General Assignment Charts Settlement Of The Middle Colonies Climate

Students will explore the differences among the three colonial regions of New England, Mid-Atlantic / Middle, and the Southern colonies. In small groups for each region, students will observe and note details of pictures, maps, and advertisements in order to describe each region. Students will use historical reading skills to conclude how the geography and natural environment influenced the economic specialization of each region with special attention to the early colonial era. This lesson will prepare the learner for the concept of interdependence of the colonies as a result of specialization.

Historical Background

Colonial America depended on the natural environment to meet basic needs of the people and the colony. The available natural resources provided (or in essence dictated) what each region’s unique specialty would be or become. Specialized economies quickly emerged as a result of human and environmental interaction.

Colonial America also had regional differences among culture or historical reason for establishment as a colony. The Southern Colonies were established as economic ventures and were seeking natural resources to provide material wealth to the mother country and themselves. In contrast, the early New England colonists were primarily religious reformers and separatists. They were seeking a new way of life to glorify God and for the greater good of their spiritual life. The Middle colonies welcomed people from various and diverse lifestyles. The social-political structure included all three varieties: villages, cities, and small farms.

Another difference is clearly noted in the human resources. New England had skilled craftsmen in the industry of shipbuilding. The Mid-Atlantic presented a diverse workforce of farmers, fisherman, and merchants. The Southern Colonies were primarily agricultural with few cities and limited schools. As these regions developed highly specialized economies, each could not supply everything that was needed or at least not as effectively as an interdependent system – they relied on each other for certain items or skills.

New England’s economy at first specialized in nautical or boating equipment, while later the region developed mills and factories. The environment is ideal for water-powered machinery (mills), which allowed for finished products to be crafted, such as woven cloth and metal tools. The middles colonies had rich farmland and a moderate climate. This made it a more suitable place to grow grain and livestock than New England. Their environment was ideal for small to large farms. The coastal lowland and bays provided harbors, thus the middle colonies were able to provide trading opportunities where the three regions meet in market towns and cities. The Southern colonies had fertile farmlands which contributed to the rise of cash crops such as rice, tobacco, and indigo. Plantations developed as nearly subsistent communities. Slavery allowed wealthy aristocrats and large landowners to cultivate huge tracts of land. When strictly examining the geography of New England compared to the South, it is plausible that the vast space of the Southern region influenced the way it remained rural and still today holds that as a sense of pride or shared experience/identity.

Notable differences are found in the way social life was structured among regions. For the people of the South, life emerged as rugged and rural while people of the North are heavily connected to the Church and village community. These cultural differences remained and shaped some of the confrontations that needed to be addressed during the Civil War.

Lesson Objective

How did climate, geographic features, and other available resources distinguish the three colonial regions from each other?

How did people use the natural resources of their region to earn a living or have their basic needs met?

What are the benefits of specialization and trade?
How did political and social life evolve in each of the three regions?



  1. Hook: Have you ever thought of living in a place that is totally different from here? like an island or a farm, in a big city or perhaps in the mountains. Take a moment to pick one place that is different from here. Describe the climate and the weather. Name some natural resources in that environment. What kind of job could you/most of your neighbors have?
  2. Model historical thinking skills: An image of the Boston map is projected and students are asked to list objects they see. Students answer the questions from their PSA question sheet (see student worksheet handout) by raising their hands. Teachers record student responses on the smart/white board. Teachers explain that some questions might not be appropriate for their picture, but the idea is to do the best they can and fill in as many details as they can.
  3. Teachers explain that students will be split into “expert groups”.
  4. Each group will have 4-5 pictures from one region.
  5. The students must work together to analyze which region they have and discuss the historical thinking questions.
  6. Students record their observations for each source on a separate chart and label/title the chart as they go.
  7. Students present their region to the class and show all of the images. A script is provided at the bottom of the student handout.


