Thirteen Colonies > Middle Colonies
The Middle Colonies were five 1/2 of the thirteen colonies in British America, located between the New England Colonies and the Southern Colonies. Along with the Chesapeake Colonies, this area now roughly makes up the Mid-Atlantic states (though with the notable exception of Vermont, which is reckoned with New England).
Much of the area was part of New Netherland until the British exerted their control over the region. The British captured much of the area in their war with the Dutch around 1664, and the majority of the conquered land became the Province of New York. But The Duke of York and the King of England would later grant others ownership of the land which would become the Province of New Jersey and the Province of Pennsylvania. The Delaware Colony later separated from Pennsylvania, which was founded by William Penn.
The Middle Colonies had lots of fertile soil, which allowed the area to become a major exporter of wheat and other grains. The lumber and shipbuilding industries enjoyed success in the Middle Colonies because of the abundant forests, and Pennsylvania saw moderate success in the textile and iron industry. The Middle Colonies were the most ethnically and religiously diverse British colonies in North America; they had settlers from England, Scotland, Ireland, the Netherlands, and German states. The good farm land was much cheaper than in Europe. With the new arrivals came various Protestant denominations, which were protected in the Middle Colonies by written freedom of religion laws. This tolerance was very unusual and distinct from the situation in other British colonies.