The town of New Amsterdam was settled by a diverse population, including immigrants from all over Europe. In 1646 the Dutch West India Company appointed Dutchman Peter Stuyvesant director general of all Dutch colonial interests in North America and the Caribbean, including New Netherland. He arrived in New Amsterdam in 1647 and immediately became embroiled in conflict with the settlers. His loyalties were to the Dutch West India Company, and he resisted the settlers' efforts to govern themselves. When a hostile British fleet sailed into New Amsterdam's harbor in 1664, neither the Dutch settlers nor their government officials offered resistance, and Stuyvesant was forced to surrender. British control of the colony was firmly established by 1669. King Charles II renamed the colony in honor of his brother, James, the duke of York. New Netherland thus became New York. James would later become King James II and rule from 1685 to 1688.
The Pennsylvania Colony was established in 1681 when King Charles II of England awarded a charter to William Penn, an English Quaker, who became proprietor of the colony. The charter—a written document that defines the laws and privileges of a state or country—was issued as payment of a debt owed to Penn's father and granted Penn a large territory of unoccupied land along the Delaware River. Quakers were members of a religious group called the Society of Friends, who rejected the formal hierarchy of the Anglican Church. They instead believed individuals have access to God without clergy or written scripture. They were pacifists and disagreed with many of the social norms of the time, including taking loyalty oaths and the subjugation of women. Quakers were persecuted in England for their religious and social practices.
Penn saw the land in North America as an opportunity to establish a colony where Quakers, and eventually others, could escape religious persecution in Europe. Penn referred to the new colony as a "Holy Experiment," a place where Quakers and other religious groups oppressed in Europe could live and worship freely. While still in England, Penn began devising ideas for governing the new colony—named Pennsylvania for his father. One cornerstone of his new government was to be religious tolerance, the acceptance of the practice of religions other than one's own. Another foundation block was to include the protection of individual rights, such as the right to free speech, and the right of the colony's legislature to create laws. Penn arrived in Pennsylvania in 1682, and the colony initially thrived under his leadership. Christians, especially Protestants, came from all over Europe, and Pennsylvania had the largest population of all the colonies. Protestants are Christians who are part of a religious group unaffiliated with the Catholic Church. However, there were notable exceptions to religious tolerance in the Pennsylvania colony. Non-Christians—including atheists and Jews—were not permitted to vote or hold public office.