Category: Middle Colonies

Categories: Colonial America | British America | US History | Thirteen Colonies


Middle Colonies

The Middle Colonies comprised the middle region of the Thirteen Colonies of the British Empire in North America. In 1776 during the American Revolution, the Middle Colonies became independent of Britain as the states of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, and Delaware.

Much of the area was part of the New Netherland until the British exerted control over the region. The British captured much of the area in its war with the Dutch around 1664, and the majority of the conquered land became the Province of New York. The Duke of York and the King of England would later grant others ownership of the land which would become the Province of New Jersey and the Province of Pennsylvania. The "3 lower counties on the Delaware (River)" later separated from Pennsylvania to become the Delaware Colony. Originally the most southern county of Sussex was much smaller in territory than it became after 1775.

Ownership of the southern part of Delaware, below the Indian River, and some territory in the western part was disputed by William Penn of the Province of Pennsylvania and Lord Calvert of the Colony of Maryland until 1775 when they finally agreed on a surveyed line that is now the southern border of Delaware. Most of the disputed area was in Sussex County. Although some very early land grants in Sussex were made by Penn, the area was governed by the Maryland Colony which issued the land grants until 1775.

The Middle Colonies had rich soil, allowing the area to become a major exporter of wheat and other grains. The lumber and shipbuilding industries enjoyed success in the Middle Colonies because of the abundant forests, and Pennsylvania saw moderate success in the textile and iron industry. The Middle Colonies were the most ethnically and religiously diverse British colonies in North America, with settlers coming from all parts of Europe. Civil and religious unrest in Europe and other colonies saw an influx of immigrants to the Middle Colonies in the 18th century. With the new arrivals came various religions which were protected in the Middle Colonies by written freedom of religion laws. This tolerance was unusual and distinct from other British colonies.

See MIddle Colonies in the English Wikipedia.

Marjorie Adams, a researcher of families on the "Eastern Shore" (of the Chesapeake Bay), aka the "Delmarva Peninsula" ( Del., Maryland, and Va.) contributed to this category page.

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