Comparison of American Colonies

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General Background
Colonial development along the eastern seaboard was strongly influenced by the geography of the regions settled and the ethnic makeup of the colonists. Generally, the colonies may be best understood as being divided in the following way: New England (Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island), Middle (New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware), and Southern (The Carolinas, Georgia, Maryland, Virginia). While these colony groups had many things in common, they also had their own distinctive features. Colonists brought traditions from their home countries and developed new ways of life in North America as they responded to the unique demands of climate, economics, and belief systems. The following is an overview of the unique characteristics of the 3 different colony groups.

New England
•The first colonists were Separatist Puritans (Pilgrims). •They settled in New England to gain religious freedom.
•The religious freedom they sought was not readily granted to others outside their faith. •Most colonists grew their own food.
•The soil was too thin and rocky and the climate too harsh for the colonists to grow cash crops. •They turned to fishing, lumbering, fur trading, and metal working to nourish their economy. •These items were sold to other colonies and to England.

•New England colonies also participated in the selling of slaves to the southern colonies. •Most luxury goods had to be bought from England.

Middle
•The first colonists were Dutch and settled at the mouth of the Hudson River. •Their goal was to farm in order to make money.
•When the English took "New Amsterdam" from the Dutch, they called it New York. •Quakers seeking religious freedom settled Pennsylvania.
•Land was more fertile than in New England and promoted farming of cash crops: corn/wheat/fruit. •An abundance of rivers allowed for transportation of goods between the colonies. •Mills to grind grains developed and supported local economies....