The Middle Colonies

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What was the economy of the middle colonies like?

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The middle colonies were Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and Delaware. The economy of the region was largely led by developments in Pennsylvania and New York.

William Penn (1644–1718) was the Quaker who founded Pennsylvania. He advocated religious freedom and political toleration. Thousands of able people emigrated there to enjoy those freedoms. Pennsylvania's economy prospered more quickly than that of any other colony. It had successful agricultural, fishery, tannery, and glass work industries.

Delaware became part of Pennsylvania in 1681. Prior to that, it had been ruled by the Swedes and the Dutch.

The history of New York starts with New Netherland. Founded in 1630, New Netherland developed a successful fur trade. The colony did not prosper, however, and the British took it over in 1664. The British established a more stable government that enabled the Dutch families to thrive economically. The fur trade continued, but grain became a major export. Powerful landlords controlled huge swathes of land, which were worked by tenants.

During the colonial era, New Jersey did not have a distinct identity. Eastern New Jersey looked to New York; western New Jersey was dominated by Pennsylvania.

In summary, the best way to understand the economy of the middle colonies is by a careful study of Pennsylvania and New York.

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Describe the economy of the Middle Colonies.

The Middle Colonies had the most diverse and successful economy of all the colonial regions. The Middle Colonies were successful in agriculture, and the region became known as the breadbasket of colonial America. The region produced grains and vegetables and had a significant population of livestock. These foodstuffs were exported back to England as well as traded with the other colonies.

The region also produced many finished goods. Quakers were known for their handiwork. In order to clear land, the region also produced a great deal of timber. The region also had many cities which facilitated trade. New York and Philadelphia were the two most successful cities in colonial America, and after the Revolutionary War they would serve as the first two seats of government for the early United States.

Due to the Navigation Acts, the region would be closely tied to Britain. While there were some smugglers who operated successfully out of port cities, the region had many English loyalists who followed the rules of Parliament, paid their taxes, and used British ships for trade.

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What was the Middle Colonies's economy based on?

The economy of the Middle Colonies was a diverse one. Fertile land and a decently long growing season meant that sufficient crops—such as wheat, oats, and barley—were grown to be exported to the other colonies. This is in contrast to the Southern Colonies (who mostly focused on the production of cash crops) and New England, which practiced subsistence-level farming.

In addition to farming, settlers in the backcountry of the Middle Colonies trapped animals (such as beaver and mink) for their pelts, which were a highly valued commodity for the fashion designers in Europe. A significant amount of timber and iron ore also came from this region.

Perhaps the biggest driver of the economy of the Middle Colonies was the role of its cities as commercial and shipping centers. Large port cities such as New York City, Philidelphia, and Baltimore became trading hubs. Goods from all over the colonies would find their way there for export to England. As these cities grew, more and more artisans and craftsmen took up their trade there, making them important centers of production.

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