Students will demonstrate knowledge of their assigned region by creating a rough draft of a poster or brochure that will describe life in the colonial age. Students will select a region or colony to feature in a letter to a family member urging them to join the student in the new land OR create a poster/brochure that advertises the features of the region. Students will provide details on how people interacted with their environment to produce goods and services. In order to exceed the Standard, student will need to include an example of interdependence among the regional economies. The student creation will be graded on a four-point formative rubric scale.


Hyde, Sir Thomas. A Plan of the town of Boston. c. 1777? Map. Washington, D.C. From Library of Congress: Geography and Map Division (accessed July 20, 2012) .

Habermann, Franz Xaver. Vue de Boston. illustration. Augsbourg: 177-. From Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. (accessed on July 20, 2012).

Image of New England fishermen from a late 19th-century history book. Shows evidence of fishing industry and ruggedness of the environment.

Tisdale, Elkanah. Town Meeting. engraving. 1795: New York. printed by John Buel, 1795. Rare Book RR Repository: Library of Congress Rare Book Division Washington, D.C. (accessed via on November 24, 2012)

Carwitham, J. (John). A South East View of Great Town of BOSTON in New England in America. Etching hand colored. 1730-1760? (accessed via on November 24, 2012)

Hill, John. Hudson. 1792. etching. later painted by Wall, W.G. 1821-1825. New York City. (accessed via on November 24, 2012).

Peale, Charles Willson. The Accident in Lombard Street. 1787. Illustration. Philadelphia: From Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. Washington, D.C. (accessed July 20, 2012).

Muchley, Robert. Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania : WPA Federal Art Project, between 1936 and 1941. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. (accessed on July 20, 2012).

Hall, John. William Penn’s treaty with the Indians, when he founded the province of Pennsylvania in North America, 1681. painting. 1775 University of North Carolina Courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. (accessed on August 25, 2012).

Kennerly, Samuel, Jr. M.D. Hermitage 26 Acres of Land. advertisement. Staunton Spectator: 1867. From Duke Library Emergence of Advertising in America. (accessed on July 20, 2012).

The Old Plantation, c. 1790.
Credit: Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Museum, Colonial Williamsburg.

Stearns, Junius Brutus. Life of George Washington–The farmer. illlustration. Lemercier, Paris: c. 1853. From Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington D.C. (accessed on July 20, 2012).

Washington, George. A plan of my farm on Little Huntg. Creek & Potomk. G. W.
1732-1799. Created/published 1766. Library of Congress American Memory Collection. (accessed from on Nov. 24, 2012)

History of the Colonization of America and the original 13 Colonies

 The Middle Colonies: The Establishment and Settlement of the 13 original colonies

Map of the Middle Colonies
The Middle Colonies shown on this Map are composed of Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York, and New Jersey.

Map of the Middle Colonies

Middle Colonies Chart
The Middle Colonies chart provides important information and interesting facts about each of the Middle Colonies including the date the colony was established, the systems of Colonial government, religion, major towns in the Middle Colonies and the names of famous people associated with the founding and establishment each colony. The Middle Colonies chart  provides the ability to see at a glance the differences between the regions on a chart.

Middle Colonies Chart

DateName of Colony
or Settlement
in 1775
ReligionMajor TownsFamous
1626New York ColonyMiddleRoyalQuakers, Catholics, Lutherans, Jewish
and others
New York City and AlbanyPeter Minuit
Peter Stuyvesant
1638Delaware ColonyMiddleProprietaryQuakers, Catholics, Lutherans, Jewish
and others
Wilmington & GeorgetownPeter Minuit
1664New Jersey ColonyMiddleRoyalQuakers, Catholics, Lutherans, Jewish
and others
Trenton and PrincetonLord Berkeley
 George Carteret
1682Pennsylvania ColonyMiddleProprietaryQuakers, Catholics, Lutherans, Jewish
and others
Philadelphia, Lancaster and YorkWilliam Penn
Middle Colonies Chart

