| August 18, 1590
||John White returns to Roanoke and finds deserted land.
After helping establish the first English settlement on the Island of Roanoke, off the coast of modern day North Carolina, John White reluctantly returned to England for supplies. Delayed by war for three years, he returns in 1590 to find the colonists are gone. It is still not known what happened to them.
||Virginia becomes the first colony.
Virginia is founded under a patent for the London Company and becomes the first British colony in North America. Jamestown, Virginia is the first permanent English settlement.
||Massachusetts is founded.
The King of England grants a charter to a group of Puritans to allow them to form a colony along the Massachusetts Bay. The Puritans form the colony of Massachusetts as a place to spread their religion and extend the empire of Great Britain.
||New Hampshire is founded.
New Hampshire is created as a fishing colony by Captain John Mason. It is named for Hampshire County in England.
||Lord Baltimore founds the colony of Maryland.
The first colonists from England to arrive on the western shore of Maryland call it St. Mary's. George Calvert, the first Lord of Baltimore, is acting under a royal charter to create a colony to serve as a refuge for Catholics.
||Puritans establish the colony of Connecticut.
Puritan minister Thomas Hooker and Governor John Haynes of the Massachusetts Bay Colony establish River Colony, later called Connecticut. Hooker lost support in Massachusetts for his belief in government being led by the consent of the people, not just God's will.
||Rhode Island is founded by Roger Williams.
After being kicked out Massachusetts for his belief in the separation of church and state, Roger Williams goes to live with the Narragansett Indians. He forms Providence, which will be the capital of Rhode Island.
||Delaware is founded by Peter Minuit and the New Sweden Company.
Peter Minuit of the Netherlands establishes a colony called New Sweden. Minuit later is forced to give up the colony when King Charles II takes control of the area called "New Netherland" and tells him to give it to his brother James, the Duke of York. James renames New Sweden Delaware.
||A group of Virginians establishes Carolina.
Acting on a charter from King Charles II, eight noblemen from Virginia create a settlement south of Virginia. They call it Carolina, although it is divided into North Carolina and South Carolina when the crown takes control of the colony in 1729.
||Lord Berkeley and Sir George Carteret found New Jersey.
James, the Duke of York, gives land from New Netherland to his friends Lord Berkeley and Sir George Carteret. They call the colony New Jersey and advertise it as a place of religious freedom.
||The Duke of York establishes New York.
With the Duke of York in control of the former Dutch trading post, he renames it New York. The city the Dutch called New Amsterdam becomes New York City.
||Pennsylvania is established by William Penn.
Acting on a land grant that is owed to his deceased father, William Penn creates a colony to serve as a refuge for Quakers under persecution in England. By 1700, it grows to be the third largest colony in the New World.
||James Oglethorpe establishes the colony of Georgia.
King Charles II grants James Oglethorpe a royal charter to establish a colony between Florida and South Carolina. Georgia is created to act as a barrier between Spain, which owns Florida, and the British colonies. It is also intended to provide a place for those recently released from debtors prison to have a fresh start.
| July 4, 1776
||The colonies declare their independence from England.
With the signing of the Declaration of Independence, all of the colonies of America declare their independence from England. Independence is won through the Revolutionary War and the colonies become the United States of America.
| June 14, 1777
||The 13 colonies are represented in the first American flag.
The Second Continental Congress passes a resolution that states that the American flag shall have 13 stripes, alternately in red and white, to represent the 13 colonies. Despite all of the variations of the U.S. flag over time, the 13 stripes have never changed.