National Geographic : 1959 Jul
Scouring the World for Trade, Seamen Carry the Flag to China Revolutionary guns had hardly cooled be fore ships set out to find the commerce which would stabilize the young Republic's chaotic economy. In 1784 the Empress of China pioneered the route to Canton; fleets of merchantmen followed. Once there, the Stars and Stripes joined flags of Denmark, Spain, France, Sweden, Britain, and Holland before warehouses where foreigners were required to trade. Yankees made fortunes exchanging furs and ginseng-a root prized by Chinese as a medicine-for teas, silks, and porcelain. Voyages took Old Glory also to Mauri tius, Calcutta, and European ports. By the end of the Napoleonic Wars, American bot toms were carrying the goods of the world. Treasure from the Indies fills warehouses of the Crowninshield family at Salem. The darker flag at wharf's end has blue stripes as well as red and white ones, recalling Franklin's error (page 95).