New England is the region of America in the far North East. During colonial times they were referred to as the Eastern Colonies. Plymouth was the first colony in this region and was established by the Pilgrims, led by William Bradford, in 1620. About a decade later the Puritans, led by John Winthrop, arrived not too far away and established the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Eventually, these two colonies would merge into one.

Massachusetts was very strict about their laws following their religious beliefs. This strictness would lead men like Thomas Hooker and Roger Williams to leave and form their own colonies. Rhode Island, established by Williams, was meant to allow a separation of Church & State. This meant that people of different religions didn’t have to follow laws created by another. Connecticut would be established by Thomas Hooker in an attempt to expand rights to all citizens no matter their religion. He would later write a constitution, guaranteeing those rights, called the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut.

New Hampshire would be created by the settlers that began to spread further north from the center of Massachusetts. While they were deeply religious too, they created a new colony for economic reasons. They were simply looking for a charter that looked after their interests in regards to money.

The majority of the New England colonies were started for religious purposes, but they would also have a unique economic story. Because the climate was cold and the soil was too rocky and poor for plantation-style farming, New England would focus on manufacturing as a means to generate revenue. Trading with other nations and colonies would become the life blood of the New England colonies.