Information and Facts about the Middle Colonies
The four Middle Colonies of Colonial America consisted of a mix of both northern and southern features and its early settlement was dominated by non-English Europeans, mostly Dutch and German, the English colonists were in the minority. Facts about the Middle Colonies of Colonial America:

  • Fact 1 - Geography: The geography of the Middle Colonies had a mix of the New England and Southern features but had fertile soil and land that was suited to farming
  • Fact 2 - Natural Resources: Good farmland, timber, furs and coal. Iron ore was a particularly important natural resource
  • Fact 3 - Religion: Not dominated by a specific religion which gave way to religious freedom for Quakers, Catholics, Lutherans, Jews and others.
  • Fact 4 - Climate: The Middle Colonies had a mild climate with warm summers and mild winters
  • Fact 5 - Trade / Exports: The Middle Colonies were the big food producing region that included corn and wheat and livestock including beef and pork. Other industries included the production of iron ore, lumber, textiles, furs and shipbuilding - refer to Colonial Times and Colonial Society.

Middle Colonies - Economic Activity & Trade
There were considerable differences between the New England, Middle and Southern regions. Economic activities and trade were dependant of the environment in which the Colonists lived. The geography and climate impacted the trade and economic activities of Middle Colonies. The Middle Colonies exported agricultural products and natural resources. The Middle colonies are often called the breadbasket colonies because they grew so many crops, especially wheat. The Middle colonies built flour mills where wheat was ground into flour, then shipped to England. A typical farm was 50 to 150 acres consisting of a house, barn, yard and fields. The Middle Colonies were also able to manufacture iron ore products such as plows, tools, kettles, nails and large blocks of iron which they exported to England.

A Reverberatory furnace of 1647 used to melt iron

Middle Colonies Government
All of the systems of government in the Middle Colonies elected their own legislature, they were all democratic, they all had a governor, governor's court, and a court system. Government in the Middle Colonies was mainly Proprietary, but New York started as a Royal Colony. Definitions of both of the government systems are as follows:

  • Royal Government: The Royal Colonies were ruled directly by the English monarchy
  • Propriety Government: The King granted land to people in North America, who then formed Proprietary Colonies

For additional facts and information refer to Colonial Government.

Middle Colonies Religion
The Middle Colonies were not dominated by a single religion which gave way to more liberal attitudes and some religious freedom. There were Quakers, Catholics, Lutherans, Jews and others in the Middle regions and colonies. For additional facts an d information about religion refer to Pilgrims and Puritans or our comprehensive article on Religion in the Colonies.

Original Names of the Middle Colonies
The original names of the Middle Colonies were the Province of New York, later New York and Vermont, the Province of New Jersey, later New Jersey, the Province of Pennsylvania, later Pennsylvania and the Delaware Colony (before 1776, the Lower Counties on Delaware), later Delaware.

Map of the 13 Colonies

New England Colonies

Middle Colonies

Southern Colonies

Middle Colonies Timeline
Discover interesting  information and facts about the history of the Middle Colonies. For a more comprehensive history timeline detailing specific events relating to all of the 13 Colonies refer to Colonial America Time Period. This Middle Colonies Timeline provides a list detailing key events and dates of this amazing period in Colonial history. The Middle Colonies were composed of Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York, and New Jersey. A comprehensive list of the key events which are important to the Middle Colonies Timeline.

Middle Colonies Timeline
Middle Colonies Timeline

1623New Netherlands, which became New York, was settled by the Dutch New Netherlands refer to Peter Stuyvesant and Peter Minuit. In 1664, King Charles II granted New Netherland to his brother James, Duke of York who took a fleet to the area. The Dutch surrendered New Netherlands without a fight and it was renamed New York.

1630The Great Migration - Mass migration of thousands of English people to the Americas that took place between 1630 and 1640.

