The Port: Shipping and Trade

This article was a good read because it explained the relationship of a port city with shipping and trade. This article made me realize how fundamental shipping is to port cities. Ships were very important to port cities. They represented a complex system of communication and trade. Havana was a central location for many of the ships to come together before heading back to Europe. There are sources that recorded the history of the ships and their movement. Many ships stopped at Havana for different periods of time to resupply their ships and to gather items. There is a chart with a records of ships coming and leaving the port. In the 2nd half of the 16th century there was an increase of ships. The number of ships outgoing mostly went to San Lucar de Barrameda. The author that includes an analysis of Havana’s trade. Havana specialized in the exploitation of colonial commodities. The highest conration of of trade was between June to September. There is lack of records of items for Europe manufacturers and products. The author showed a chart of the different commodities exports and imports. A big commodity was indigo and was listed for for dyes and medical use. All of this trade increased the jobs in the shipping business as sailors. In Havana they imported a lot of wine for Europe for consumption and than trade. Wine was a staple item in the diet of many people who lived in Havana. Another big item that was traded was fabric and it showed the importance of European producers in provisioning colonial markets (25). The author pointed out that the higher end cloth was from Holland and the lower-medium cloth was from France. A lot of the silk fabric came from Spain. There was a competition between European silk and the silk coming from Mexico and Asia. The quality of the silk from Asia was high. The author put in the fabrics imported with different quality and prices. The author then moves into the Atlantic slave trade. The trading of enslaved people had been around for awhile but was changing in the 1600’s. You had to get a license from the government or crown to get a license. The crown did try to place regulations on slave trade. In the beginning of the 16th century slave trade was limited but really but really took off later. This was kept on baptism records. Not counting the enslaved people brought in illegally. There was also a lot of intercolonial trade.  The intercolonial trade was either to serve Havana’s needs or to take advantage of the system (43). Food was a big item to trade and food was a large import into Havana. Havana had been a large shipping area that influenced the rest of the island. 

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