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In the 1840s, the clipper ship, a new merchant vessel was created by American ship builders to provide faster transport of cargo through oceanic waters. Later, English ship builders also began production of the clipper ship. Clippers were optimized for speed only and were used for carrying highly priced cargo in small quantities, such as tea, spices or opium.

Clipper ships had three masts completely covered with square sails. Thanks to its swiftness in carrying cargo, this unique mast-and-sail configuration enabled the clipper ship to gain the immense popularity it enjoyed in the mid-to-late 19th century.

In 1869, with the opening of the Suez Canal, steam vessels became much more prevalent and the tea trade began to collapse for clippers. From the late 1860s through the early 1870s, the clipper trade increasingly focused on carrying immigrants between England and Australia and New Zealand, due in part to the Australian Gold Rush that began in the 1850s. Still, sailing ships continued to be the main carriers of cargo to and from Australia and New Zealand in to the 1880s; however, eventually even this became unprofitable, and marked the end of the clipper fleet.

LITERATURE
L. G. G. Ramsey, Montague Dawson (Leigh-on-Sea, England: F. Lewis, Publishers, Limited, 1967), p 46, listed

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