Although the 13 colonies had been closely connected with other British colonies in the Western hemisphere before the American Revolution, they were not joined by them in their struggle for independence. This meant that previous economic and political ties between the colonies were severed. Unlike the majority of colonists in the 13 colonies, whose families had been there for generations, most of the English-speaking colonists in the British West Indies, Canada, and Florida were much more closely connected with Great Britain.
When long-established trade connections between the British colonies were disrupted by the outbreak of the American Revolution, the remaining loyal colonies had to quickly adapt. For example, instead of sending sugarcane and molasses to the New England colonies, merchant ships from the West Indies rerouted to Canada or directly to England. Food shortages also occurred in the West Indies, which had previously relied on imported food from the mainland. More food had to be brought from other British colonies to help alleviate famine on the islands. Many slaves on the islands died from hunger, and the economic disruption there was significant.
Rerouting long-established trade routes between the colonies was not easily done. This often meant traversing hostile waters, especially once the French navy became involved in the conflict. Numerous supply ships were engaged, captured, or chased off course by the French. Because of the value and vulnerability of the West Indies colonies, the British felt obliged to devote significant resources to their protection. The loyal British colonies did their best to support each other economically and fill in the gap left by the rebellious colonies. However, the nature of warfare made this a difficult and resource-consuming endeavor.