Protestant Churches in British America

From the oldest permanent English colony in North America (Virginia, 1607) to the youngest (Georgia, 1732), the mainland colonies in North America were overwhelmingly Protestant in a world where Britain's principal enemies and competitors for colonial expansion were Catholic Spain and France. A common heritage to be sure, but religious organization and church life varied from colony to colony falling roughly into one of three groups: those with the Church of England as the established, or state, church (Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and the four lower counties of New York); those with a Congregational Church establishment (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Delaware, New Hampshire); and those with no church establishment (Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, New Jersey). This pluralism foreshadowed the multi-denominational character of American religion that persists in the United States to this day.

Browse Content By Theme