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Overseas shipping in the 17th Century

Aug 5, 2008
As the year 1600 came and went with the clear leader in the quest for overseas shipping dominance in America being the Spanish, Great Britain took a more aggressive approach and began to seek out opportunities for colonization. Ironically, it was actually a group that was fleeing from religious persecution in England that became the first to establish a permanent foothold. The Pilgrims, a group of Puritans that had been shunned by the Church of England, boarded a ship called the Mayflower and landed at Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620.

The establishment of a permanent colony on the mainland dictated the need for new overseas shipping routes from England. Once the colony had survived their first winter and proven that they would not duplicate the mysterious disappearance of Roanoke, overseas shipping companies from Europe geared up and starting sending supplies, weapons and new colonists on a regular basis. Expansion followed and soon seaports were established in Boston, New York and along the coast of Virginia. The next century and a half saw the building of Philadelphia, Baltimore and Atlanta.

Overseas shipping is the force that built the thirteen colonies of early America from an unstable group of scattered villages into a cooperative force that would eventually challenge a foreign ruler. The natural harbors of North America that were located at the mouths of rivers which led to the interior provided a perfect opportunity for growth. The progressive approach of the British colonists and the constant flow of weapons, food and supplies from overseas shipping companies in Europe provided the necessities and luxuries to build a permanent home for many in a new country.

As the new seaports sprung up on the East Coast, overseas shipping companies from Europe began to establish offices in North America. The new continent provided a wealth of agricultural products and natural resources that were sorely needed by the struggling nations of England and France. The French, who had quietly been colonizing the northern portions of the continent now known as Canada, established the City of Quebec on the St. Lawrence River and began to transport their new found wealth back to Paris.

Meanwhile, the Spanish had a stranglehold on the Caribbean and the undiscovered countries to the south. As the 17th Century came to a close the lines were clearly drawn and conflict over control of overseas shipping routes and trade with Europe seemed inevitable. Tensions began to build once again and nations that had been at odds for centuries prepared for a battle for the New World. The French formed alliances with native Indian tribes in the north. The Spanish sent fleets of warships to reinforce their military bases in the Caribbean in the south. The British, who now had the largest foothold on the continent, prepared for war. The struggle for control was about to come to a head and no one who was involved in it at that point could have predicted the final outcome. The country that would eventually control overseas shipping and trade routes to and from America didn't even exist yet.
About the Author
Nir Dotan is a writer and promoter of
International Shipping
services, and
Auto Shipping
Local as well as International Moving
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