The British arrived in North America in 1587 through the sponsorship of the Plymouth Company, which established a short-lived settlement called Roanoke in present-day Virginia. Then in 1606, the London Company established a presence in what would become Jamestown, Virginia. These companies pursued the economic opportunities afforded by the natural resources abundant in this “New World.” The economy in the colonies, which varied regionally, was mostly centered around agriculture and exporting materials back to England. The southern colonies had large plantations that grew tobacco or cotton and required slave labor, while northern colonies had small family farms.
Learn more about the economics of the 13 British colonies with these classroom resources.