Alejandro “The Port: Shipping and Trade” and “Notes”

The author discusses the movements of ships and how even though it may have seemed chaotic and unorganized, it was a rather “complex system” (11).  The integrated system consisted of commercial circuits, specifically mentioning the transoceanic circuit (11).  The author then goes into detail discussing how importance Havana is as a shipping port because it “was one of the few places in the Americas where these circuits converged and the only port where all the returning vessels came together before sailing back to Europe” (12).  Next, the author discusses how the sources available helped reshape the shipping movement in Havana (12).  as noted, in the mid 1580s, the Havana shipping movement grew and continued for the next ten years (13).  Due to all of this, Havana served the role “as a regional trading center” specializing “in the reexportation of colonial commodities” (14).  Soon after, the author notes how these colonial commodities reflect colonial territories (17).

Various colonial commodities were then mentioned such as silver, indigo, dye, and logwood (17-19).  Furthermore, the author discusses how the largest transatlantic import to Havana is wine (22).  Competition arose from Havana because Mexico came into the industry with silk fabrics that were being produced in New Spain or were made out of Chinese silks (28).  Other than fabrics, the textiles being produced in Havana at this time were “ribbons, galloons, trimmings, laces, and decorative accessories” (31).

The Atlantic Slave Trade is then discussed how the “system of asientos was beneficial to Havana’s economy” because “slave imports in the city grew significantly in the late sixteenth century” (37).  Then, difficulties with the slabe trade were discussed such as trying to trace slaves through the inter-colonial slave trade, illegal transactions, etc. (39-40).  Intercolonial trade was then discussed and how the intercolonial exchanges benefited and boosted trade in Havana, both locally and nationally (44).  Next, the author talked about insular trade and how food was the priority in the interior of Havana (47).