America Cities

Seventeenth-century cities depended upon commercial activity, and cities that possessed distinct trading advantages prospered. Cities with a good natural harbor, readily accessible avenues of trade and communication, and an agriculturally productive hinterland tended to thrive in the seventeenth-century maritime economy. Five cities that had some or all of these advantages and ultimately proved influential in the social, cultural, political, and economic history of colonial America were Boston, Newport, New Amsterdam (New York), Philadelphia, and Charles Town. In 1760, these also were the only communities in colonial North America with populations exceeding 5,000. Situated along the Eastern seaboard, each of these cities was ideally suited to benefit from transatlantic trade, and they all quickly became focal points for trade between Europe and the colonies. New Amsterdam, located on the southern tip of Manhattan Island, enjoyed the finest harbor on the North American continent. Founded in 1625 by Cryn Fredricksen, New Amsterdam was the principal New World trading post of the Dutch West India Company. Boston, which was founded by John Winthrop in 1630, was situated on Massachusetts Bay at the mouth of the Charles River and possessed a natural landlocked port that could be kept open most of the year. In 1638, William Coddington and his followers established Newport, Rhode Island, on the best year-round harbor on Narragansett Bay. English settlers set up yet another trading post, which they named Charles Town, on a small piece of land between the Ashley and Cooper rivers in South Carolina in 1680. Though 100 miles from the sea, the Quaker town of Philadelphia, founded in 1682, was situated on the Schuylkill and Delaware rivers, which provided easy access to world markets. Life in the five most populous colonial cities was decidedly commercial. The 10 richest cities in America holidaymapq

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