The thirteen colonies differed from each other from their inception. The first colony at Jamestown was run by the Virginia Company. Maryland and the two Carolina colonies were proprietary, under the control of individuals.
Religion was an important factor behind the creation of many colonies. In New England, both the Plymouth colony and Massachusetts Bay Colony were established by Protestants. Maryland, on the other hand, was set up as a haven for Catholics. Other colonies-such as Pennsylvania and New Netherlands-were open to members of various faiths.
Agriculture developed in different ways in the thirteen colonies. The South had huge plantations worked by slave labor, and cotton was a key crop. New England and the middle colonies had family farms and a diversified economy. Fishing was an important industry for New England. The middle colonies used rivers to conduct a lucrative fur trade with the Indians.
The colonies were similar in some respects, too. In both the North and the South, large cities grew on the coast. These cities engaged in important commerce abroad. Also, after the Swedes and Dutch were ejected from North America, all the colonies had the same master: England. English was the predominant language in all the colonies. As the colonies became more prosperous, populous, and assertive, their differences with England grew.