Plymouth Colony Annexed to Massachusetts Bay Colony

In 1686, the entire region was reorganized under a single government known as the Dominion of New England; this included the colonies of Plymouth, Rhode Island, Massachusetts Bay, Connecticut, and New Hampshire.

In 1688 New York, West Jersey, and East Jersey were added. The President of the Dominion, Edmund Andros, was highly unpopular, and the union did not last. Plymouth Colony revolted and withdrew from the Dominion in April 1688; the entire union was dissolved during the Glorious Revolution of 1688.

The return of self-rule for Plymouth Colony was short-lived, however. A delegation of New Englanders, led by Increase Mather, went to England to negotiate for a return of the colonial charters that had been nullified during the Dominion years. The situation was particularly problematic for Plymouth Colony, as it had existed without a formal charter since its founding. Plymouth did not get their wish for a formal charter; instead a new charter was issued, annexing Plymouth Colony to Massachusetts Bay Colony. The official date of the proclamation ending the existence of Plymouth Colony was October 17, 1691, though it was not put into force until the arrival of the new charter on May 14, 1692, carried by William Phips. The last official meeting of the Plymouth General Court occurred on June 8, 1692.

The Book of the General Laws of the Inhabitants of the Jurisdiction of New-Plimouth is one of the oldest items in the Library's collection of American laws. This 1685 book reproduces the contents of a 1671 volume, which was the first edition of the laws to be printed, and adds laws enacted between 1671 and 1684. The Colony of New Plymouth, founded by the Pilgrims who arrived in the Mayflower in December 1620, occupied the southeastern corner of the present state of Massachusetts. It was soon surpassed in population and wealth by the Massachusetts Bay Colony, centered on Boston, and was annexed to Massachusetts in 1691.