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New England Colonies History and Facts For Kids

The four New England colonies were located in the northeast United States and were founded by Puritans looking for religious freedom.

When were the colonies founded?

  • John Winthrop who came over on the mayflower and eventually settled his people in present day Massachusetts in 1629.
  • New Hampshire was also founded in 1629 by Reverend John Wheelright.
  • The Connecticut colony was founded by Thomas Hooker in 1636.
  • The Rhode Island colony was established in 1636 by English clergyman Roger Williams who had been banished from England for his religious beliefs.

Their proximity to the sea ensured that most of the industries would be centered around the sea. Shipbuilding was one of the largest industries as ships were built and used for fishing, whaling, and trading with foreign countries. Fur trading was also important because they were a valuable export. Crops like wheat and corn were grown so that they could be shipped to England. Import and export was a large industry and Boston was the largest port.

As a result of the high birth rate and the low death rate, the population in the New England colonies boomed to around 700,000 people by 1790. Small villages where people depended heavily on each other were common, and religion was a central part of their daily lives. Some of the customs included the celebration of the Thanksgiving Day feast as well as the giving of a favorite tree or bush as a gift of love. Puritans believed that God had supreme authority over every aspect of their lives. Deeply religious, the way they lived their lives was guided by the Bible and they believed they were God’s chosen people. Family life for Puritans in the colonies included finding a suitable husband or wife, marrying, and then having children.