Havana and the Atlantic in the Sixteenth Century by Alejandro de la Fuente

By Alejandro de la Fuente

Havana within the 1550s was once a small coastal village with a really restricted inhabitants that used to be at risk of assault. via 1610, although, less than Spanish rule it had turn into one of many best-fortified port towns on this planet and an Atlantic heart of transport, trade, and shipbuilding. utilizing all to be had neighborhood Cuban resources, together with parish registries and notary, city council, and treasury files, Alejandro de los angeles Fuente offers the 1st exam of the transformation of Havana right into a brilliant Atlantic port urban and the fastest-growing city heart within the Americas within the overdue 16th century.De l. a. Fuente argues that Havana used to be even more than a port servicing the Spanish imperial powers. interpreting how slaves, squaddies, retailers, homeowners, and brief sailors and staff participated socially, economically, and institutionally within the urban, he exhibits how neighborhood objectives took good thing about the imperial layout and the way, within the approach, Havana was once become a Caribbean buying and selling middle with a extraordinarily Mediterranean taste. through situating Havana in the slavery and financial platforms of the colonial Atlantic, de los angeles Fuente additionally contributes to the starting to be specialize in port towns as contexts for knowing the early improvement of worldwide networks for financial and cultural alternate.

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A characterization of Havana as just a station for the Carrera at the service of the empire cannot account for all this movement, much less for the ways in which the various trade routes related to one another. 7 Through this constant flow of vessels and commodities local merchants and residents got access to a large variety of goods. These goods came from production centers all over the world, from Amsterdam to Ceylon, and they were part of life in Havana and other Atlantic port cities. Local merchants, residents, and transients consumed and traded those commodities, shifting them from one sea route to another depending on the available information about local, regional, and distant markets and demands.

The asentista could appoint factors and representatives in the colonial ports and in the African trading factories. He was authorized to ship slaves from Seville, Lisbon, the Canary Islands, or straight from the African coast. Slave ships could travel outside the fleets and could have either Spanish or Portuguese crews. 64 The crown attempted to regulate not only the organization of the trade and the number of slaves entering the New World but also their “quality,” which was linked to certain cultural traits.

The Atlantic Slave Trade The trade involving enslaved Africans was a well-established economic activity by the mid-sixteenth century. The Portuguese explorations of the African coast and the establishment of trading factories during the previous century had opened new exchange opportunities and trading routes on the continent. The production of tropical commodities such as sugar in the first Atlantic islands (São Tomé, Canary Islands, Madeira) had in turn created a growing demand for workers that African slave traders were quick to fill.

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