History of Masonic Grand Lodges in North America

         This is a chronology of the formation of "regular" or "mainstream" Masonic Grand Lodges in North America, descending from the original Grand Lodge of England (GLE) or its rival, the Antient Grand Lodge of England. A Grand Lodge (or "Grand Orient" as it is called in some jurisdictions elsewhere in the world) is the governing body that supervises "Craft" Freemasonry (also known as "Blue Lodge" Freemasonry) in a particular jurisdiction or geographical area.

         Freemasonry (or Speculative Masonry) developed out of the guilds and associations of operative stonemasons, during the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. By 1700, numerous Masonic lodges were in existence throughout England, Scotland and Ireland. Each lodge was considered independent unto itself, and there was no supervisory body that governed all of Freemasonry. This led to some confusion, as ritual variations developed and disputes as to the legitimacy of various lodges arose. In 1717 members of four lodges in London elected to form what they called a "Grand Lodge" to supervise the fraternity and grant charters to new lodges. Not all lodges, however, accepted the self-proclaimed authority of this Grand Lodge, and soon formed rival Grand Lodges of their own.

         Freemasonry spread from the British Isles during the Colonial Era. All of the "original" Grand Lodges began to issue charters to individual lodges in North America, but the two English Grand Lodges (the "Ancients" and the "Moderns") were the most prolific. Starting in 1730 The Grand Lodge of England (Moderns) began to issue Warrants for Provincial Grand Lodges in the colonies. Initially, these Warrants were issued to individuals, to act as deputies for the Grand Master in a given area for fixed periods of time, and some confusion resulted due to overlapping jurisdictions. To confuse matters further, with the formation of the Antient Grand Lodge, rival Provincial Grand Lodges were chartered under their jurisdiction.

         After the American Revolution and, again, after the incorporation of the Dominion of Canada, the various Provincial Grand Lodges in North America were closed, and the Lodges in each State or Province formed independent Grand Lodges. These in turn, chartered lodges in the territories in the West and North. As each new State or Province came into being, the lodges that had been chartered within its borders gathered together and formed new Grand Lodges.

The following is a brief history of Freemasonry and its origin: (Click "Youtube" link)

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