How Insurance Helped the U.S. Prosper: Cargo Vessels Sail to the New World : Dear Insurance Agent...
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How Insurance Helped the U.S. Prosper: Cargo Vessels Sail to the New World

by A. Montalbano on 09/01/14

Early Voyages.  In 1492, the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria, financed by the Spanish Empire, set sail west on an expedition lead by Christopher Columbus.  Underestimating the size of the world, Columbus believed he landed in China.   Along with other explorers, such as Cortes, gold, spice, sweet corn, tobacco, and potato were among the products returned to Spain.  Over the course of expeditions to the new world the shift of world domination was lead by Spain.   The Spanish transported horses, cows, pigs, wheat, barley, and sugar cane to the new world. Bigger ships and better technology such as the sextant made extended voyages possible and into the route to China.  Hence, the trade route leading to the new land and Asia eventually increased wealth among merchants.

By the 1600s, Queen Elizabeth's England would embark on the new world.   Three thousand miles of a treacherous passage into the unknown territory created a tremendous risk of famine, disease, and conflict with natives.  For the survivors, prospecting natural resources was ideal and word to the mother land created an out-pouring of newcomers.  Ships returning home were filled with timber, tobacco, rum and sugar.  The Jamestown Colony, was founded by a venture group, the Virginia Company and became the start of successful colonization by the English in North America.

Young America. Ports in the new land grew busy as valuable cargo criss-crossed the Atlantic Ocean.  By the mid 1700s, the colonists grew resistant to British taxation of product. Although Mother England saw little to worry about, a revolution was in the making. 
At the height of independence from English rule, with little time and funding, the American government authorized small armed private ships to attack British vessels.  With an influx of profiteers saw a rise in piracy.  Although better ships were built and financed by banks and insured by the insurance companies, British ships remained vulnerable to profiteers and pirates. 

                                                   Next: Colonial America and Benjamin Franklin

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