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Colonies in America: Commerce, Business, and the Economy

Trade & Mercantilism

Franz Xaver Habermann. Vuë de Boston. Prospect von Boston gegen der Bucht am Hasen Vuë de Boston vers le Cale du Port / gravé par Francois Xav. Habermann. [177-] Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

While this is a business oriented guide, given the nature of the topic and the time period covered, it was thought that including books written by noted historians covering the history of the European empires, was essential. We have tried to choose newer items with more of a modern perspective, but a number of older items were included because they are considered seminal. All of the items were chosen to provide background on the larger forces at play during the period covered in this guide, particularly as the topic of trade involves relations between the colony and the home country as well as between other European powers and their colonial possessions. While some of these items may not be specifically about trade, this section does include books that are more explicitly about trade with the exception of sources that are purely data and those that are focused on a particular place which can be found in other parts of this guide.

Lastly, if you are looking for particular types of business or business in a particular town or city, utilizing advertisements in newspapers may be a good way to really understand what was going on in a very specific way.

General Resources

There are many books and sources on this topic but what is included here is broad in nature and it is intended to be just a starting point. For more particular discussions – about particular colonies, commodities, situations, etc., other books and articles are going to be necessary to supplement and expand on what is found below. The following materials link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to digital content are provided when available.