The nation’s leading city continued to move ahead when peace at last came after.
the seven years of the American Revolution.
Stephen Girard opened trade to China and India,
becoming one of America ‘s wealthiest merchants, and Philadelphia ships coursed the seas to Baltic and Mediterranean countries.
By 1800, however, New York, rebuilding from the ruins of the British occupation,
forged ahead of its great rivals, Philadelphia and Boston.
Philadelphia ‘s contribution to the maritime scene came to center on the shipbuilding that steadily grew on the banks of the Delaware,
extending to Camden on the Jersey shore, directl y across the river, and south to Wilmington, Delaware.
The gradually accelerating rise of iron hulls and of the steam engine as the propulsion of the future offered Philadelphia’s skilled artisans,
backed by the abundant availability of coal and iron from nearby mines,
an opportunity to take the lead in building the efficient new breed of ships which, from the mid-l 800s on, began to take over the world’s sea lanes.
Of the American seaports, Philadelphia was the first to capitalize on this fundamental trend,
which was going to change the whole nature of worldwide shipping as the 1900s opened. Shipbuilding virtually abandoned New York and Boston.
Down easters-Maine-built sailing ships-crowded their wharves in the protected coastal trades, including the Cape Horn trade to San Francisco.
American capital had fled the seas after the virtual
destruction of the US flag merchant
marine during the Civil War in the 1860.
When peace came in 1865 the restored union watched
other nations carry the growing stream of European immigrants.
and the manufactured goods the American market still
demanded of Europe and carry away the food,
timber and other raw materials Europe relied on from America.
British-built ships sailing under their own Red Duster dominated virtually all the avenues of oceanic trade.
The immense capital resources of what was then the world’s most powerful economy made it possible for.
the English to invest in worldwide marketing and in the fast-changing technology of the ocean steamship.
By 1885 steamships accounted for half the tonnage of the British deep-sea merchant marine.
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