What problems did the settlers of the middle colonies face and how did they overcome them?

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beateach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Settlers of the middle colonies, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, and Delaware, faced many challenges including Native Americans, location, weather, religious and ethnic diversity.

The settlers had to establish relationships with the Native Americans who were firmly in control of the land.

Making the best use of the climate and the land to meet their economic needs was paramount to their survival. Northern areas of the colonies had a harsh climate with a short growing season, while the colonies located further south were more temperate. The area contained fertile farmlands, accessible shipping ports, and locations suited to manufacturing and distribution. As the colonies developed, the inhabitants learned to use the land and location efficiently.

As the colonies grew, more diverse groups of people settled there bringing with them a variety of religious beliefs and customs. These diverse groups established settlements in different areas of the colonies and within the cities. The middle colonies became more tolerant of a variety of religions and ethnic backgrounds than either the northern or southern colonies. Because there were so many different groups, one group could not dominate the others so they learned to co-exist. 

The middle colonies developed and thrived through their economic and social diversity and wise use of natural resources.

pholland14 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The settlers in the Middle colonies had to overcome problems in their relationship with the region's indigenous peoples, though in Pennsylvania the Native Americans were treated much more fairly than in other places, as the colonists were told to pay fair value for the land by the founder, William Penn. In upstate New York, the Iroquois and Huron tribes would often go to war against the colonists to prevent their spread into that region. Upstate New York saw some of the heaviest fighting of the French and Indian War. The colonists in the region also lived with the constant worry that French Canadians would come down during a time of war.

While winters could get quite cold, the Middle Colonies were known for having a good climate, and they exported food back to England. The colonies' success brought them immigrants from all over the world to the point that the English colonists developed some measure of xenophobia towards non-English speaking people. Even Benjamin Franklin wondered how German speakers in Pennsylvania would ever assimilate into mainstream colonial life.

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