Copyright notice

This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

Navigation Acts (1651, 1660)

by Carmen Miner Smith, 2006

Navigation Acts: Dutch ships masquerading as English vessels, Photograph, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online.The Navigation Acts (1651, 1660) were acts of Parliament intended to promote the self-sufficiency of the British Empire by restricting colonial trade to England and decreasing dependence on foreign imported goods. The Navigation Act of 1651, aimed primarily at the Dutch, required all trade between England and the colonies to be carried in English or colonial vessels, resulting in the Anglo-Dutch War in 1652. The Navigation Act of 1660 continued the policies set forth in the 1651 act and enumerated certain articles-sugar, tobacco, cotton, wool, indigo, and ginger-that were to be shipped only to England or an English province. In effect, these acts created serious reductions in the trade of many North Carolina planters and merchants. To continue intercolonial trade, the colonies resorted to smuggling, particularly Albemarle County in North Carolina, the chief producer and exporter of tobacco, which carried on a profitable trade with the Massachusetts and Rhode Island colonies. The violations of the Navigation Acts led to passage of the Plantation Duty Act of 1673, one of the factors that led to Culpeper's Rebellion.


Oscar T. Barck and Hugh T. Lefler, Colonial America (1965).

Lefler and William S. Powell, Colonial North Carolina: A History (1973).

Hugh F. Rankin, Upheaval in Albemarle: The Story of Culpeper's Rebellion, 1675-1689 (1962).

Additional Resources:

Navigation Acts, Culpepper's Rebellion, LearnNC:

Image Credit:

Navigation Acts: Dutch ships masquerading as English vessels, Photograph, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Available from (accessed Septemeber 7, 2012).




thank you


short and helpful. thanks


this came in handy in my history class. thanks


Thank you


This was an extremely informative, yet short description of the Navigation Acts' causes and effects. Thank you very much.


very nice information. it was very helpful


Dear Varun,

Thank you for your kind remark. I'm glad you enjoyed the article.

Mike Millner, NC Government & Heritage Library


Thanks this really came in handy, keep it up!


This is really helpful


i like this

Add a comment

PLEASE NOTE: NCpedia will not publish personal contact information in comments, questions, or responses. If you would like a reply by email, please note thats some email servers are blocked from accepting messages from outside email servers or domains. These often include student email addresses from public school email accounts. If you prefer not to leave an email address, check back at your NCpedia comment for a reply. Please allow one business day for replies from NCpedia. Complete guidelines are available at