What Landforms Were in the Middle Colonies?

The landforms in the middle colonies included mountains, rivers forests and the Atlantic coastline. These landforms shaped the economy and culture of the middle colonies.

Located south of the rocky, unforgiving New England colonies and north of the fertile southern colonies, the middle colonies featured a diverse set of people and geography. The Appalachian mountains to the west, the mountain ranges in northern Pennsylvania and New York, and the Atlantic coast created natural boundaries and obstacles in the middle colonies. Such physical barriers helped shape the young colonies and the states that emerged later.

The rivers in the region were critical to the middle colonies. The Hudson, Susquehanna and Delaware rivers ensured a shipping industry and attracted a multitude of other businesses. Imports to coastal harbors as well as fishing and shellfish caught in the Atlantic could be transported inland to other settlements on these river. Hunters and trappers flocked to the Hudson for pelts and game. The rivers allowed timber to be shipped from the abundant forests in the area and provided an export means for the harvest, which included flax, hemp and grains. These agricultural products grew abundantly in the middle colonies’ fertile soil.

These river-based industries developed the port cities of Philadelphia and New York, which became the middle colonies’ major cities, and they played a crucial part in the development of the colonies and American culture.