English colonists did not have to wait until the Gulf of St. Lawrence and its river were free of ice to launch their boats. Because they were located directly on the Atlantic Ocean, the Thirteen Colonies were accessible to ships year-round. The major colonial ports of Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Charleston were all near the sea. These ports also had the advantage of being near major ocean currents, which sped up communication with Europe. In the case of Boston, the port also had easy access to huge schools of cod located off the coasts of Newfoundland.
The importance of transportation by boat fuelled shipbuilding and the creation of a merchant marine, which criss-crossed the ocean between the Thirteen Colonies, the West Indies, Africa, England, Scotland, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.
Boat transportation was not limited to the oceans. Ships could also easily carry goods between the colonies. A few deep bays (Delaware) and rivers (Hudson) also allowed boats to travel further inland. The former allowed ships to reach Philadelphia, while the latter let ships travel from New York City to Albany.
On land, the townships formed a grid of squares on the territory, which was in contrast to the series of narrow rectangles that could be found in New France. In New France, there was one long main road with smaller side roads. In the Thirteen Colonies, there was a dense network of roads that connected all the townships and towns. This square grid made it easy to travel by horse and cart. It also made it easy for farmers to sell their products in villages, cities and major port towns.
Author: Léon Robichaud