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Trade in the 1850s

The repeal of the Navigation Acts in 1849 opened up trade

British ports were now open to ships of all nations. American clippers began to successfully compete with British tea carriers from China to England.

In the 18505, British shipyards began building many clippers for the China and Australian services, to rival the Americans. Many were built on the Clyde, in Sunderland, and Liverpool

Iron was thought to taint the tea cargo so it was not used.

In 1850 Kong the record was 97 days for the voyage from London to Hong

In 1852 ( 2 years before the Countess set sail ) the Challenger race was held. The British Challenger was built in 1852 and beat the American Challenge. John Harrison went on board in Sydney.

Mid 1850s - Composite ships with iron frames and wood planking were being built.

Slave ships were illegal, but still common.

Opium ships were also common

Crimean War ended 1856

In 1869 the Suez canal was opened to steamers. Sailing ships still had to go by the Cape of Good Hope so very few were built.


Gold discovered in Australia in 1849, so passengers were carried out there during a goldrush. - The first part of the triangular trade route.

Possible cargoes:
Lemons and oranges from the Azores
Fish, butter, cheese
Sugar, shells, coffee, hemp, rice picked up around Africa
Grain and nitrates from West of South America Possibly coal from Australia to China ( second part of triangular trade route)
Tea, silk, cups, plates from China ( third part)