Trade and Industry c. 1750

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Map Code: Ax00678

By c. 1750, immigration, high birth rates and abundant natural resources had turned the thirteen colonies into a major consumer and exporter of goods. Most of colonial America’s exports were agricultural, with the Carolinas, Georgia and Virginia exporting raw and processed feed grains, including wheat, Indian corn, rice and tobacco. The Carolinas and Georgia also cultivated indigo, peaking in 1770, for which they used slave labour. The cotton industry expanded in the 1790s, after the invention of the spinning-jenny. Furs, skins, dried fish and lumber were produced in the northeastern territories. New England, New Jersey, New York, Delaware and Philadelphia generated as much iron as Britain, with smelting works near water for easy export to markets. The shipbuilding industry flourished in New England and New York with an average of 50 ships delivered to Britain each year. Britain forbade America from exporting finished goods, to protect their own markets.

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