Climate and economy

The Middle Colonies were the most ethnically and religiously diverse of the thirteen original colonies because of the influence of their Polish, English, Dutch, French and German origins. This influence included tolerance in religion, and resulted in New Netherland's success as the commercial center of the eastern North American colonies. This was evident by the fact that they had more agriculture than the New England colonies. The Middle Colonies were also known as the "bread basket" of the thirteen colonies because of their large grain export. It was also the mid-Atlantic colonies that expanded into other areas of commerce before the other colonies at the time. The climate in the Middle Colonies was relatively hot. This allowed for a longer growing season. It was warmer than its northern counterpart New England but cooler than the Southern colonies, helping stop the spread of disease. The climate in the Middle Colonies was much better and milder as to the cold adversity that New England experienced in the winter. Compared to New England, the soil was much more fertile and less rocky.

Ethnicity in the original Middle Atlantic Colonies

Society along the lower Hudson River, including the countries in northern New Jersey, was a veritable mosaic of ethnic communities, including the Dutch of Flatbush, the Huguenots of New Rochelle, and the Scots of Perth Amboy. African Americans, both slave and free, made up more than 15 percent of the population of the lower Hudson River.

Architecture and urban design

There were many brick buildings in the Middle Colony due to the amount of clay along the riverbanks. The Dutch built houses that were usually two-and-a-half to three stories high with steep roofs. The Germans were the last in the colonies to use stoves rather than fireplaces to heat their homes. Many streets were paved, and many people had their shops and homes in the same building. The wealthy would have their portraits painted. Homes in the country could be made of logs and chinked with moss or mud.

Middle Atlantic Crops

Pioneer families planted crops such as maize, wheat, rye, potatoes, peas, and flax. Flax was used to make cloth; corn was one of the main foods eaten in the colonies. Meat could come from wild animals. Many poorer families ate a form of pudding called cornmeal mush every day of the year. Johnnycake, bread made with cornmeal, was also popular.

Vegetables and meat were used to make soups and stews. Pies were made from gathered raspberries, strawberries, and cherries. Since water was sometimes impure, all members of the family drank milk and whiskey, which was made out of corn, rye, wheat, and barley. The whiskey was often mixed with spices, milk, and sugar which many people thought improved the taste. Agriculture was not the only profitable way to make a living. The Middle Colonies were full of fish, oysters and lobsters. In the woods, boar was the game of choice. Wild turkeys roamed everywhere and were ripe for the picking.

Clothing of the Middle Atlantic Colonies

Originally, clothing in the Middle Colonies for the most part resembled the Dutch form of dress from the south. Quakers wore neat and simple clothing as their religion taught them. Many clothes were homemade on the frontier. Flax produced linen and deerskin was used to make breeches, shirts, jackets, and moccasins. Forest products were used to make dyes. Yellow came from butternut tree bark; red came from the roots of the madder herb; blue was extracted from the flowers of indigo plants to obtain the Indigo dye; brown came from the hulls of black walnuts.


Middle Atlantic Colonies: New Jersey

By Livingly Staff on
New Jersey is a state in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern regions of the United States.  Here's a little of the state's history:New Jersey was originally settled in 1623 by the Dutch and was originally named "New Netherlands"In 1664, the Duke of York  purchased the land that is now "New Jersey" from the Dutch and then granted the land to Sir George Carteret.  The area was re-named "New Jersey for Carteret", since George Carteret was governor of the Isle of Jersey.In 1702 New Jersey was...Read Full Story
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