An Island in the Center of Its Hinterland
This chapter begins with an explanation of how the Caribbean sugar industry developed and of its importance to the Atlantic economy as a whole. This is followed by a discussion of the ways in which this industry’s growth, the concurrent imperial warfare, and local public policies influenced the patterns of population growth in the British North American colonies. The initial perspective encompasses the development of the Middle Atlantic and New England regions and their principal port cities, Philadelphia, Boston, and New York. Then, the focus narrows onto New York and an analysis of why this City grew relatively slowly before about 1763 and why immigration accelerated thereafter. The chapter concludes with a review of the economic and political influences that positioned New York City as the central metropolis of a region extending from the headwaters of the Mohawk and Hudson Rivers to Montauk Point on Long Island and from New Haven, Connecticut, to the Raritan River valley in New Jersey.
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