Port and Entrepôt
In 1800, New York was one of three, roughly equal-sized port cities serving as central places in the region comprised by the nine northern U.S. states. One important economic function of each of these cities was the provision of mercantile services—transportation of goods and people, trade-goods dealing and brokerage, wholesale and retail sales, commercial jurisprudence, business journalism, etc. This chapter, therefore, deals in some detail with the ways in which commerce was conducted in the Atlantic world from the late seventeenth to early nineteenth centuries. One aim of this analysis is to identify ways in which New York as a commercial center differed from the other two important ports so as to set the stage for understanding how and why this City became the North American metropolis during the next phase of its history.
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