By the middle of the eighteenth century there existed 13 colonies on the Atlantic seaboard of the North American continent all nominally under British rule. They had been established for a range of reasons in the seventeenth century, except for Georgia which was created in 1733 as a colony for deported debtors. Trade and profit had been the motivation for the setting up of New York, New Jersey and South Carolina, for example, while many of those who set up home in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Pennsylvania did so in order to practise their religious beliefs freely. The colonies each had different customs, currencies and laws, as well as varying climates, which all contributed to economic differences – including the use of African slaves in the southern colonies – and the possibility that one day they might unite to break the shackles of their mother country seemed highly unlikely.