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Cape Cod Peddling Over The Ocean Roads

There were few roads in early New England. Travel was slow and difficult. But there was always the ocean. And there were always men to build ships that could trade along the coast.

Much of the life of the coast towns was dependent upon the sea. The inland settlements built industries but shipping and things to do with shipping have always been the staple livelihood of the coastal towns.

In the beginning, the location of the Dutch at New Amsterdam cut New England from the other British settlements. The best way to reach them was by boat. By 1624, the ship carpenter of the Plymouth Bay settlement, had built two shallops. One of them was loaded with corn after the harvest of 1625, and sent to the Kennebec River where the cargo was traded for furs. This was the beginning of the New England coastwise commerce.

By 1627, they had opened trade with the Dutch and in 1631, the first ship on this side of the Atlantic, The Blessing of the Bay, was launched by John Winthrop, and coastal trade was under way. Virginia corn was brought to Salem, and in 1633, when a pinnace from Virginia loaded with cattle and salt sailed into New Amsterdam Harbor, it found there a trading boat from Plymouth.

In 1636 Bermuda potatoes appeared in the market. Trade with the West Indies began and grew. Indigo, sugar and salt came from these islands, then cotton, tobacco and wine. Before the Revolution the West Indies trade was $18,000.00 a year. Trade with Spain began and packet ships went quite regularly to England.

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Cape Cod
Posted by Cape Cod - (website) on 04/06/06
Categories: Getting AroundHistory
Keywords: history, maritime


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