Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

Capital, créditos e intereses comerciales a fines del periodo colonial: los costos del sistema defensivo americano. Cartagena de Indias y el sur del caribe

Juan Marchena Fernández


The complex situation of the Royal Treasury in the Caribbean during the second half of the 18th century forced the defense plans to be continuously and drastically rectified. The Enlightened Ministers had drawn up these plans to improve the running of the military structure in Colonial America. la this specific region, which was crucial to metropolitan interests, the need to strengthen defense and the accompanying high costs brought about an increase in fiscal pressure and a re-strengthening of the coactive mechanisms to fight smuggling, despite the fact that contraband was pivotal for trade in the Caribbean. This way, the colonial administration could obtain greater benefits and confront the increasing deficits in the Royal Coffers.
This paradoxical situation was never resolved, particularly due to the fact that, in order to achieve a balance in the revenue and spending, measures had to be taken that would favor the participation of the local elite of the make up of the military structure. This, obviously, forced them to concede financial control of the military institutions, that is, the ordinary and extraordinary posts they were controlling. Because of this, the metal trade originating in Mexico, the interior of New Granada and the Kingdom of Quito, was to be used to cover the increasingly growing military expenses. In addition, it fed and developed not only the increasingly intense and extensive commercial relationships, but also the trade of all types of products in the Caribbean world. The effects of this situation turned out to be crucial in the development of the future events for both the period between 1810 and 1830, and, in Cuba’s case, the economic boom of the 19th century.

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