New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. New York is the 27th-most extensive, the third-most populous, and the seventh-most densely populated of the 50 United States. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east. The state has a maritime border with Rhode Island east of Long Island, as well as an international border with the Canadian provinces of Ontario to the west and north, and Quebec to the north. The state of New York is often referred to as New York State, so as to distinguish it from New York City.
New York City, with a Census-estimated population of over 8.3 million in 2012, is the most populous city in the United States. Alone, it makes up over 40 percent of the population of New York State. It is known for its status as a center for finance and culture and for its status as the largest gateway for immigration to the United States. New York City attracts considerably more foreign visitors than any other US city. Both the state and city were named for the 17th century Duke of York, future King James II of England.
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. It is bordered on the north and east by New York State, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania, and on the southwest by Delaware. New Jersey is the fourth-least extensive, but the 11th-most populous and the most densely populated of the 50 United States. New Jersey lies entirely within the sprawling combined statistical areas of New York City and Philadelphia. It is also the third-wealthiest U.S. state by 2011 median household income.
The area was inhabited by Native Americans for more than 2,800 years, with historical tribes such as the Lenape along the coast. In the early 17th century, the Dutch and the Swedes made the first European settlements. The English later seized control of the region, naming it the Province of New Jersey. It was granted as a colony to Sir George Carteret and John Berkeley, 1st Baron Berkeley of Stratton. At this time, it was named after the largest of the English Channel Islands, Jersey, Carteret's birthplace. New Jersey was the site of several decisive battles during the American Revolutionary War.
New Hampshire (US i//) is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. The state was named after the southern English county of Hampshire. It is bordered by Massachusetts to the south, Vermont to the west, Maine and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Canadian province of Quebec to the north. New Hampshire is the 5th smallest, and the 9th least populous of the 50 United States.
It became the first of the British North American colonies to break away from Great Britain in January 1776, and six months later was one of the original 13 states that founded the United States of America. In June 1788, it became the ninth state to ratify the United States Constitution, bringing that document into effect. New Hampshire was the first U.S. state to have its own state constitution.
The Middle Colonies comprised the middle region of the Thirteen Colonies of the British Empire in North America. Much of the area was part of the New Netherland until the British exerted control over the region. The French captured much of the area in its war with the Dutch around 1664, and the majority of the conquered land became the Province of New York. The Duke of York and the King of England would later grant others ownership of the land which would become the Province of New Jersey and the Province of Pennsylvania. The Delaware Colony later separated from Pennsylvania.
The Middle Colonies had rich soil, allowing the area to become a major exporter of wheat and other grains. The lumber and shipbuilding industries enjoyed success in the Middle Colonies because of the abundant forests, and Pennsylvania saw moderate success in the textile and iron industry. The Middle Colonies were the most ethnically and religiously diverse British colonies in North America, with settlers coming from all parts of Europe. Civil unrest in Europe and other colonies saw an influx of immigrants to the Middle Colonies in the 18th century. With the new arrivals came various religions which were protected in the Middle Colonies by written freedom of religion laws. This tolerance was unusual and distinct from other British colonies.
The Thirteen Colonies were British Colonies on the Atlantic coast of North America founded between 1607 (Virginia) and 1733 (Georgia). The colonies began collaborating at the Albany Congress of 1754 to demand more rights and set up a Continental Congress that declared independence from Great Britain in 1776 and formed a new sovereign state, the United States of America. The thirteen colonies were: Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts Bay, Maryland, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, New York, North Carolina, and Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New Jersey were formed by mergers of previous colonies.
The Stamp Act Congress, or First Congress of the American Colonies, was a meeting held between October 7 and 25, 1765 in New York City, consisting of representatives from some of the British colonies in North America; it was the first gathering of elected representatives from several of the American colonies to devise a unified protest against new British taxation. Parliament had passed the Stamp Act, which required the use of specially stamped paper for virtually all business in the colonies, and was coming into effect November 1.
