From Ports to Forts

Free trade is not a new concept. Ancient civilizations distributed goods from Mexico to Canada through a vast trade network. Metals, pottery, blankets, guns, horses, and more were exchanged across America. American Indians traded metal, pottery, pipes, and beads. French, English, and Spanish explorers traded blankets and guns for furs and gold. From seaports to portages to overland forts, the National Park Service preserves the places and stories of commerce. Step back in time and discover America’s trade routes.

Last updated: October 20, 2017