Middle Colonies American History - Facts and Information - Life, Religion, Trade
The middle colonies consisted of New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania colony. New York and New Jersey Colonies was settled by the Dutch and was called New Netherlands. Colonial Delaware originally settled by the Swedes, became part of the Dutch colonies after a brief war. New Netherlands had a multi-ethnic population consisting of Dutch, German, French, Scandinavian and African. religious affiliations were as diversified as the ethnic population and included Protestants, Catholics, Jews, and Muslims. Although the population claimed affiliation with some sort of religion, it was not that important in everyday life. This was evident in the fact that the colony had no place to worship yet there were plenty of taverns. Delaware was the exception, the Swedes settle there first. Old Swedes Church built in the early 1600's in Wilmington still stands today. The presence of religious and ethnic diversity and the lack of public churches indicated a lack of public concern over religion. Although squabbles between religious sects and ethnic groups did occur, the colony was able to work around their differences. New Netherlands emulated Amsterdam which was the only city in Europe to practice religious toleration. As in the case of Amsterdam, New Netherlands was established for successful commercialism. the middle colonies successfully integrated and refused to require residents pay taxes to any official church. diversity played a key role in religious toleration.
The Quakers began with groups of people who were dissatisfied with the established Church of England., Quakers, known as Seekers, had no leader until George Fox. Throughout his journal, Fox writes of many fellow Quaker imprisoned and persecuted throughout England and the Colonies. yet in his travels fromBarbados to New York in the 1660's, Fox writes of Quaker meetings held throughout the colonies as well as in some of theCaribbean Islands he visited. Therefore persecution did not discourage the spread of the religion. During his travels in the Colonies, Fox writes of his stay at he home of the Governor of Delaware and of the Friend's meeting held there. For a Governor to have allowed a dissenting religious group to hold a religious meeting in his private home indicated a high level of religious tolerance in the middle colonies.