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Economies of Cuba and Puerto Rico 16th - 18th Century

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Essay title: Economies of Cuba and Puerto Rico 16th - 18th Century

The economies of Cuba and Puerto Rico are very similar during the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. As Spain colonized these two islands in the 16th century under the idea that gold was abundant. Thus in turn the islands became a safe port for Spain and her vessels. It also set out to be a huge migration from the Spain to the islands, because everyone was set to search for gold. . This turned out to be short lived as the mining of gold peaked in 1517 till 1819. By Spain using Cuba and Puerto Rico for mining gold they needed slave laborers as the local Indians. The Indians soon became unsatisfied with their new conditions of living, they became hostile and many not able to cope with being slaves committed suicide and genocide. By 1540 В– 1550 silver was discovered in Mexico and Peru. As Spain found its' new source of income in Mexico and Peru, it left Cuba and Puerto Rico to literally fend for themselves. By the 1590's their economy began to prosper by cattle breeding and farming as this lead to new jobs on the islands. This new slow and uneven growth led supplies to be more expensive.

By the 17th century the cabildos began to govern migration, basically they stopped migration. The Spanish government implemented regulation and restrictions, which in demand increased prices and taxes. As a result, many began to use the black market in order to purchase contraband. At this time agriculture also developed and farming expanded with sugar, coffee and tobacco crops. These new crops also served to encourage new settlements. No longer a remote military outpost, food shortages and inflated prices worsened. Supplies did not increase and money was not sent from Spain. The cost of goods did not decline but contraband increased.

In the 18th Century, the English occupy Cuba in 1762 for 10 months, as it helped Cuba to see that they could be with better leadership and if they get the attention they needed. This occupation lead to free trade with England and the American Colonies, in turn it abolished trade tax. Vendors from England arrived offering Cuba consumer goods and industrial items. The ports were open to maritime traffic, which increased markets and increased demands. The new markets also increased prices and stimulated sugar and tobacco production in the absence of Spain. Also in 1797 the English invaded Puerto Rico, which lead to the acquisition of Trinidad.

Yes, I believe the islands were the "Victims of Mexico and Peru?" Since Mexico and Peru were filled with riches like silver, the mother country Spain totally turned their attention away from the islands. The islands no longer had anything of value for Spain to reap any profits, the gold ran out and the other industries had no significance. It seemed as though Spain never truly had any intentions of keeping these islands, because it will always consider the people of these islands as "second class citizens." Supplies never arrived, if the money arrived they are a year past due wages for the soldiers and civil servants also fell short. How can an economy survive if no one gets paid? Basically since supply ships were very late, many people and merchants had to use local resources or the black market to fulfill their needs. This helped create new opportunities

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