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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The 1780s decade ran from January 1, 1780, to December 31, 1789.

March 13, 1781: Uranus is discovered.
March 13, 1781: Uranus is discovered.
The first manned hot-air balloon, designed by the Montgolfier brothers, takes off from the Bois de Boulogne, on November 21, 1783
The first manned hot-air balloon, designed by the Montgolfier brothers, takes off from the Bois de Boulogne, on November 21, 1783
September 17, 1787: The United States Constitution is signed in Philadelphia.
September 17, 1787: The United States Constitution is signed in Philadelphia.

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Transcription

After the United States becomes independent, the British no longer are going to protect American ships. In fact, American merchants are shut out from the West Indies, which had been their principal trading partner. They're also shut out from the Mediterranean, the British instigate Algiers to begin attacking American ships. So, the two most likely places for American merchants to go, the Mediterranean and the Caribbean are now closed to them. Some Boston traders, Boston merchants, get together with merchants in New York in the mid 1780s and finance a voyage of two ships, the Lady Washington and the Columbia, to go around Cape Horn and go to the Pacific Northwest. There they trade for otter pelts. They take these otter pelts across the pacific to Canton, China or Guangzhou, China and they trade the otter pelts for tea and for silk and for silver and bring this back to Boston. So, in 1787 the Columbia returns to Boston with tea, this is about fourteen years after Bostonians had dumped tea into Boston Harbor, now they're bringing tea directly from China. This is an expensive undertaking, a risky undertaking, but it turns out to be an extraordinarily lucrative undertaking for the Bostonians who'd gotten into this China trade. It brings wealth and tea, silk, and silver to Boston. It also opens up trade in the Pacific Northwest, and we can see in the Pacific Northwest places like the Columbia River named for the ship Columbia, towns like Salem and Portland carry names of New England towns. And here in Massachusetts we see an influx of wealth and also a changing of names. The town of Ponkapoag, south of Boston, an Indian praying town from the 1600s, becomes the town of Canton in the 1790s in recognition the trade with China. So, we have this connection opening up between Boston and the rest of the world. Also, Bostonians trading across the pacific will open up the Pacific to American whaling. So, we see a real venture here out into the Pacific by merchants from Boston in the wake of the American Revolution. We have some notable achievements by New Englanders, Thomas Handasyd Perkins is one of the merchant families that invest in the China trade. Nathaniel Bowditch from Salem devises a new guide to navigation, Bowditch's navigator is still one the resources used in international trade. The British manuals had a lot of inaccuracies which, I believe, the British kept there intentionally so that other ships would run aground. But Bowditch corrects the navigational guide and leaves a mark navigation for years to come. So, we see phenomenal advances of capital in Boston, and all this is brought to a grinding halt in 1808 when the Jefferson administration imposes an embargo. This is because Britain and France were at war, both were attacking American ships, and so the Jefferson administration thought if we simply withhold all of our trade, A: they cannot attack it, and B: they depend on American trade and this will bring Britain and France to their knees, which doesn't really happen. Instead, it does interrupt New England trade, devastates the New England economy, then in 1812 a three-year war begins with England which further interrupts and devastates New England commerce. And what the merchants of New England do, those who had profited from the China trade, is they invest in other things; in textile manufacturing and industrialization. The China trade resumes after the war, and in Canton, into the late 19th century Americans were traditionally dubbed "Boston men" by the Chinese, as they believed Boston was its own country. The vessels they would see coming into Canton all had Boston on their quarter, and so Boston become synonymous in China with America, and Bostonians benefit from opening the trade with China, the trade with Asia, that is going to change the American economy.

Contents

Events

1780

January–March

April–June

July–September

October–December

Date unknown

1781

January–March

April–June

July–September

October–December

Date unknown

1782

January–March

April–June

July–September

October–December

Date unknown

1783

January–March

April–June

July–September

October–December

Date unknown

1784

January–March

April–June

July–September

October–December

Date unknown

1785

January–March

April–June

July–September

October–December

Date Unverified

1786

January–March

April–June

July–September

October–December

Date unknown

1787

January–March

April–June

July–September

October–December

Date unknown

1788

January–March

April–June

July–September

October–December

Undated

  • Annual British iron production reaches 68,000 tons.

1789

January–March

April 30: First President of the United States, George Washington, elected.
April 30: First President of the United States, George Washington, elected.

April–June

July–September

October–December

Date unknown

Notable world leaders

Note: Names of country leaders shown below in bold face have remained in power continuously throughout the entirety of the decade

Europe

Asia

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