British America refers to the English territories in North America (including Bermuda), Central America, the Caribbean, and Guyana from 1607 to 1783. Formally, the British colonies in North America were known as British America and the British West Indies until 1776, when the Thirteen Colonies declared their independence and formed the United States of America.[1] After that, the term British North America was used to describe the remainder of Britain's continental North American possessions. That term was first used informally in 1783, but it was uncommon before the Report on the Affairs of British North America (1839), called the Durham Report.

British America gained large amounts of new territory following the Treaty of Paris (1763) which ended British involvement in the Seven Years' War. At the start of the American War of Independence in 1775, the British Empire included twenty colonies north and east of New Spain (present-day areas of Mexico and the Western United States). East and West Florida were ceded to Spain in the Treaty of Paris (1783) which ended the American Revolution, and then ceded by Spain to the United States in 1819. The remaining continental colonies of British North America formed the Dominion of Canada by uniting between 1867 and 1873. The Dominion of Newfoundland joined Canada in 1949.


A number of English colonies were established in North America between 1606 and 1670 by individuals and companies whose investors expected to reap rewards from their speculation. They were granted commercial charters by King James I, King Charles I, Parliament, and King Charles II. The first permanent settlement was founded at Jamestown, Virginia by the London Company.

North American colonies in 1775

Thirteen Colonies

The Thirteen Colonies formed the original states of the United States:

New England Colonies
Middle Colonies
Southern Colonies

Former French colonies and the Floridas

Several British colonies and territories ruled by Britain from 1763, after the Seven Years' War, were later ceded by Britain to Spain (the Floridas) or the United States (the Indian Reserve and Southwestern Quebec). Others eventually became part of modern Canada.

Territories that eventually became part of the United States of America:

British colonies and territories that eventually became part of modern Canada:

Colonies in the Caribbean and South America in 1783

Divisions of the British Leeward Islands
Island of Jamaica and its dependencies
Other possessions in the British West Indies

See also