Colonial Trade

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Colonial Trade

More important was the trade with the colonies, or the plantations, as contemporaries called them.

By the Restoration Virginia and the New England colonies had survived their earlier vicissitudes, and a belated buccaneering exploit under the Interregnum, had captured Jamaica from the Spaniards.

Under Charles II Carolina, Maryland and Pennsylvania were founded, and New York captured from the Dutch.

The population of the colonies grew rapidly; it was reckoned at 300,000 in 1698 and at 2,500,000 three-quarters of a century later, while the colonies accounted for 15 per cent.

of England's overseas trade at the earlier date, and 38 per cent.

at the later.

Colonial products fell into two groups.

First were the semi-tropical, such as Virginia tobacco, West Indian sugar and rum, cotton and dyestuffs, which were exchanged for English manufactured goods or slaves from West Africa.

In the early eighteenth century these trades brought prosperity to Bristol, Liverpool and Glasgow.

Second, those of New England, which were roughly the same as those of the mother country, and which except for a small amount of naval stores, such as timber, did not fit into the ideal scheme whereby the colonies should produce only goods which were necessary to the mother country.

By tillage, pasture, fishing, manufactures and trade, said a writer in 1690, they to all intents and purposes imitate Old England.

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a method that rivals our native kingdom, and threatens, in time, a total independency thereon." Attempts to prevent the different groups of colonies - New England, the Southern Colonies, and the West Indies - trading with each other and with the French West Indies led merely to widespread smuggling; and when George III tried to put it down, he took one of the steps which led to the American Revolution.


Next Step: - Population Growth.

The East India Company

Though throughout the seventeenth century trade with various parts of Europe, in th traditional channels, was still probably the most important and valuable part of English trade, it attracted less attention than that with the East and the Plantations. The East India Company had been founded on December 31st, 1600, and was destined to have an illustrious history.

From the first it differed from most of the other companies in being not a regulated company - that is, a glorified form of gild - but a "joint-stock ", whose members did not trade on their own account, but only shared in its dividends. The East India Company


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