Key dates

1651 - Navigation Ordnances
Passed by Oliver Cromwell's Parliament. Prevented Dutch trade with Britain

1660 - Navigation Act
Passed by the Restoration Parliament. Restricted trading between England and her colonies to English shipping. Further Acts passed in 1662 and 1663

1707 - Anglo-Scottish Act of Union
Scotland included within the operation of the Navigation Acts

1786 - Navigation Act
Required the registration of all ships trading within the British Empire (in order to exclude non-British shipping)

1799 - West India Dock Act
Authorized the first phase in the expansion of the Port of London

1823 - Reciprocity of Duties Act
Marked an important early stage in the transition towards 'free trade'

1849 - Repeal of the Navigation Laws
Marked the end of 'protection'

1850 - River Tyne Improvement Act
Began the transformation of the River Tyne into a major international port

1853 and 1860 - W.E. Gladstone's budgets
Removed many duties on imports

1929-33 - The Depression worsens
Conditions in Britain's major exporting industries of textiles, coal, shipbuilding declined

1932 - Import Duties Act
Marked return to 'protection' with a ten per cent tariff on imports

1972 - European Communities Act
Parliamentary assent to Britain's membership of the EEC

1993 - European Communities (Amendment) Act
Ratified Britain's assent to the Treaty of Maastricht creating the European Union

Also within Living Heritage