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NATIONAL BIRTHPLACE

The mid-Atlantic states began as the middle colonies of England, which were first claimed by the Netherlands and Sweden. New York is the northernmost state north of New Jersey and Pennsylvania with Delaware and Maryland (one of 13 original colonies) to their south. New York was the original nation’s capital, but in 1790 the first President George Washington created the District of Columbia, a separate capital to become Washington DC (US capital).

This varied region extends from the Canadian border of upstate New York to southern Maryland with Deep South charm. The Atlantic seaboard centers around poultry and seafood, especially crabs, clams, and oysters. tomato-broth Manhattan clam chowder, Maryland blue crab, Buffalo chicken wings,

Washington DC

Hartford (state capital), New Haven (Yale University), Mystic (port), Stamford

Maryland

Providence (state capital), Newport (mansions)

Delaware

Dover (state capital), Wilmington

Pennsylvania

Harrisburg (state capital), Philadelphia, Pittsburg, Amish and Quaker communities

New Jersey

Trenton (state capital), Jersey City, Atlantic City, Newark, Hoboken, Cape May, Ocean Grove

New York

Albany (state capital), New York City, Niagara Falls, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse

The Capitol
Photo by Ali Giaudrone

Washington DC

Washington DC (District of Columbia), home to the United States federal government, was founded in 1790 while George Washington was president. To maintain neutrality, the nation’s capital city is a separate district not designated to any of the 50 states. Unfortunately, though Washington residents are US citizens, they don’t currently have presidential voting rights due to the use of the electoral college (a body of electors deemed outdated, per many) only allocated to the states.

The electoral college was created by the Founding Fathers as a tool to elect a president—a compromise reached in an effort to balance fears of governmental corruption and a lack of public knowledge (perhaps still relevant). Today’s information technology could make this tool obsolete if only the public could depend on technology to provide only factual information to help everyone make informed decisions.

Many argue that US politics has become a circus—a bipartisan power struggle—where capitalism has taken over democracy, and big money and special interests dictate policy and control. Others insist that every vote matters and believe that liberty prevails.

True freedom is only achieved within orderly societies, where each of us views ourselves as part of a greater whole, and when everyone has the ability to share ideas, achieve hopes and dreams, and live without fear or desperation but rather with a sense of our unique purpose.

See the official Washington DC Tourism pages.



MARYLAND


Baltimore Inner Harbor
Photo by Ali Giaudrone

Maryland

Defined by its waterways of the Chesapeake Bay north of DC, Maryland was colonized by England in the 17th century as one of the original 13 colonies to become states. Inner Harbor of Baltimore, the largest city in Maryland, was established in 1729 as a port city and serves as a vibrant, historical hub. Chesapeake blue crab cakes are a must when visiting Maryland.

See the official Maryland Tourism pages.



DELAWARE


Delaware River Tributary, Wilmington
Photo by Ali Giaudrone

Delaware

Delaware became the nation’s first state to officially ratify the US Constitution in 1787 and is the native home to the Lenape people of the eastern Algonquin tribe. Although Dover is the state capital founded by William Penn in 1683, Wilmington is the state’s largest city and was the site of the first Swedish settlement in the new world in 1609.

The Dutch laid claim to Delaware (though it frequently changed hands with the Swedes) when they established a trading spot in Lewes in 1631. The threatened natives who had lived here for 11,500 years wiped out these first settlers. Still, the resilient Dutch continued to rebuild even after the English duke seized control of the land in 1664.

Today’s three Delaware counties, New Castle, Kent, and Sussex, were all established in 1682 when Penn received the area with his land grant of Pennsylvania. Scotch, Irish, and Welsh settlers established Newark in 1694.

See the official Delaware Tourism pages.



PENNSYLVANIA


Philadelphia
Photo by Ali Giaudrone

Pennsylvania

Philadelphia is the state’s largest city, located on the Delaware River in the southeastern corner of Pennsylvania. It was in this city at Independence Hall where independence was declared and the US Constitution was adopted.

