct New England identity would form.

Establishment of Masonia (1670)

In 1671, the New England panhandle would become the State of Masonia, named after John Mason who initially owned land patents in the panhandle prior to the 16th century. This new state would be different from the other colonies in that it was under the direct control of the New England government, and not any of the other colonies.

18th Century

The 18th century for New England was a time of relative peace. Most of the raids and battles against the various Algonquins in the frontier regions have stopped by the 1710s. During Prince Maurice's War in 1750, New England invaded and successfully occupied the province of Acadie, New France, but was eventually returned to France after the war.

19th Century

Tensions between New Netherland

The 19th century saw tensions between New England and the newly independent New Netherland rise. New Netherland had ambitions in the New England area, to which New England responded by fortifying their eastern borders in Connecticut. During the Canton War in 1850, the New Netherland army marched from Güdehüp (Hartford) in an attempt to capture the state of Connecticut, which resulted in the Battle of Connecticut in 1853. The New England army emerged victorious in the battle, and proceeded to siege the New Netherland town of Güdehüp, but were unsuccessful and led to a military stalemate. The war resulted in status quo for New England and New Netherland, and no territories were exchanged. Nonetheless, New Netherland and New England tensions remained high, and this increased their dependence on Britain for protection.

Virginian loyalists flee to New England

The independence of the Republic of Virginia in 1854 led to loyalist Virginians emigrating to New England over the period of 1854-1860. Most of them ended up in Massachusetts Bay State, Plymouth State, and Masonia State. This changed the image of New England into a haven of British loyalists. Prior to 1854, neither loyalists nor separatists made up a majority of the New England population.

20th Century

In the early 20th century, New England already had a distinct identity but still remained close to Great Britain. However, the colonial dependence of New England to Britain led to desires of more autonomy for their nation.

1914 Home Rule in America Act

In 1914, the Home Rule in America Act was enacted by Britain, which gave British colonies in the Americas the right of self-rule, including Carolina, Guyana, and New England. However, the British crown holds final executive power in these colonies. The New England parliament was also created in 1914, and appointed New England's first Prime Minister, Maximilian G. Baxter.

The Great War, and 1937 independence

During the Great War, where Britain fought against the Empires of France, Austria, and the Ottomans, New Englanders were indifferent to the war effort. However, the British in Europe were widely spread out and needed more reinforcements. In 1936, Britain demanded troops from New England to help in the war effort.

However, many in the New England parliament were against involving themselves in European affairs, and denied the British request. The British prime minister, Benjamin Kaylock, then lambasted New England as "unpatriotic and cowardly," inflaming the anti-British sentiment in New England. By 1937, the separatist sentiment in New England grew more and more, with an overwhelming majority favoring secession from the British empire.

New Netherland and Mexico started to support New England separatism, and the New England government corroborated with them. In 1937, the New England government formally declared independence from Britain. Britain responded by threatening to invade New England with an invasion, but New Netherland and Mexico pledged support to the New England government should Britain invade. Due to the ongoing war in Europe, no invasion from Britain came. In 1941, Great Britain formally recognized the independence of New England.