Curtin, Philip D.; Lovejoy, Paul E. / Africans in bondage : studies in slavery and the slave trade : essays in honor of Philip D. Curtin on the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of African Studies at the University of Wisconsin
Palmer, Colin A.
Chapter 2: The company trade and the numerical distribution of slaves to Spanish America, 1703-1739, pp. -42
CHAPTER 2 THE COMPANY TRADE AND THE NUMERICAL DISTRIBUTION OF SLAVES TO SPANISH AMERICA, 1703-1739 Colin A. Palmer During the first four decades of the eighteenth century, the French and the British dominated the legal slave trade to Spanish America. In 1701 the French Compagnie de Guinee was awarded the asiento or monopoly contract to deliver 4,800 piezas de Indias annually to Spanish America for ten years beginning in 1702. Twelve years later, in 1713, England won a similar contract at the Treaty of Utrecht to supply Spain's colonies with 4,800 piezas each year for the succeeding thirty years. Although these contractual obligations were never entirely fulfilled, the French Guinea Company and the South Sea Company brought about 89,031 slaves to Spanish America by 1739 when the War of Jenkins Ear effectively ended the Anglo-Spanish contract. From the inception of the slave trade to the Americas, Spain excercised a close control over its conduct, direction, and flow. Starting in the early sixteenth century, the Spanish government issued licenses to individual traders to deliver a predetermined number of slaves to the colonists. This system of individual licenses continued until the 1590s when the asiento system was introduced. Under this system, Spain awarded a monopoly contract to the successful applicant to supply the colonists with a specified number of slaves annual- ly. The first Asentista, the Portuguese entrepreneur Pedro G6mez Reynel, received monopoly rights to introduce 4,250 slaves annually to Spanish America for nine years. Six years later, in 1601, the Crown awarded a second asiento to Joio Rodrigues Coutinho for the delivery of a similar number of slaves to the Indies. By 1640, four additional contracts had been awarded to Portuguese slave traders. Understandably, the years 1595-1640 have been characterized as the period of the Portuguese asientos (Vila Vilar 1977). Thereafter, contracts were awarded to a number of other businessmen such as the Genoese traders Domingo Grillo and Ambrosio Lomelin in 1662.
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