From 1613, the future provinces of New York, New Jersey and Delaware were largely Dutch possessions centred on New Amsterdam on Manhattan Island. A Swedish attempt to seize control of the Delaware River was ended by the Dutch in 1655, only for the British to take over all the Dutch American colonies in 1664. Thereafter New England was precisely that. The earliest British Middle colony was Maryland, founded by Lord Baltimore in 1632 as a Catholic refuge, although it would later receive Protestant settlers. The former New Netherland was gifted to the Duke of York, who commissioned the 1665 Concession and Agreement to entice settlers to New Jersey with religious freedoms and a degree of governmental and fiscal autonomy. King Charles II granted the proprietary of the new Province of Pennsylvania to William Penn in 1681. Penn’s constitution for the new colony promoted tolerance of both religion and the local natives.
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