Navigation Acts were a series of laws passed by the British Parliament in the 17th and 18th centuries. These acts regulated trade between Great Britain, its colonies, and other foreign countries. The Navigation Acts were an important part of world history as they helped to shape the global economy and the balance of power between nations.
Background: In the early 1600s, Great Britain was a rising power in Europe and was eager to expand its influence and wealth. The Navigation Acts were one way that the British government sought to achieve these goals.
The first Navigation Act was passed in 1651, during the reign of Oliver Cromwell. It required that all goods imported into England or its colonies be carried on British ships or ships from the country where the goods originated.
The Acts: Over time, additional Navigation Acts were passed which further regulated trade. In 1660, another act required that all goods exported from England or its colonies be carried on British ships or ships from the country where the goods originated. This act also listed certain goods that could only be exported to England or its colonies.
In 1663, another act was passed which required that all European goods imported into English colonies had to first be shipped to England before being re-exported to the colonies. This ensured that England received a share of profits from colonial trade. Other acts followed which placed duties on certain imported goods and established a system for licensing trade.
- The Navigation Acts had a significant impact on world history as they helped establish Great Britain as a dominant economic power.
- The acts stimulated growth in British shipping and encouraged entrepreneurs to invest in shipbuilding.
- However, some historians argue that the acts also had negative consequences such as stifling competition and limiting economic growth in the colonies.
The Navigation Acts were eventually repealed in the mid-19th century, as Britain’s economic and political power had shifted and the acts were no longer necessary. However, their impact on world history can still be felt today. The legacy of the Navigation Acts includes the establishment of Britain’s economic dominance, the rise of global trade, and the development of colonial economies.
In conclusion, the Navigation Acts were a series of laws passed by Great Britain which regulated trade between its colonies and other countries. These acts helped to establish Great Britain as a dominant economic power and had a significant impact on global trade. While controversial in their time, their legacy can still be felt today in the global economy.