12 Facts About Navigation Acts


The Navigation Acts prohibited colonies from exporting specific, enumerated, products to countries other than Britain and those countries' colonies, and mandated that imports be sourced only through Britain.

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Major impetus for the first Navigation Acts Act was the ruinous deterioration of English trade in the aftermath of the Eighty Years' War, and the associated lifting of the Spanish embargoes on trade between the Spanish Empire and the Dutch Republic.

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Some principles of English mercantile legislation pre-date both the passage of the Navigation Acts Act 1651 and the settlement of England's early foreign possessions.

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The system established by this act, and upon previous acts, was where the Navigation Acts still stood in 1792, though there would be major policy changes followed by their reversals in the intervening years.

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Navigation Acts were repealed in 1849 under the influence of a free trade philosophy.

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The Navigation Acts were passed under the economic theory of mercantilism, under which wealth was to be increased by restricting colonial trade to the mother country rather than through free trade.

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Navigation Acts caused Britain's shipping industry to develop in isolation.

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The Navigation Acts required all of a colony's imports to be either bought from Britain or resold by British merchants in Britain, regardless of the price obtainable elsewhere.

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However, Ransom says that although the net burden imposed by the Navigation Acts was small in size, their overall impact on the shape and growth rate of the economy was significant since the Navigation Acts differentially affected different groups, helping some and hurting others.

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Walton concludes that the political friction caused by the Navigation Acts was more serious than the negative economic impact, especially since the merchants most affected were politically the most active.

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The Navigation Acts were partially responsible for an increase in piracy during the late 17th and early 18th centuries: merchants and colonial officials would buy goods captured by pirates below market value, and colonial Governors such as New York's Fletcher would commission privateers who openly admitted they intended to turn pirate.

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Navigation Acts were resented in Ireland and damaged its economy, as they permitted the importation of English goods into Ireland tariff-free and simultaneously imposed tariffs on Irish exports travelling in the opposite direction.

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