A heavy, broad-wheeled covered wagon that was used extensively during the late 18th century and the 19th century in the United States. It was named after the "Conestoga River" or "Conestoga Township" in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and is thought to have been introduced by Mennonite German settlers.
The Middle Colonies comprised the middle region of the Thirteen Colonies of the British Empire in North America. During the American Revolution, the Middle Colonies became independent of Britain as the states of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York and Delaware.
The partly unglaciated Middle Colonies enjoyed fertile soil vastly different from the nearby New England colonies, which contained more rocky soil. Because of the large grain exports resulting from this soil, the colonies came to be known as the Bread Basket Colonies. Pennsylvania became a leading exporter of wheat, corn, rye, hemp, and flax, making it the leading food producer in the colonies (and later states) between the years of 1725 and 1840 . Broad navigable rivers of relaxed current like the Susquehanna River, the Delaware River, and the Hudson River attracted diverse business. Fur trappers moved along these rivers, and there was enough flow to enable milling with water wheel power.
Abundant forests attracted both the lumbering and shipbuilding industries to the Middle Colonies. These industries, along with the presence of deep river estuaries, led to the appearance of important ports like New York and Philadelphia. While the Middle Colonies had far more industry than the Southern Colonies, they still did not rival the industry of New England. In Pennsylvania, sawmills and gristmills were abundant, and the textile industry grew quickly. The colony also became a major producer of pig iron and its products, including the Pennsylvania long rifle and the Conestoga wagon. Other important industries included printing, publishing, and the related industry of papermaking.
The Netherlands granted an exclusive patent for trade in the New World to the Dutch East India Company. This monopoly would be valid for 4 voyages, all of which had to be undertaken within three years after the patent was awarded. Soon after, traders built Ft. Nassau in the area of present-day Albany.