Two rivers join to form the Ohio River in Pittsburgh, the second-largest city on the far western side of the state. Once the center of the steel industry center, the few remaining steel mills are all outside of the city limits. The heavily forested western state is also known for coal mining in the Appalachian, Allegheny, and Catskill Mountains. Harrisburg is the state capital on the Susquehanna River.

The Lenape and various Iroquoian tribes lived here when colonists began to move in. Originally settled by the Dutch, William Penn, an English Quaker who had been imprisoned for his writings, received a land grant for what became Pennsylvania from England in 1682, an area including what is now Delaware. Offering religious freedom, the area was flooded with Dutch and German Quakers, Mennonites, and Amish seeking a sanctuary.

During the American Revolution, George Washington led his army across the Delaware River to win an important battle against the British forces in Bucks County. Once independence was achieved, Pennsylvania became the 2nd state to ratify the Constitution in 1787 after Delaware.

See the official Pennsylvania Tourism pages.



NEW JERSEY


Jersey City
Photo by Ali Giaudrone

New Jersey

A popular vacation destination along the Atlantic Ocean, across the Hudson River from New York to the east and bordered by Pennsylvania and Delaware River to its west, is New Jersey with the highest state population density.

Originally a food-growing region giving it the “Garden State” nickname, the state has since become an industrial center between the populous cities of Newark, Hoboken, and Jersey City, across the Hudson from New York City, and the capital city of Trenton along the Delaware River. Over 50 resort towns line the Atlantic coastline including Atlantic City, Cape May, and Ocean Grove.

For 12,000 years, indigenous people of the Lenape tribe lived in the region. After it was discovered by an Italian explorer in 1524, the Netherlands, Finland, and Sweden each colonized and disputed over the area in the early 17th century until it was seized by the English in 1664. As one of the original British colonies, New Jersey was an important revolutionary battleground became the 3rd state to ratify the US Constitution in 1787.

The state can be divided geographically: the southern pine forest hills and salt flats of the Atlantic Coastal Plain, the northeastern 20-mile wide Piedmont river valley, the flat-topped ridges and lakes of the Highlands to the west, and the mountainous Appalachian Ridge and Valley in the northwestern corner.

Historic power watermills include two in the town of Clinton and one at the Paterson Great Falls, which today is a National Historic Park. Allaire State Park is known for its 19th-century ironworks in the restored industrial-era town of Allaire Village but also offers tranquil scenery.

See the official New Jersey Tourism pages.



NEW YORK


New York City
Photo by Ali Giaudrone

New York

The state of New York stretches from Canada to the Atlantic Ocean. Along its northwestern Canadian border are Lake Erie, Niagara Falls, Lake Ontario, and the St. Lawrence River. The major seaport of New York Harbor meets the Atlantic at the mouth of the Hudson River. Upriver is Albany, the state capital, where the Dutch first settled in 1614.

Iroquois-speaking natives such as the Mohawk, Cayuga, Oneida, and Seneca lived on this land for 5,000 years before Europeans discovered the “new world.” Over time, as more settlers arrived to claim more land, disputes with the natives increased. Many were killed by disease or war, pushed out, or sent to live on reservations.

The Dutch settlers were the first to establish their colony of New Netherlands. They established the trading post of New Amsterdam in 1624 on the island of what became Manhattan until the English seized control of the area in 1664 and renamed their colony, New York.

As the first US capital until 1790 where George Washington was sworn in as president, New York City has since been the country’s most populous and densest city, welcoming immigrants from around the world. Manhattan is one of 5 boroughs in New York City along with Brooklyn and Queens on the western end of Long Island, the Bronx to the north, and Staten Island to the south.

Near the Great Lakes are the cities of Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse. The state of New York is also home to some of the state’s top universities including Columbia (est. 1754), Cornell (est. 1865), West Point Military Academy (Army), and New York University (est. 1831).

See the official New York State Tourism pages.

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All About the Mid-Atlantic