The Colonial Economy

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What comprised the economy of New Netherlands?

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In the seventeenth century, the New Netherlands, headquartered in present day New York, dominated most of the central Atlantic coast of North America, extending from New York through New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware to parts of Maryland. It was a very wealthy colony.

The Dutch, initially under the Dutch West India Company, established permanent settlements in the New Netherlands in order to regularize the flow of furs from America to Holland. Fur, especially beaver, was a primary source of wealth from the colony. The economy was also based on exporting lumber, on the export of agricultural products (including tobacco), and, eventually, on slave trading.

In 1640, the Dutch West India Company lost its monopoly on the colony. This allowed other corporations to establish themselves there, which led to greater economic growth and an expanding population of permanent settlers.

The colony became so profitable that it caught the eye of the British, who took it over in 1664.

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