George Calvert, Lord Baltimore, was a Roman Catholic. He wanted to build a colony for all Christians, including Catholics. In 1632 King Charles I of England granted him land north of Virginia. A group of 200 settlers landed in Maryland in 1634. They bought land from the Indians. They built large farms called plantations. Tobacco became their cash crop.
Meantime, pioneers from Virginia had been moving south. They lived by hunting, fishing, and raising crops in the forest clearings. They planted tobacco. They sold forest products to shipbuilders in England. In 1663 the king of England named this region Carolina. The king later divided the region into two royal colonies. In 1721 he created South Carolina. And in 1729 he created North Carolina.
South Carolina attracted settlers from many countries. They built a seaport named Charles Towne (Charleston). It soon became the most prosperous southern seaport. Settlers started rice plantations in the rich swampland along the coast. They brought in slaves to work on the plantations. By this time tobacco planters in Maryland and Virginia were already using slave labor. Slavery became firmly established in the South.
The last of the 13 colonies, Georgia, was founded by James Oglethorpe. In those days English debtors (people who owed money they could not repay) were sent to jail. Many remained behind bars for years. Oglethorpe knew that many prisoners were poor but honest. They could become good colonists. In 1732 Oglethorpe attained a land grant between South Carolina and the Spanish colony of Florida.
Oglethorpe arrived in 1733 with a group of debtors. They settled at a site they called Savannah. Savannah became a thriving seaport.
By then, the English flag flew all along the coast of North America. The colonists were building a new way of life, and they also built a new nation that would become the United States of America.