The Middle Colonies The Middle Colonies included New York and New Jersey and

The middle colonies the middle colonies included new

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The Middle Colonies The Middle Colonies included New York and New Jersey, and later Pennsylvania. England took control of New York and New Jersey (then called New Amsterdam and New Sweden, respectively) from the Dutch in 1664. New York was made a royal province in 1685, and New Jersey in 1702. Both colonies were governed by a royal governor and a general assembly. Economically, the colonies relied on grain production, shipping, and fur trading with the local Native Americans. In 1681, Charles II granted the last unclaimed tract of American land to William Penn. Penn, a Quaker, launched a “holy experiment” by founding a colony based on religious tolerance. The Quakers had long been discriminated against in the Americas and England for their religious beliefs and their refusal to bear arms. Seeking religious freedom, Quakers, Mennonites, Amish, Moravians, Baptists, and others flocked to the new colony. Pennsylvania soon became economically prosperous, in part because of the industrious Quaker work ethic. By the 1750s, Pennsylvaniaʼs capital, Philadelphia, had become the largest city of the colonies with a population of 20,000. The Southern Colonies Virginia, centered in Jamestown, dominated the Southern colonies, which included the Chesapeake colonies, Maryland, and the Carolinas. The region was more religiously and ethnically diverse than the Middle or New England colonies, harboring immigrants from all over Europe, many Roman Catholics (especially in Maryland), and a large number of African slaves. In the South, families were smaller than in other regions because adult men far outnumbered women. Men, after all, were needed to work on the regionʼs massive plantations. Plantations, which produced tobacco, rice, and indigo, influenced all aspects of life in the South. The size of plantations limited the development of cities and a merchant class, which had brought such wealth to New England. Plantations drew many immigrants to the Chesapeake region during the seventeenth century through the institution of indentured servitude. Indentured servants were adult men, mostly white, who bound themselves to labor on plantations for a fixed number of years until they earned their freedom and, with it, a small plot of land. However, once free, indentured servants still had to struggle to survive, and conflict arose between the freed servants and the increasingly powerful plantation owners. These tensions flared in Baconʼs Rebellion of 1676. Nathaniel Bacon, an impoverished nobleman, accused the royal governor of Virginia of failing to protect the less wealthy farmers from Native American
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raids. Bacon led a group of about 300 farmers and indiscriminately attacked the Native Americans. The royal governor branded him a rebel, and Bacon led his men to Jamestown, where he occupied, looted, and burned the city while demanding political reforms. Bacon died suddenly the same year, abruptly terminating the rebellion, but tensions between rich and poor remained.
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