Life in the Thirteen Colonies

Start Free Trial

Student Question

How long was America a British colony?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Arguably, the period during which the United States was a British Colony was from 1606, when King James I sent British explorers to establish colonies along the East Coast of the United States, to 1776, when the congress of the thirteen colonies signed the Declaration of Independence. In the Declaration, the colonies announced they were 'absolved from all allegiance to the British crown.'

However, the argument could be made that it wasn't until the end of the Revolutionary War in 1783 that the independence of the United States was truly recognized by the British Empire, as no document was signed by the British until The Treaty of Paris was signed in September 1783 and the former colonies were granted independence.

We do also have to consider, however, that the British still maintained influence in the geography of the United States past the Revolutionary War. Disputes in borders in the North West, now the states of Washington and Oregon, along with trade disputes and deteriorating relations between the two countries, caused tension between the Americans and the British. The North West would not be fully integrated into the United States, effectively removing the influence of the British, until the 1846 signing of The Oregon Treaty.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial