China Trade Trail

The China Trade Trail beckons you to ten Massachusetts destinations important in the American China trade, a phenomenon in our nation’s history. The Revolutionary War was won! No longer would citizens be tethered to economic constraints dictated by England. In the 19th century, Boston-based entrepreneurial merchants seized the opportunity to trade with the East. At first, departures to China took place from the exotic port at Salem. As trade accelerated, operations moved to the deeper waters of Boston to accommodate larger ships and provide more docks to meet the demand of growing fleets.

The story might have ended there if not for the extraordinary China trade history preserved in Greater Boston. In addition to the transport of tea, a ship’s cargo would include exotic goods and works of art from the East. The merchant families wrote memoirs and kept letter books, passing down a rich and colorful past. Visit each site to learn about these trading families and trace their trade routes along the African, South American, and American Pacific Northwest coasts.

Select the stars on the map below to learn about each point of interest.