Within a few years of their first fur export in 1621, the Plymouth colonists, unable to make their living through cod fishing as they had originally planned, began concentrating almost entirely on the fur trade. According to History.com, the colonists developed an economic system in which their chief crop, Indian corn, was traded with Native Americans to the north for highly valued beaver skins, which were in turn profitably sold in England to pay the Plymouth Colony’s debts and buy necessary supplies.The first fur export in 1621 ended in disaster. Under the care of Robert Cushman, the first American furs to be exported from the continent leave for England aboard the Fortune. During Cushman’s return to England, the Fortune was captured by the French, and its valuable cargo of furs was taken. Cushman was detained on the Ile d’Dieu before being returned to England.
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