Maryland in The American Revolution - Background - Economy

Economy

See also: History of slavery in Maryland

Despite early competition with the colony of Virginia to its south, the Province of Maryland developed along very similar lines to Virginia. Its early settlements and populations centers tended to cluster around the rivers and other waterways that empty into the Chesapeake Bay. Like Virginia, Maryland's economy quickly became centered around the farming of tobacco for sale in Europe. The need for cheap labor to help with the growth of tobacco, and later with the mixed farming economy that developed when tobacco prices collapsed, led to a rapid expansion of indentured servitude and, later, forcible immigration and enslavement of Africans.

The writer Abbe Robin, who travelled through Maryland during the Revolutionary War, described the lifestyle enjoyed by families of wealth and status in the colony:

" are large and spacious habitations, widely separated, composed of a number of buildings and surrounded by plantations extending farther than the eye can reach, cultivated...by unhappy black men whom European avarice brings hither...Their furniture is of the most costly wood, and rarest marbles, enriched by skilful and artistic work. Their elegant and light carriages are drawn by finely bred horses, and driven by richly apparelled slaves."

In the later colonial period, the southern and eastern portions of the Province continued in their tobacco economy, heavily dependent on slave labor, but as the revolution approached, northern and central Maryland increasingly became centers of wheat production. This helped drive the expansion of interior farming towns like Frederick and Maryland's major port city of Baltimore.

Read more about this topic:  Maryland In The American Revolution, Background

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