New Hampshire was the last settled and the weakest of the original New England colonies. For a long time New Hampshire was merely a county (Norfolk) of Massachusetts. In 1680 a separation took place and New Hampshire became a royal province, with the ordinary form of government for this class of colonies. The character of the settlers of this colony, their political and religious ideas, and their system of private laws and of local self-government, closely resembled the more southerly Puritan colonies of Massachusetts and Connecticut.