John Winthrop (1588–1649) political and religious leader

As Puritan leader and first governor of Massachusetts Bay, John Winthrop played a fundamental role in establishing both the Puritan cultural ethos that characterized the leading English colonists in America and England’s actual political control of the Atlantic seaboard.

John Smith (ca. 1580–1631) military leader, colonist

A veteran of many European military campaigns, Captain John Smith is best known for his presidency of the governing council of Jamestown in Virginia colony.

Sir Walter Raleigh (ca. 1552–1618)

Although a man of many accomplishments, Sir Walter Raleigh is best known as an explorer and the founder of Roanoke colony (1585), England’s first colonial settlement in the Americas.

William Penn (1644–1718) colonist, religious leader

The founder of the Pennsylvania colony, William Penn brought religious tolerance and cultural diversity to the English colonies in America.

Douglas Thomas (1771–1820) businessman, philanthropist

Thomas Douglas, fifth earl of Selkirk, was a Whig politician and philanthropist who was deeply concerned for the welfare of Scottish crofters (tenant farmers with very small holdings) being driven from the Highlands during the clearances—the removal of former tenant farmers by legislatively “enclosing” communal lands—after 1750.

Samuel de Champlain (ca. 1567–1635) explorer, businessman

Samuel de Champlain was the principal founder of New France and the first European explorer of much of modern Quebec and Ontario.

William Bradford (1590–1656) religious leader and colonizer

One of the chief architects of the Pilgrim migration from Holland to Plymouth in 1620, William Bradford served as Plymouth Colony’s governor between 1622 and 1656 (excepting 1633–34, 1636, 1638, and 1644).