Economy: How did they make a living? What was the infrastructure for their economy?



New England (CT, ME, MA, NH, RI)

Middle Colonies (DE, NY, NJ, PA)

South (GA, MD, NC, SC, VA)

In which colonial regions were the cities/ports?  merchants?

(#s  from the 1770s)

Smaller cities, ports

·        Boston = 16,000

·        Newport (RI) = 11,000

Big cities, ports:

·        Philadelphia = 28,000

·        New York = 25,000

Charles Town = 12,000


Trading managed by merchants from Britain/New England

Where were tobacco, rice, and wheat grown and where were they sold?

Wheat grown = Connecticut Valley


Wheat sold = New England, South, West Indies.


(Also shipped meat to South.)

NY, PA − Same as Connecticut Valley.


Tobacco grown = Chesapeake (VA. MD)


Rice grown = Carolina (South) and GA, with South Carolinians migrating into GA after the 1750s with their slaves.


Tobacco and rice sold = Northern colonies and Europe


Trading managed by merchants from Britain, later northern colonies.

Where were there industries?

Lumbering, mining, and fishing – on the coast.


1640s – Iron plant established MA.

1760s, NJ iron plant; other small ones

Not major industry.


Some lumbering, naval stores—things used in making ships.

What was the difference both in the type of trades and crafts industries in the North and in the South and who was involved in those occupations?

In general, workers = white laborers or entrepreneurs in colonial towns.


Types of trades and crafts:

·        Blacksmiths, cabinet makers, cobblers, rifle makers, silversmiths

·        Owners of mills for processing grain, cloth, or lumber


In general, workers = slaves on or from large plantations earning money for their owners and possibly their own freedom


Types of trades and crafts:

·        Blacksmithing, carpentry, cobbling

·        Small shopkeepers selling services


What was the difference in the North and South South?

Had an infrastructure—that is, had commercial or merchant class with ships, contacts, and expertise required for global trade.

Ship builders – 40% of British merchant vessels.

South imports and exports directly to merchants (first British, later Northern).


New England

·        CT – Connecticut

·        ME – Maine

·        MA – Massachusetts

·        NH – New Hampshire

  • RI – Rhode Island

Middle Colonies

·        DE – Delaware

·        NY – New York

·        NJ – New Jersey

·        PA – Pennsylvania


·        GA – Georgia

·        MD – Maryland

·        NC – North Carolina

·        SC – South Carolina

  • VA – Virginia







Copyright C. J. Bibus, Ed.D. 2003-2020


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