BROAD ARROW. All royal property was marked with a figure in the shape of an arrowhead to signify that it belonged to the king. The broad arrow was inscribed on military materiel like cannon, muskets, kegs of gunpowder, and various accoutrements. It was also carved into white pine trees of twenty-four or more inches in diameter, found mostly in the forests of New Hampshire, because these tall, straight-grown, strong trees were needed for naval masts, as an alternative to obtaining them from the Baltic. The "Broad Arrow Policy" in the Naval Stores Act of 1729 reserved for the crown all such white pines growing on lands granted after 7 October 1692, when the restriction had been included in the regranted Massachusetts charter. A masting trade grew up around this resource, benefiting New Hampshire oligarchs and the Royal Navy but antagonizing settlers on the land.
revised by Harold E. Selesky