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The distinction of white linen, the rare treat of sweetness, the still rarer taste of coffee that made its drinkers sparkle, and the cravings they've inspired. Limited access to water influenced drinking habits, cooking, hygiene, and sartorial (tailoring/clothing) practices. Housewives and laundresses coped with mountains of dirty linen by the river or by the pond. The great sent their laundry to the American islands for a whiter wash; the poor rioted for soap as well as bread. Society moved from an economy of scarcity and salvation to one of plenty and prodigality. But the move was slow and spotty. The world we have lost was ripe for rejectionIn the mid-eighteenth century Britain the world's greatest trading nation. Manufacturers export a wide variety of textiles and hardware. Rich London and Bristol merchants imported tropical goods and more modest provincial merchants dealt in Baltic timber and grain. Two century earlier, England had been an economic backwater, exporting unfinished heavy woolen cloth to the Low Countries for further finishing before their sale throughout Europe. During the century and a half after 1750, British firms and British investors provided leadership in industrial revolution technology and policy shift that created a fully globalize trading world. The bulk of Britain's trade remained focused on nearby areas of Europe. Exports remained primarily woolen cloth but some change was underway by 1660. At the beginning of the seventeenth century British merchants exported heavy unfinished woolen cloth to more advanced textile centres in the Low Countries for finishing and final sale. After 1568, revolt in the Spanish Netherlands and the Thirty Years War severely disrupted this trade. Many skilled Protestant craftsmen and merchants escaped the horrors of war and religious prosecution on the Continent and brought their skills and capital to England. English firms began to produce lighter, more finished, woolen (and worsted) cloth the New Draperies and established a flourishing trade with southern Europe independent of the Low Countries. Although Britain's European trade developed and remained the source most trade, the rise of long-distance trade attracted the attention of contemporaries and historians. These trades introduced exciting new goods printed calicos and silks, porcelain, sugar, tobacco and tea to everyday use in the eighteenth century and expanded European horizons. The trade demanded large capital and new forms of organization. The East India and West India merchants epitomized new wealth, sophistication and political influence that had accumulated in London as a result of a commercial revolution.
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The American Trade
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Over the years
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