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1600-1754: Business and Communications: Chronology

1600-1754: Business and Communications: Chronology




  • The king of France grants a ten-year monopoly on the fur trade in eastern Canada to Pierre du Guast, Sieur de Monts.


  • King James I charters two profit-seeking Virginia companies.


  • John Rolfe plants his first successful crop of tobacco in Virginia.


  • Dutch fur traders first arrive on the island of Manhattan.


  • English convicts are sent to Virginia as indentured servants.


  • Virginia planters export tobacco, and it quickly becomes a medium of exchange in the colony.
  • The first Africans arrive in Jamestown, Virginia.


  • A tobacco boom begins in the Chesapeake colonies.



  • In exchange for goods worth sixty guilders (twenty-four dollars), the Dutchman Peter Minuit purchases Manhattan Island from local Indians.


  • Lord Baltimore receives a land grant for the first proprietary colony in British North America; he names it Maryland.


  • New England merchants enter the slave trade.
  • The Five Nations of the Iroquois confederacy begin to wage war with neighboring tribes over control of the fur trade.


  • The first patent in the colonies is awarded to Samuel Winslow for a process used in manufacturing salt.


  • Joseph Jencks, a skilled English ironmaker, arrives in Lynn, Massachusetts, to establish an iron-and-brass works.


  • The first American textile factory, a small woolen mill, is established at Rowley, Massachusetts.


  • The first successful ironworks is founded on the Saugus River, near Lynn, Massachusetts.


  • Joseph Jencks receives a Massachusetts patent for a scythe-grinding machine.


  • Parliament begins to enact a series of navigation laws to regulate colonial commerce, industry, and shipping.


  • The Massachusetts General Court licenses Richard Thurley to build and maintain a toll bridge over the Newbury River at Rowley. It is the first of its kind in the colonies and charges two shillings for horses, cows, and oxen; one-half shilling for hogs, sheep, and goats; and no fee for humans.


  • A Maryland law makes slavery hereditary.


  • A Virginia law makes slavery hereditary.


  • King Charles II assigns his brother, James, Duke of York, the proprietor of the colony called New York.
  • King Charles II awards New Jersey to Lord John Berkeley and Sir George Carteret.


  • The first mounted mail service is inaugurated between New York and Boston, and it takes three weeks for a rider to travel the route.


  • More than six hundred ships and four thousand New England sailors are engaged in the fishing industry.


  • German settlers in Pennsylvania establish the first paper mill.
  • Large-scale whaling operations begin off of Nantucket, Massachusetts.
  • Enslaved Africans begin to replace white indentured laborers in the Southern colonies.
  • Benjamin Harris begins to publish the first newspaper in the British colonies, the Boston Pub lick Occurrences.


  • Parliament creates the Board of Trade and Plantations to counsel the king regarding his North American possessions.
  • Rice cultivation is introduced in South Carolina.


  • Britain opens the slave trade to all its merchants.
  • The Woolen Act prohibits the export of woolen goods from America or between the colonies.



  • Whalers begin to hunt in deeper waters after Christopher Hussey becomes the first American to kill a sperm whale.


  • Capt. Andrew Robinson of Gloucester, Massachusetts, builds the first American schooner.


  • The volume of the slave trade doubles over the next fifteen years.


  • Probably the first lighthouse in the colonies is built on Little Brewster Island in Boston Harbor.


  • Scots-Irish immigrants begin to grow potatoes in Londonderry, New Hampshire.


  • Rice exports from South Carolina grow over the course of the next thirty years.



  • The Hat Act prevents the production of beaver and felt hats in the colonies.


  • A stagecoach line starts operations and connects Burlington with Amboy, New Jersey.


  • The Molasses Act imposes a six-pence tax on each gallon of molasses imported from the French and Dutch sugar islands.
  • Trustees open Georgia to debtors with the intention that they will help defend the colony from Spanish Florida.


  • John Higley of Simsbury, Connecticut, mints the first copper coins in the colonies.



  • James Oglethorpe convinces Parliament to ban slavery in Georgia.
  • Indigo is established as a successful staple crop in South Carolina.


  • Andrew Duché, a Huguenot residing in Savannah, Georgia, makes the first porcelain in British North America.


  • The Iron Act prohibits the expansion of finished iron and steel manufacturing in british North America.


  • The Currency Act prevents the colonies from establishing land banks and using public bills of credit to pay private debts.
  • Sugarcane is introduced in Louisiana by Catholic missionaries; it is used to make taffia, a kind of rum.


  • Georgia trustees legalize slavery.


  • The first steam engine arrives in America; John Schuyler of North Arlington, New J ersey, uses it to pump water from his copper mine.
  • There are approximately 140,000 African slaves in North America.

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