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Megalopolis, Economy

ocean trade routes, largest life insurance companies, large urban area, Megalopolis, Chesapeake Bay

Megalopolis lies along a busy oceanic route that extends across the North Atlantic to Western Europe. The presence of the sea has played an important role in the regionís economy since the colonial period. Early merchants transported goods via ocean trade routes, while rivers and land routes promoted trade with interior regions of the colonies and promoted economic growth. Trade and commerce were leading generators of wealth until the mid-1800s, when manufacturing became dominant. After World War II (1939-1945), the basis of the regionís economy shifted to service industries.

In the late 1990s, service industries remained the basis of the regionís economy. Megalopolis houses the headquarters of 33 percent of the largest industrial corporations in the nation, 28 percent of the largest retailing companies, 44 percent of the largest life insurance companies, and 60 percent of the largest diversified financial companies.

Tourism is also important throughout this region. New York City is one of the top tourist attractions in the nation for international travelers. Almost continuous beaches attract summer visitors, who support resort towns. Most states in the region have capitalized on their rich historical background to attract tourism.

Agriculture is important to meeting the demand for food from this large urban area. Commercial fishing has declined, though the region still accounts for about one-quarter of the U.S. catch. Chesapeake Bay yields more crabmeat than all other parts of the country combined.

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