24.03.

1663: Lords Proprietor Receive Enormous Estates in North America

1663: Lords Proprietor Receive Enormous Estates in North America
Photo Credit To https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Anthony_Ashley-Cooper,_1st_Earl_of_Shaftesbury.jpg

On this day British king Charles II granted a huge territory in North America to his faithful supporters, who had helped him reclaim the throne after the Civil War. Namely, the British monarchy had been abolished in the time of Oliver Cromwell, and the reigning king, Charles II’s father, had his head cut off. Charles II managed to reclaim his throne and restore the monarchy, and he rewarded those who helped him generously.

The king granted the eight Lords Proprietor a large part of North America, de facto as their private property. The area was known as Carolina (named after Charles I, the mentioned king who was decapitated). The current U.S. states of North and South Carolina have also been named after that area. However, the territory of Carolina received by the Lords Proprietor was several times larger than the current-day U.S. states.

According to the charter, the granted land stretched from the Atlantic coast and all the way up to the Pacific, and was several hundred kilometers wide.

It can be roughly estimated that the entire area covered around 2 million square kilometers (slightly larger than Mexico). Two years later, these borders were further expanded and covered up to 2.7 million square kilometers (around the size of Argentina, or slightly smaller than India).

The eight Lords Proprietor were as follows:

– Lord Clarendon (Lord High Chancellor of England)

– the Duke of Albemarle (Master of the Horse)

– Lord Craven

– Lord Berkeley

– Lord Shaftesbury

– Sir George Carteret

– Sir John Colleton

– Sir William Berkeley.

These men were given the title “Lords Proprietor” and were the owners of that huge estate. The most interested for actually governing the territory was Lord Shaftesbury. He had his secretary – the world-famous philosopher John Locke – to make a plan for governing Carolina.

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