An early area of contention between France and England, the region of modern New Hampshire was gradually settled mainly by English immigrants and became a prime shipbuilding area for the British. By the time of the American Revolution (1775–1783), almost all lands had been claimed and much of it settled, with some Scots-Irish establishing settlements in southeastern New Hampshire. Both French and English merchants explored New Hampshire during the first two decades of the 17th century. In 1620, England’s Council of New England was founded to encourage settlement in a large region including modern Maine and New Hampshire, which led to the establishment of numerous settlements during the 1620s and 1630s. John Mason was granted much of the region of New Hampshire, naming it for his native county in England. Between 1641 and 1680, it was governed as a part of the Massachusetts colony. It developed slowly, used mainly as a source of wood and naval stories. When it was separated from Massachusetts and established as a royal colony by Charles II in 1680, its population was less than 5,000. Although largely agricultural, New Hampshire’s soil and climate were less attractive to immigrants than regions farther south, and settlers did not come in great numbers until after 1760, when they began to fill the Connecticut River Valley. Also, Indian wars in the area were common, as the French and British and their Indian allies clashed over control of the frontier. By the 1760s, New Hampshire’s population was a little more than 50,000. Greatly alarmed over the effects of the navigation acts, New Hampshire joined the revolutionary effort against the British in 1775.