The Middle Colonies

New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware

New York

New York was founded by the Dutch and originally called New Netherland. When the English acquired the colony, King Charles I gave it to his brother, the Duke of York, and the colony was renamed New York. The Duke of York still lived in England, so he appointed governors to help make decisions for New York. The colonists traded with the Natives for fur and mostly had subsistence farming.

New Jersey

In 1664, the Duke of York gave some of his land to his friends, George Carteret and John Berkeley. This was originally called East & West Jersey. After a while, the two became one and was renamed New Jersey. Like New York, the colony had governors that made the decisions. New Jersey also farmed only what they needed for survival.


Pennsylvania was founded in 1682, by a Quaker named William Penn. It was a proprietary colony and many people came here because of its freedom. In Pennsylvania, the colonists voted for their representatives and had a lot more say in the government than in other colonies. This was also one of the only colonies that treated the Native Americans fair and bought the land instead of waging war on the Natives to take over the land.


Delaware was once a part of of Pennsylvania. It became its own colony in 1638.