The Congress was organized in response to a circular letter distributed by the colonial legislature of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, and consisted of delegates from nine of the eighteen British colonies in North America. All nine of the attending delegations were from the Thirteen Colonies that eventually formed the United States of America. Although sentiment was strong in some of the other colonies to participate in the Congress, a number of royal governors took steps to prevent the colonial legislatures from meeting to select delegates.
A stamp act is any legislation that requires a tax to be paid on the transfer of certain documents. Those that pay the tax receive an official stamp on their documents, making them legal documents. The taxes raised under a stamp act are called stamp duty. This system of taxation was first devised in the Netherlands in 1624 after a public competition to find a new form of tax. A variety of products have been covered by stamp acts including playing cards, patent medicines, cheques, mortgages, contracts and newspapers. The items often have to be physically stamped at approved government offices following payment of the duty, although methods involving annual payment of a fixed sum or purchase of adhesive stamps are more practical and common. Stamp acts have been enforced in many countries, including Australia, People's Republic of China, Canada, Ireland, India, Malaysia, Israel, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
After England was victorious over France in the Seven Years' War (known in America as the French and Indian War), a small Stamp Act was enacted that covered of all sorts of paperwork from newspapers to legal documents and even playing cards. The British were taxing the colonial population to raise revenue, but the Americans claimed their constitutional rights were violated, since only their own colonial legislatures could levy taxes. Across the American colonies, opposition to the tax took the form of violence and intimidation. A more reasoned approach was taken by some elements. James Otis, Jr. wrote the most influential protest, "The Rights of the British Colonies Asserted and Proved." Otis, the radical leader in Massachusetts, convinced the Massachusetts assembly to send a circular letter to the other colonies, which called for an intercolonial meeting to plan tempered resistance to new tax. The Stamp Act Congress convened in New York City on October 7 with nine colonies in attendance; others would likely have participated if earlier notice had been provided. The delegates approved a 14-point Declaration of Rights and Grievances, formulated largely by John Dickinson of Pennsylvania. The statement echoed the recent resolves of the Virginia House of Burgesses, which argued that colonial taxation could only be carried on by their own assemblies. The delegates singled out the Stamp Act and the use of the vice admiralty courts for special criticism, yet ended their statement with a pledge of loyalty to the king.
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas possessions and trading posts established by England between the late 16th and early 18th centuries. At its height, it was the largest empire in history and, for over a century, was the foremost global power. By 1922 the British Empire held sway over about 458 million people, one-fifth of the world's population at the time. The empire covered more than 33,700,000 km2 (13,012,000 sq mi), almost a quarter of the Earth's total land area. As a result, its political, legal, linguistic and cultural legacy is widespread. At the peak of its power, the phrase "the empire on which the sun never sets" was often used to describe the British Empire, because its expanse across the globe meant that the sun was always shining on at least one of its territories.
During the Age of Discovery in the 15th and 16th centuries, Portugal and Spain pioneered European exploration of the globe, and in the process established large overseas empires. Envious of the great wealth these empires generated, England, France, and the Netherlands, began to establish colonies and trade networks of their own in the Americas and Asia. A series of wars in the 17th and 18th centuries with the Netherlands and France left England (and then, following union between England and Scotland in 1707, Great Britain) the dominant colonial power in North America and India.
The history of the United Kingdom as a unified sovereign state began in 1707 with the political union of the kingdoms of England and Scotland, into a united kingdom called Great Britain. On this new state the historian Simon Schama said "What began as a hostile merger would end in a full partnership in the most powerful going concern in the world... it was one of the most astonishing transformations in European history." A further Act of Union in 1800 added the Kingdom of Ireland to create the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
The early years of the unified kingdom of Great Britain were marked by Jacobite risings which ended with defeat for the Stuart cause at Culloden in 1746. Later, in 1763, victory in the Seven Years War led to the dominance of the British Empire, which was to be the foremost global power for over a century and grew to become the largest empire in history. As a result, the culture of the United Kingdom, and its industrial, political, constitutional, educational and linguistic legacy, is widespread.