An Empire of Trade
1760s Broadside advertising imported goods
The period between the Peace of Utrecht in 1714 and the Treaty of Paris in 1763 marked the explosive growth of a British Empire fueled by global trade. At the center of the British commercial engine were the dynamic transatlantic networks that connected British manufacturers to colonial consumers and colonial goods to British and European markets. The pattern of economic development differed markedly from colony to colony, however. The New England and Middle Colonies, settled largely by people looking for distance from Britain, had developed trading ties that were directed primarily to the West Indies and other mainland colonies by the time of the American Revolution. In contrast, the colonies in the Chesapeake and Lower South, established primarily as commercial ventures, focused on the production of valuable staple export crops that tied them closely to British commercial interests.