The Mid-Atlantic States (also called Middle Atlantic States or simply the Mid Atlantic) form one of the nine geographic divisions within the United States that are officially recognized by the United States Census Bureau. The census classification includes New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, and along with New England comprises the Northeastern United States. This corresponds with the region's traditional definition as the section of the Atlantic Seaboard between New England and the South; however, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia may also be considered part of the Mid-Atlantic region.
From early colonial times, the Mid-Atlantic region was settled by a wider range of European people than in New England or the South. The New Netherland settlement along the Hudson River in New York and New Jersey, and for a time New Sweden along the Delaware River in Delaware, divided the two great bulwarks of English settlement from each other. The original English settlements in the region notably provided refuge to religious minorities, Maryland to Roman Catholics, and Pennsylvania to Quakers and the mostly Anabaptist Pennsylvania Dutch. In time, all these settlements fell under English control, but the region continued to be a magnet for people of diverse nationalities.
The area that came to be known as the Middle Colonies served as a strategic bridge between the North and South. Philadelphia, midway between the northern and southern colonies, was home to the Continental Congress, the convention of delegates that organized the American Revolution. The same city was the birthplace of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the United States Constitution in 1787.
While early settlers were mostly farmers, traders and fishermen, the Mid-Atlantic states provided the young United States with heavy industry and served as the "melting pot" of new immigrants from Europe. Cities grew along major shipping routes and waterways. Such flourishing cities included New York City on the Hudson River, Philadelphia on the Delaware River and Baltimore on the Chesapeake Bay.