The Political Economy of Smuggling: Regional Informal Economies in Early Bourbon New Granada

By Lance Grahn | Go to book overview

Chapter 5
CORRUPTION AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE: SMUGGLING AT CARTAGENA DE INDIAS AND IN ITS HINTERLAND

First reconnoitered by Spanish explorers in 1502 and then settled in 1533 by Pedro de Heredia, Cartagena de Indias quickly became the focus of imperial activities on the Spanish Main. The formalization of the fleet system made Cartagena the trans-Atlantic entrepôt for New Granada. Galleons stopped at the port both before and after the Portobelo fairs, supplying goods for a smaller trade fair there. In the eighteenth century, the port was also the primary destination of lone register ships to Tierra Firme. Just as Cartagena served as the distribution center for imports, it also funneled legal New Granadan exports into the Atlantic economy.1

Of course, "the security of the goods and monies of the merchant community [at Cartagena] depended upon the defense of" the port.2

____________________
1
Jorge Juan and Antonio de Ulloa, A Voyage to South America Describing at Large the Spanish Cities, Towns, Provinces, etc. of that Extensive Continent, translated from the Spanish, 2nd ed., rev. and corrected, 2 vols. ( London: L. Davis and C. Reymers, 1760), 1: 21, 78-79, 98; Eduardo Lemaitre, Cartagena colonial, Biblioteca Colombiana de Cultura Popular, vol. 108 ( Bogotá: Instituto Colombiano de Cultura, 1973), 45; AGI, Santa Fe 384, Pedro Fidalgo, Governor of Cartagena, to the crown, Cartagenan, 8 May 1737; José Raimundo Sojo, El comercio en la historia de Colombia ( Bogotá: La Cámara de Comercio, [ 1970]), 5; Pedro Fermín de Vargas, Pensamientos políticos y memoria sobre la población del Nuevo Reino de Granada, Ensayos, vol. 6 ( Bogotá: Biblioteca Popular de Cultura Colombiana, 1944), 4-5; Nicolás del Castillo Mathieu , "El Puerto de Cartagena visto poralgunos autores coloniales," Thesaurus 20 ( 1965): 144-145; AHNC, Contrabandos, vol. 7, fol. 566, Extracto de un real orden, n.p., n.d.
2
AGI, Santa Fe 384, Fidalgo to the crown, Cartagena, 8 May 1737.

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