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Enumerated Commodities


ENUMERATED COMMODITIES were colonial products permitted to be exported only to limited destinations, generally British colonies, England, Ireland, Wales, Berwick on Tweed, or, after 1707, Scotland. The first article enumerated was tobacco in 1621, by order in council. Parliament later enumerated other goods by specific act, including sugar, tobacco, indigo, ginger, speckle wood, and various kinds of dyewoods in 1660; rice and molasses in 1704; naval stores, including tar, pitch, rosin (omitted in 1729), turpentine, hemp, masts, yards, and bowsprits in 1705; copper ore, beaver skins, and furs in 1721; coffee, pimento, cacao, hides and skins, whale fins, raw silk, potash and pearl ash, iron, and lumber in 1764; and all other commodities in 1766–1767. Such legislation aimed to prevent important products from reaching European markets except by way of England. Enumeration did not apply to similar products from non-British possessions.

Parliament exempted direct trade to points in Europe south of Cape Finisterre for rice in 1730; sugar in 1739; and all additional enumerated products in 1766–1767. Thus, direct exportation to Europe was forbidden north of Cape Finisterre and permitted south of that point. After 1765 rice could be exported to any place south of Cape Finisterre and was not limited to Europe, giving American rice an open market in the foreign West Indies and Spanish colonies.


Middleton, Richard. Colonial America. Cambridge, Mass.: Blackwell, 1996.

O. M.Dickerson/c. w.

See alsoNavigation Acts ; Triangular Trade .

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