Purpose of the Navigation Acts
The Purpose of the Navigation Acts was to encourage British shipping and allow Great Britain to retain the monopoly of British colonial trade for the benefit of British merchants. The 1660 Navigation Act ensured that the importation and exportation of goods from British Colonies were restricted to British ships which were under the control of British mariners. The following Navigation Acts ensured that the highly lucrative profits to be made from the natural resources and industries in the Colonies securing advantages for the products in Great Britain.
Navigation Acts - Background Information
The background to the Navigation Acts dates back to the period in English History when King Charles 1 had been executed and the country was ruled by Oliver Cromwell and the parliamentarians in England. In 1642, parliament exempted New England exports and imports from all duties, and a few years later all goods carried to the southern colonies in English vessels were put on the free list. This was great news for the American colonies. However in 1651 this position changed with the passing of the first Navigation Act of 1651. Exports are goods sent for sale outside a colony or country. Exported goods earn money. Imports are goods brought into a colony or country. Imported goods cost money - refer to Triangular Trade.