What Was the Economy Like in Colonial New York?

Colonists in New York made their living in a variety of ways, including fur and lumber trading, shipping, the slave trade and farming. By the end of the 17th century, New York was a prosperous colony with a thriving mercantile network.

During the colonial times, New York was part of New England. Its overseas trade was mostly with England, whose growing population required large supplies of products that were limited in its territory. While the colony existed to enrich England, an internal trading system existed as well, mostly functioning as a barter system between neighbors and small cities located close to New York.