The Surprising Religious Diversity of America’s 13 Colonies

The history of religion in the original 13 American colonies often focuses on Puritans, Quakers, and other Protestants fleeing persecution in Europe, seeking to build a community of like-minded believers. Protestants were indeed the majority, but the reality was much more diverse. Colonial America attracted true believers from a wide range of backgrounds and beliefs, including Judaism, Catholicism and more.

And these are only the European emigrants. According to Yale Professor Emeritus Jon Butler in his book New World Beliefs: Religion in Colonial America. And the Africans transported to the colonies as part of the transatlantic slave trade brought their own multiplicity of spiritual practices, which included polytheistic, animistic and Islamic beliefs, before blending into new variants of Protestantism.

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