The Market Revolution was the transformation of the antebellum American economy from a cluster of localized economies into a national economy which allowed the trading of goods virtually nationwide. This transportation would have been impossible earlier because of transportation difficulties. The major port of the United States at this time was New Orleans, as all farm produce from the west was transported down the Mississippi River or its tributaries to New Orleans. Upstream travel was virtually impossible. Several developments made the development of a national economy possible, primarily canals, the steamboat, and most importantly, the railroads. Steamboats made it possible to ship goods upstream. Canals and railroads connected the West with the major cities of the East. Railroads could travel across areas where means of water transport did not exist, and were not hampered by weather. As a result, the major centers of commerce in the nation became the large Eastern cities; while at the same time New Orleans became less important. Additionally, the need for trains to take on water and fuel led to the development of many towns and villages along the railroad right of way.