Why were the New England, Middle and Southern colonies Settled?
The original Thirteen Colonies were founded as extensions of British territory for the purpose of cultivating and processing resources which might be valuable overseas and in the New World. Many people fled to the Colonies to escape religious persecution in the Old World, or to seek wealth. Though the Thirteen Colonies were founded for similar reasons, we divide them into three regions based on their geography, climate, and the resources they capitalized on.
The New England Colonies of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire specialized in fishing, whaling, shipbuilding, and lumber. The winters were hard here and many foods and goods had to be imported from the Middle and Southern Colonies or overseas.
The Middle Colonies of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware also provided lumber, but this was not their greatest resource. Iron ore and coal were very important (and profitable) products, and ample farmland meant that staple crops like wheat could be grown in large supply here.
The Southern Colonies of Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia were almost wholly agricultural. Most people who settled here developed plantations to grow cotton, tobacco, indigo, rice, and sugar cane.