The intensified exploitation of local resources gave rise to trading, pastoral, and agricultural economies that satisfied military, civilian, and external markets alike. The profits generated by this relatively rapid expansion not only promoted native development along the frontier, but attracted immigrants interested in similar gains from other areas of economic endeavor. The subsequent development of new ventures in manufacturing and mining, combined with the expansion of existing areas of production, eventually created a series of economically developed districts along the frontier. Each of these districts possessed a complex economy. The basic function of production was to fill the needs of the local military units. Beyond this was the possibility of the development of a particularly abundant local resource for shipment along the great water route that united both the units comprising the army of the frontier and the local economies of the districts in which they were stationed. Even beyond this was the possibility of developing local trade goods to use in tapping the rich resources beyond the frontier. The establishment of the frontier and the arrival of great numbers of foreign troops taking up permanent stations in their midst suddenly placed incredible burdens on the frontier populations, but also opened great opportunities to them. In time, the opportunities came to outweigh the burdens, and a dynamic and distinctive frontier society began to emerge.
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Publication information: Book title: The Western Frontiers of Imperial Rome. Contributors: Steven K. Drummond - Author, Lynn H. Nelson - Author. Publisher: M.E. Sharpe. Place of publication: Armonk, NY. Publication year: 1994. Page number: 35.