The Smugglers' World: Illicit Trade and Atlantic Communities in Eighteenth-Century Venezuela

The Smugglers' World: Illicit Trade and Atlantic Communities in Eighteenth-Century Venezuela

by Jesse Cromwell

NOOK Book(eBook)

$26.49 $29.99 Save 12% Current price is $26.49, Original price is $29.99. You Save 12%.
View All Available Formats & Editions

Available on Compatible NOOK Devices and the free NOOK Apps.
WANT A NOOK?  Explore Now

Overview

The Smugglers' World examines a critical part of Atlantic trade for a neglected corner of the Spanish Empire. Testimonies of smugglers, buyers, and royal officials found in Venezuelan prize court records reveal a colony enmeshed in covert commerce. Forsaken by the Spanish fleet system, Venezuelan colonists struggled to obtain European foods and goods. They found a solution in exchanging cacao, a coveted luxury, for the necessities of life provided by contrabandists from the Dutch, English, and French Caribbean.

Jesse Cromwell paints a vivid picture of the lives of littoral peoples who normalized their subversions of imperial law. Yet laws and borders began to matter when the Spanish state cracked down on illicit commerce in the 1720s as part of early Bourbon reforms. Now successful merchants could become convict laborers just as easily as enslaved Africans could become free traders along the unruly coastlines of the Spanish Main. Smuggling became more than an economic transaction or imperial worry; persistent local need elevated the practice to a communal ethos, and Venezuelans defended their commercial autonomy through passive measures and even violent political protests. Negotiations between the Spanish state and its subjects over smuggling formed a key part of empire making and maintenance in the eighteenth century.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781469636917
Publisher: Omohundro Institute and University of North Carolina Press
Publication date: 11/05/2018
Series: Published by the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture and the University of North Carolina Press
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 336
File size: 5 MB

About the Author

Jesse Cromwell is associate professor of history at the University of Mississippi.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

This masterful social history traces elite Europeans' love of chocolate to its main South American source. Cromwell brings colonial Venezuela out of obscurity and offers powerful insights about the negotiated character of empires and the centrality of smuggling to a multitude of Americans: lowly enslaved producers, interloping French, Dutch, and British merchants funneling cacao into transatlantic networks, and Spanish officials who strove in vain to enforce mercantilist ideals. Within a comparative Atlantic framing, Cromwell's Venezuelans make 1770s Bostonians look like honest, peaceful, law-abiding subjects and Bermudians only slightly crooked.—Michael J. Jarvis, University of Rochester



In this deeply researched and theoretically sophisticated history of smuggling and its enemies, Jesse Cromwell brings tacitly accepted illicit trade into sharp and dramatic relief. Venezuelans of all types found a sense of 'community in criminality' by resisting state actors' attempts to monopolize local cacao. This novel argument adds much to the new history of corruption in the Iberian empires and to the Bourbon reforms and their consequences. It also says a lot about that old devil, chocolate.—Kris E. Lane, Tulane University



A fascinating investigation of the murky world of contraband commerce. Illicit trade flourished in early modern Venezuela; it was commonplace, normative, mundane, part of the ordinary fabric of life. Cromwell's insightful book is a tour de force exploration of clandestine, covert, interimperial trade.—Philip D. Morgan, Johns Hopkins University

Customer Reviews