British colonization of the Americas (including colonization by both the English and the Scots) began in 1607 in Jamestown, Virginia, and reached its peak when colonies had been established throughout the Americas. The English, and later the British, were among the most important colonizers of the Americas, and their American empire came to surpass the Spanish American colonies in military and economic might.
The Kingdom of Scotland tried unsuccessfully to establish a colony at Darién, and the Scottish colonization of Nova Scotia (New Scotland) lasted from 1629 to 1632. Thousands of Scotsmen also participated in English colonization before the two countries were united in 1707.
Bermuda, islands located in the North Atlantic, first settled in 1609 by the London Virginia Company; administration passed in 1615 to the Somers Isles Company, formed by the same shareholders. Known officially as the Somers Isles, they remain today a British overseas territory.
East Florida and West Florida, acquired from Spain in 1763 in exchange for returning Cuba, taken from Spain in 1761; the Floridas were recovered by Spain in 1783. Backwoods areas almost unaffected by the Stamp Act Crisis of 1765, which unified the thirteen colonies that formed the United States, not much for abstract principles, and grateful to the crown, they declined to send representatives to the Continental Congress or to participate in any way in the independence movement. After the Second Spanish period, they were acquired by the United States in 1821.
Province of Canada combined the colonies of Quebec (Lower Canada) and Ontario (Upper Canada) from 1841 to 1867.
Colony of Vancouver Island, founded by the Hudson's Bay Company at Fort Victoria in 1843. Received royal charter for the Island as a colony in 1849, and merged with the colony of British Columbia in 1866.
Colony of British Columbia, formed in 1866 from a merger of the Vancouver Island and Mainland Colonies. The name British Columbia was chosen for the newly merged colony despite the opposition from Vancouver Island colonists.
Columbia District, the trading district of the Columbia Department of the Hudson's Bay Company from 1821 to the Oregon Treaty of 1846, by which most of the Columbia District was formally annexed to the United States. HBC lands south of the 49th parallel were guaranteed by the Oregon Treaty but ownership and compensation issues were not fully resolved until 1861.
New Caledonia, fur district. First created in 1805 as part of North West Company for operations, administered by Hudson's Bay Company following the two companies' forced merger in 1821, until incorporated as the part of the Colony of British Columbia in 1858, by which time the term "New Caledonia" had come to refer to the whole of the British Columbia mainland, not just the original fur district in what is now its Central Interior.
North-Western Territory, a Hudson's Bay Company trading area covering lands north and northwest of Rupert's Land and, after 1863, north of the Stikine Territory's original boundary at the 62nd parallel. Its remnant was incorporated at the Yukon Territory after the part of it south of the 60th parallel was amalgamated to British Columbia.
the southeastern Alaska Panhandle was leased from the Russian Empire, from 1839 to 1867, until the lease was ignored by both the Russians and Americans and, subsequently, by the Canadian and the British imperial governments, despite British Columbia's protests.
Saint Kitts – The island was settled by Sir Thomas Warner in 1623. The following year the French also settled part of St Kitts. After they massacred the Caribs, the British and French turned on each other and St Kitts changed hands between the two several times before the Treaty of Paris (1783) gave the island to Britain. It became independent as part of Saint Kitts and Nevis in 1983.
Barbuda – The island was settled about 1632. It became independent as part of Antigua and Barbuda in 1981.
Montserrat – The island was settled in 1632. It was occupied by the French in 1664–68 and 1782–84. It remains a British territory.
Bahamas – The islands were settled from 1647. They became independent in 1973.
Anguilla – The island was settled in 1650. Its government was united with St Christopher (St Kitts) from 1882 until 1967, when it declared its separation. It was brought back under British administration in 1969. It remains a British territory.
Jamaica – The island was conquered from Spain in 1655. It became independent in 1962.
Grenada – The island was conquered from France in 1762. The French reoccupied it from 1779 to 1783. It became independent in 1974.
Saint Lucia – The island was captured from the French in 1778, but returned in 1783. In 1796 and in 1803 it was captured again, but permanently annexed by Britain in 1814. Saint Lucia became independent in 1979.
English and later British Central and South American colonies
Belize – from 1638 English adventurers used Belize as a source of logwood, a tree used to make a wool dye. The area was claimed by Spain but they had not settled it or been able to control the natives. The Spanish destroyed the British colony in 1717, 1730, 1754 and 1779. The Spanish attacked a final time in 1798, but were defeated. The colony was known as British Honduras from the 19th century until 1973, when its name changed to Belize. Guatemalan claims to Belize delayed independence, but full independence was granted in 1981.
Falkland Islands – The British first established a presence on the Falkland Islands in 1765 but were compelled to withdraw for economic reasons related to the American War of Independence in 1774. The islands continued to be used by British sealers and whalers, although the settlement of Port Egmont was destroyed by the Spanish in 1780. Argentina attempted to establish a colony in the ruins of the former Spanish settlement of Puerto Soledad, which ended with the British return in 1833. The islands have been under British control ever since, save for a brief Argentine occupation during the Falklands War of 1982.