The Middle Colonies

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What type of colony was Pennsylvania?

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The founding of Pennsylvania was influenced by the Quaker sect. The Quakers were an English Protestant group of believers who had the "inner light" and were pacifists. Known as the Society of Friends, the Quakers were persecuted. The Quakers, to their credit, were proponents of religious freedom. They also gave women more status than elsewhere in the colonies.

William Penn (1644–1718) was the proprietor and founder of Pennsylvania. A Quaker, Penn inherited large tracts of land in America from his father. Penn had been imprisoned for his religious beliefs, and he was determined to create a "holy experiment" where people could worship freely. He also believed that religious toleration helped spur economic development. He recruited settlers of various faiths and nationalities for his colony by offering both religious freedom and abundant land. The colony grew rapidly and had more than one thousand settlers by 1681.

One reason for the colony's success was its cordial relations with the Indians. The Quakers lived in peace with them and bought land titles. Penn even learned how to speak an Indian language.

Pennsylvania thrived for decades after its founding. Delaware was added to the colony in 1682. Pennsylvania's tranquil history made it one of the more successful colonies.

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