1638Delaware was settled. The Duke of York combined New Netherland and New Sweden and renamed the area Delaware. This region became part of Pennsylvania until 1703 when it created its own legislature.

1640The Quakers, or Society of Friends, was a Protestant sect founded in England whose members believed that salvation was available to all people

16511651 1660 1663 The Navigation Acts. The colonies represent a lucrative source of wealth and trade. Navigation Acts regulate colonial trade and enable England to collect duties (taxes)

1664New Jersey was settled. The Duke of York granted some land to Sir George Carteret and Lord John Berkeley who named their colony New Jersey. They provided grants of land and religious freedom in the colony. The two parts of the colony were not united into a royal colony until 1702

1673The Plantation Duty Act

1675The Lords of Trade are appointed in England to enforce the new mercantile system and maximize potential profits for England

1682Quakers Settle in Pennsylvania. The Quakers were persecuted in England and looked to have a colony in America with religious freedom. William Penn received a grant, which the King called Pennsylvania. The first settlement was Philadelphia.

1686Formation of New England - King James II combines the colonies of Connecticut, Massachusetts Bay Colony, Plymouth, Rhode Island, New York, New Hampshire, East Jersey and West Jersey into a single colony: The Dominion of New England.

1688King James II appoints Sir Edmund Andros to serve as Captain General and Governor in Chief of New England. Sir Edmund Andros causes dissension with the colonists as he does not have to answer to any elected assembly

16881688 - 1763 The French and Indian Wars between France and Great Britain for lands in North America

1689Feb 13, 1689 The Glorious Revolution. The Protestant William III and Mary II officially replace the Catholic James II as monarchs of England. The English Bill of Rights which enables Parliament to control laws and taxes

1689Mar 1689 Glorious Revolution Sparks Revolt in the colonies. Boston militiamen seize Governor-in-Chief Andros and put him in jail. The New England colonies begin to re-establish governments. Jacob Leisler (1640-1691) was a German immigrant who led the insurrection against local colonial officials from 1689 to 1691 in colonial New York

16961696 Salutary Neglect. The British government establishes the Board of Trade to oversee colonial policies practicing a policy of "Salutary Neglect," in which it gives the colonies considerable freedom in economic matters.

1702New Jersey. The two parts of the colony of New Jersey were united into a royal colony until 1702

1703Delaware. The Duke of York gained New Netherland and New Sweden which had been founded by Peter Minuit. He renamed the whole region as Delaware. This area became part of Pennsylvania until 1703 when Delaware created its own legislature

17071707 The Union between England and Scotland created the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain' and the term British, as opposed to English, is then used in reference to the colonists in North America.

1763The Royal Proclamation of 1763 was issued October 7, 1763 bringing the introduction of the massive boundary, which was the Proclamation Line between the colonies and Indian Territories

1764Sugar Act

17651765 The Stamp Act of 1765 

1765The Sons of Liberty was an an organization (a secret society) formed by American Patriots who opposed British measures against the colonists, and agitated for resistance

17671767 Townshend Acts

1773Tea Act

1775The American Revolution (1775- 1783) ended the Colonial America Time Period

1776A document declaring the US to be independent of the British Crown was signed on July 4, 1776, by the congressional representatives of the 13 Colonies
Middle Colonies Timeline
Middle Colonies Timeline - 1607 to 1696

Middle Colonies

The Middle Colonies article provides important information and interesting facts at a glance about the Middle Colonies including the date the colonies were established, the systems of government, religions, details of trade and the economic activities in the Middle Colonies. The names of important people associated with the founding and establishment of the Middle Colonies. A helpful, illustrated educational resource for teachers, kids and children.

Middle Colonies

  • Interesting Facts and information via the Middle Colonies

  • Middle Colonies history timeline

  • Fast Facts and info with the Middle Colonies

  • The Middle Colonies is great resource for kids

  • Social Studies Homework help for kids on Middle Colonies

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