Specialized business history is covered in American business history.The colonial economy differed significantly from that of most other regions in that land and natural resources were abundant in America but labor was scarce.
Settlement was sparse during the colonial period and transportation was severely limited by lack of improved roads.
Towns were located on or near the coasts or navigable inland waterways.
Just before the revolution, tobacco was about a quarter of the value of exports.
Also at the time of the revolution the colonies produced about 15% of world iron, although the value of exported iron was small compared to grains and tobacco.
The death rate from diseases, especially malaria, was higher in the warm, humid southern colonies than in cold New England.
The higher birth rate was due to better employment opportunities.Dried and salted fish was also a significant export.North Carolina was the leading producer of naval stores, which included turpentine (used for lamps), rosin (candles and soap), tar (rope and wood preservative) and pitch (ships' hulls).After 1829 population growth was very rapid due to high birth rates (8 children per family versus 4 in Europe) and lower death rates than in Europe, and immigration.The long life expectancy of the colonists was due to the abundant supplies of food and firewood and the low population density that limited spread of infectious diseases.The free white population had the highest standard of living in the world.There was very little change in productivity and little in the way of introduction of new goods and services.Under the colonial system Britain put restrictions on the type of products that could be made in the colonies and put restrictions on trade outside the British Empire.Initial colonization of North America was extremely difficult and the great majority of settlers before 1625 died in their first year.Settlers had to depend on what they could hunt and gather plus what they brought with them and on uncertain shipments of food, tools and supplies until they could build shelters and forts, clear land and grow enough food and build gristmills, sawmills, iron works and blacksmith shops to be self-supporting.They also had to defend themselves against raids from hostile Indians.