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The Middle Colonies
The Middle Colonies covered what is now New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. Unlike lily-white, lily-religioned Puritan New England, this area was more tolerant and diversein the Big Three Diversity Ways: demographically, religiously, and ethnically. There were immigrants from Germany, Scotland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, and Wales, with people who identified as Lutheran, Quaker, Baptist, and Amish. In general, the Middle Colonies were more tolerantof people who were slightly different. All it took to become a citizen of New York, for example, was to say you were Christian. Hey, we said they were moretolerant, not totally tolerant.The region also had positively stellar dirt. In the hierarchy of dirt, this was the Dirt Emperor. It helped the Middle Colonies become big-time exporters of cereal crops like wheat, barley, and corn. Little-known fact: The first box of Wheaties had a picture of Peter Stuyvesanton it. We're pretty sure that'strue. Don't look it up.Southernmost Atlantic Coast and British West IndiesEven in the pre-global-warming days, there wasn't a ton of frostbite in the southernmost colonies along the Atlantic coast. In these areas that would become North and South Carolina and Georgia there were long growing seasonsand fertile soil, perfect for staple crops like rice and tobacco. If people occasionally died of malaria and yellow fever in the muggy climate, hey, what a small price to pay for prosperity.Indigo and rice composed the bulk of agriculture in the Carolinas, while down in Barbados and other parts of the West Indies it was all about sugar. The sugar cane plant dominated the plantation system in the Caribbean as late as the 20th century. It all started when the Dutch brought sugar caneover in the mid-1600s. Because tobacco and cotton prices were lower due to tons of those crops being grown in the North American colonies, Caribbean farmers jumped on the sugar bandwagon.As we have seen, the rise of the plantation culture in these regions was a major factor in the development of Atlantic slave trade. In some areas, those slaves would come to comprise the majority of the population. It is estimated that at one time there were something like three slaves for every planter in Barbados.Rise of Self-Governance"Neglect" isn't exactly a word that brings to mind candy and unicorns. At times, however, it can be good thing. In fact, Great Britain's failure to run a tight ship in the North American colonies is often referred to by historians as salutary neglect. "Salutary" means healthy or beneficial, and many colonists were more than happy to be living under lax colonial rule.It isn't that Great Britain didn't careabout the colonies. Over 3000 miles and several weeks on the high seas separated the Brits from their colonists, so staying on top of affairs in the Americas wasn't
all that easy. As long as the colonies were making the big bucks, Great Britain was fine to let them manage themselves for a while—and manage they did.
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Colonialism, Thirteen Colonies, Native Americans in the United States, Americas