The history of shipping throughout the eastern portion of the state began during the colonial period. During that time, trading points were established along the Pamlico Sound in Bath Town, on Lionel Reading and Emanuel Cleaves' plantations, and in Washington for local planters to exchange goods with foreign shippers. Out of those ports listed, Washington became the more integral town. In the 1780s a flourishing trade developed between Washington and points in eastern North Carolina. Washington trade also expanded during this period to Europe and the West Indies.