Land of the Brave

Royal Colonies

Colonial America - Land of the Brave

Royal Colonies

Meaning and Definition of Royal Colonies: A Royal colony was ruled or administered by officials responsible to and appointed by the reigning sovereign of Great Britain.

A Royal colony was administered by a royal governor and council that was appointed by the British crown. The Royal Colonies had a representative assembly that was elected by the people.

The Royal Colonies
The names of areas governed as Royal Colonies at the start of the American Revolutionary War were:

  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • New Jersey
  • Virginia
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Georgia

The Royal Colonies become States
The outbreak of the American Revolutionary War heralded the defeat of the British and the colonies developed their own constitutions and the .

Royal, Proprietary and Royal Colonies
There were three types of colonies and systems of government in the British Colonies of North America - Royal Colonies, and . The Charter Colonies was generally self-governed and the Proprietary Colonies were lands granted by the English monarch as favors to Proprietors who who had full governing rights . Prior to the establishment of Royal, Charter and Proprietary colonies the British colonization of North America had been financed and settled under the jurisdiction of joint stock companies operating under charters granted by the crown.

Royal Colonies - Changes in Status
The three types of colonies and systems of government could change in status according to the political and economic changes in Great Britain. The government of a self-governing Charter colony or privately owned Proprietary Colony could therefore change to a Royal Colony when power would then revert to the King. The colonies of New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, and South Carolina began as proprietary colonies, but later became royal colonies. By 1763 most colonies surrendered their charters to the Crown and became Royal Colonies. Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania remained proprietary colonies under a charter. Connecticut and Rhode Island managed to retain their charters and Massachusetts was governed as a royal province while operating under a charter.

Government of the Royal Colonies
The government of the Royal Colonies was based on the following principles:

  • Royal Colonies: These colonies were ruled by the British monarchs
  • Royal Colonies: These British King had control over all unsold public lands and his Governor had the power to allocate the lands
  • Royal Colonies: The King appointed a governor and a council to assist him with the government of the Colony
  • Royal Colonies: The colonies elected their own legislature (parliament)
  • Royal Colonies: The governor controlled taxes and expenditure but could not authorize the payment of his own salary. The colonial legislatures had the authority to approve or delay paying a salary to the royal governor

Royal Colonies - New Hampshire
King James II ascended the throne in 1685 and believed that the New England colonies, including New Hampshire, were far too independent. The King wanted to take greater control and in 1686 sent Sir Edmund Andros to establish one new government called the "Dominion of New England."  In order to achieve this aim Andros had to cancell the existing charters. The charter of  New Hampshire was revoked and it became a Royal Colony.

Royal Colonies - Virginia
Virginia started as a Charter Colony. Its borders were initially defined in the first Charter of Virginia issued by King James I as grants of land to private investors. King James I granted a proprietary charter to the two competing companies that were supported by investors. The companies were the Plymouth Company and the London Company. In 1624 King James made Virginia a Royal Colony.

Royal Colonies - Georgia
In 1732 King George II granted a Charter for 21 years to a board of 21 trustees for the land between the Savannah and Altamaha rivers and westward to the "South Sea". They were referred to as "The Trustees for Establishing the Colony of Georgia". The trustees were unable to establish self-government and gave up before the 21 year charter had expired and Georgia became a royal colony in 1752.

Propriety to Royal Colonies - The Carolinas
The Carolinas were originally Proprietary Colonies controlled by the Lords Proprietors. In 1663 King Charles II granted the Province of Carolina to eight of his favorites. In 1691, the Colonial Proprietors of Carolina appointed a governor for the whole of Carolina and a deputy governor for the North of the colony. In 1712, North and South Carolina were officially divided. In 1719, South Carolina, was taken back from the Lords Proprietors and made a royal colony. By 1729 all but the heir of Sir George Carteret, had sold their shares in the colony to the Crown and North Carolina also became a royal colony in 1729.

Propriety to Royal Colonies - New York
In March 1664, King Charles II granted his brother, the Duke of York, a proprietorship between the Delaware and Connecticut Rivers, which included New Netherland which became New York. New York became a Royal Colony in 1685.

Propriety to Royal Colonies - New Jersey
In July 1664, the Duke of York granted proprietaries to John, Lord Berkeley, and Sir George Carteret. In 1674 Lord Berkeley sold his share of West Jersey to the Quaker partnership of John Fenwick and Edward Byllynge. In 1681 the heirs of Sir George Carteret sold the East Jersey lands to twelve proprietors including William Penn. New Jersey became a royal colony in 1702.

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