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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. [27]-42

Page [27]


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
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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