What Were the Industries of the Middle Colonies?

The industries of the Middle Colonies included shipbuilding, iron working, lumber, textile manufacturing, printing, publishing and agriculture. Geography contributed significantly to the types of industries that were found in the Middle Colonies because the land in the modern-day states of Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania was substantially more fertile then that found in the colonies to the South and further North.

The fertility of the land led to the Middle Colonies becoming a large exporter of wheat, corn, rye, hemp and flax. Furthermore, large forests in the Middle Colonies gave rise to the lumbering, shipbuilding and paper-making industries. The focus on paper manufacturing also gave birth to all the industries that supported book and newspaper publishing, such as printing.

The publishing industry, along with the Middle Colonies’ centralized location on the east coast of North America, helped facilitate the saturation of American colonial ideals, philosophies and knowledge throughout the region. The Middle Colonies were also more religiously and ethnically tolerant than any of the other British colonies due to the presence of large numbers of immigrants. The Middle Colonies took steps to protect the rights of those immigrants by passing legislation that protected the religious freedoms of those who lived there.