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Rough WatersAmerican Involvement with the Mediterranean in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries$
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Silvia Marzagalli, James R. Sofka, and John McCusker

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780986497346

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9780986497346.001.0001

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Worth a War? The Importance of the Trade between British America and the Mediterranean

Worth a War? The Importance of the Trade between British America and the Mediterranean

(p.7) Worth a War? The Importance of the Trade between British America and the Mediterranean
Rough Waters

John J. McCusker

Liverpool University Press

This chapter argues that the American presence in the Mediterranean that surged after the Peace of Paris in 1783 was not the beginning of American involvement in the region, but rather a revival of a pre-existing one. It accomplishes this by exploring the history of American maritime activity: analysing the commerce between the British Continental Colonies and Southern Europe from early colonial settlement up to the American War of Independence. It explores both the visible and invisible components of the colonial balance of payments system, and suggests a financial advantage to Americans far higher than previous estimates have offered. It also considers trade between American and Britain after the 1783 Treaty of Paris; the fluctuating rates of trade goods including tobacco, sugar, and fish; and the threat of North African pirates. It concludes that American willingness to go to war for independence was linked to the profitability of their existing trade links in the Mediterranean.

Keywords:   American War of Independence, British Continental Colonies, 1783 Treaty of Paris, American Shipowning, Colonial Trade

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