Geography of the Colonies

The English colonies in North America were located between the Atlantic Ocean and the Appalachian Mountains. France had colonies to the north while Spain had colonies to the south. The thirteen colonies were divided into three regions by geography and climate: New England, middle colonies and southern colonies.

In New England crops didn’t do well due to the rocky soil that developed from the glaciers during the ice age. Forests and hills also made it hard to farm. The summers were warm in New England but the winters long and cold; the growing season was only about five months. Colonists in New England used other natural resources to make a living. They cut trees to make buildings and boats. They caught fish and whales for food.

Glaciers pushed the soil from New England into the middle colonies. The soil was rich, deep, and good for farming. The growing season was longer than in New England, with more sun and rain. Colonists used riverboats on long, wide rivers such as the Hudson and Delaware. They sent crops to sell in nearby towns. Colonists also hunted deer and beaver for food and fur.

The southern colonies had the best climate and land for farming. It was warm almost all year long. The soil was rich. The growing season lasted for seven to eight months. The many waterways along the southern coast formed the tidewater region. The fall line was along the Appalachian Mountain range. There, rivers flowed from higher lands to lower lands. The backcountry was the land in back of the area where most colonists settled. It was steep and covered with forests. Farms were small, colonists hunted and fished for food.

Source: Geography of the Colonies
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