Navigation Acts - The 1660 Navigation Act
The 1660 Navigation Act was designed to prevent fraudulent evasions of the 1660 Navigation Act. The original words and text of the 1660 Navigation Act are detailed as follows:
Navigation Act of 1660
For the increase of shipping and encouragement of the navigation of this nation, wherein, under the good providence and protection of God, the wealth, safety, and strength of the kingdom is so much concerned…from thence forward, no goods or commodities whatsoever shall be imported into or exported out of any lands, islands, plantations, or territories to his Majesty belonging or in his possession…in Asia, African, or America, in any other ship or ships, vessel or vessels whatsoever, but in such ships or vessels as do truly and without fraud belong only to the people of England…or are of the built of and belonging to any of the said lands,
islands, plantations, or territories, as the proprietors and right owners thereof,
and whereof the master and ¾ of the mariners at least are English.
The 'goods and commodities' were tobacco, sugar, rice, cotton, wool, dyeing woods - indigo, etc. Such goods could only be shipped to England. Such goods were to pay heavy duties (taxes) when shipped to England. The money from the taxes went to England, not the colonies from where they originated. Other, non-specified goods, could go directly to foreign ports from English colonies in English ships.
Navigation Acts - The 1663 Navigation Act aka the Staple Act
The Navigation Act of 1663 was also called the Act for the Encouragement of Trade or the Staple Act. The 1663 Navigation Act stated that Colonial exports (mainly American) had to be transported in English, or colonial, ships and that all Colonial imports had to first pass through English ports - whether the goods were for England or another country in Europe. The goods were then to be inspected and taxed. This meant that the English colonies could only receive European goods via England. The 1660 and 1663 Navigation Acts increased the cost, and shipping time, for the colonies.
Navigation Acts of 1673, 1696 and 1773
The Navigation Acts of 1673, 1696 and 1773 were designed to:
- Close more trade loopholes
- Increase the list of 'goods and commodities'
- Increase the duties (taxes) on the goods
- Appoint vice-admiralty courts in Colonial America to enforce the navigation laws
Navigation Acts - The 1733 Navigation Act (the Molasses Act)
The 1733 Navigation Act, also called the Molasses Act added 'fuel to the fire'. The 1733 Navigation Act imposed heavy duties (taxes) on sugar from the West Indies to the American colonies raising the price of West Indian sugar. This forced the colonists to purchase sugar from Britainstead.
Effect of the Navigation Acts
The series of Navigation Acts were seen as a detriment to the American colonies and sewed the seeds of dissension and rebellion in the colonies. At the start of the American Revolution most of colonial traders were involved in smuggling to avoid restrictions placed on trade by the Navigation Acts. The Navigation Acts were repealed in 1849.
The Navigation Acts and the Fur Trade
Beaver fur was the raw material for a good quality felt, that was highly suitable for hat making. Beaver hats served as a status symbol for position and wealth in the 1600 and 1700's. The sales of hats made from beaver skins were an extremely important source of income to the British nation. From 1700 to 1770 the beaver skins that were exported from the American colonies to Great Britain were used to make 21 million hats which the British exported from England to other parts of Europe. Beaver pelts were the first great American trade commodity.
The Navigation Acts
and the Beaver Fur Trade