The English began to colonize the Caribbean in 1623 when England secured St. Kitts. England would colonize islands throughout the Caribbean Sea between 1623-1778. British mercantile companies, in an effort to secure resources and profits, funded expeditions throughout the Caribbean.
The Spanish obviously were the pioneers in exploring and settling the Caribbean, beginning with Christopher Columbus over a hundred years earlier than other European Powers. The English, however, were able to gain ground on Spain’s head start in the 17th century because of a major religious conflict in Europe called the Thirty Year’s War (1618-1648). Spain’s involvement in this costly and brutal war opened the door for other European countries to explore and colonize the islands of the Caribbean. England actually seized St. Croix and Barbados from the Spanish in 1625.