The first sustained British colony in the Americas was established in Virginia in 1607. To Virginia’s south, some patchy settlement occurred in Albemarle in the 1650s, but formal colonization of the Carolinas would only occur after the granting of a Royal Charter in 1663. In 1670, the Treaty of Madrid attempted to resolve potential conflict between English and Spanish territorial claims: it did not define an actual boundary, rather it left a buffer zone (to the south of the new British colony of Charles Town). Virginia’s government were in dispute over the Fairfax Proprietary, a large area of the colony’s putative land area granted to Lord Fairfax, with the right to levy rents. In the late 17th century, the introduction of plantation farming began to transform the economies and societies of the southern colonies. The Carolinas were formally separated in 1729, with Georgia hived off as a separate state in 1732.
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