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Encyclopedia > Plymouth Council for New England
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The "sea to sea" grant of Plymouth Council for New England is shown in green. The location of the Plymouth Colony settlement is demarcated as "Pl"

The Plymouth Council for New England was the name of a 17th century English joint stock company that was granted a royal charter to found colonial settlements along the coast of North America. The council surrendered its charter to the crown in 1635 and ceased to exist as a corporate entity.


Some of the persons involved had previously received a charter in 1606 as the Plymouth Company and had founded the shortlived Popham Colony within the territory of northern Virginia (actually in present-day Maine in the United States). The company had fallen into disuse following the abandonment of the 1607 colony.


In the new 1620 charter granted by James I, the company was given rights of settlement in the area now designated as New England, which was the land previously part of the Virginia Colony north of the 40th parallel, and extending to the 48th parallel (thus including all of present day New Brunswick and Nova Scotia) Unlike the previous charter, the new charter specified colonial rights of the company "from sea to sea".


Unlike the original Plymouth Company, the Plymouth Council was more successful. The first settlement in the area owned by the council was the Plymouth Colony in present day Plymouth, Massachusetts, although the council did not inititate the Plymouth Colony.


After the success of the Plymouth settlement, much of the rest of the company's territory was given away in further grants to other colonial ventures, notably: the Massachusetts Bay Company in 1628, and the Maine to Sir Ferdinando Gorges and John Mason in 1622.


The Plymouth Council is not to be confused with the Plymouth Colony, which was established in 1620 on land owned by the Council under invalid patents from the London Company. The colony obtained land patents from the Council in 1621 and in 1630, but was governed independently from the Council under the Mayflower Compact.


External links

  • 1620 Charter of New England (http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/states/mass01.htm) from the Avalon Project
  • 1635 Surrender of the New England Charter (http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/states/mass04.htm) from the Avalon Project

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