Colonization of the Americas by Britain began in 1607 A.D. in Jamestown, Virginia and continued to the founding of a formal Georgia colony in 1733. Great Britain also colonized the west coast of North America indirectly via licenses owned by the Hudson Bay Company west of the Rocky Mountains. In the 18th century the Empire had charter, royal and proprietary colonies in America.
Historians estimate that by 1775 the population of the American colonies (not including tribes outside the colonies, tribes living under colonial control or slaves - indentured servants) was 2,400,000. In 1776 about 85% of the white population was of English, Irish, Scottish or Welsh descent, with 9% of German origin and 4% Dutch.
America was finally globally recognized as an independent and sovereign nation when the Treaty of Paris was signed in 1783.
Britain's Empire, as a whole, was composed of colonies, protectorates, mandates, dominions and other lands ruled or administered by the U.K. It included those territories and trading posts in North America established by the British. During the peak of its power, which lasted for more than one hundred years, the British Empire was the greatest global force in the world.
The Empire, in 1922 A.D., was considered the greatest maritime power in history. That same year it governed a total population of roughly 458 million, which was 25% of the earth's entire population. In 1922 it also became the largest empire in history in terms of land controlled, with 36.6 million square kilometers (14 million sq. miles) under its rule. In 1938 it became the wealthiest superpower in history up to that time with a Gross Domestic Product (total value of all goods and services) reaching $683.3 billion. Since the late 1930's its historic wealth has only been eclipsed by the United States, which had a GDP of $1,713.6 billion in 1944.
During its peak it was said "the sun never set on the British Empire." This phrase was literally true, as the empire's global influence made it possible for the sun to shine always on at least one of its possessions.