Barcelona Trading Company

Last updated
Royal Barcelona Trading Company
Public company
Industry Trade
Fate Dissolved
Successor Royal Company of the Philippines
Founded1755 (1755)
Defunct1785 (1785)
Headquarters,
Area served
Catalonia, Caribbean
Productscotton, cocoa, indigo, brandy, wine, chintz
Total equity 1 million pesos
Share of the Compania de Comercio de Barcelona, issued 23. July 1758 Real Compania de Comercio 1758.jpg
Share of the Compañía de Comercio de Barcelona, issued 23. July 1758

The Royal Barcelona Trading Company to the Indies (Spanish : Real Compañía de Comercio de Barcelona a Indias; Catalan : Companyia de Comerç de Barcelona) also known as the Barcelona Company was a trading company in the 18th century chartered by the Spanish crown, operating from 1755 to 1785, and which had a monopoly on trade to the Caribbean islands of Puerto Rico, Santo Domingo and Margarita. The Company provided a legal framework and a focus for capital which enabled Catalan merchants to break free from the restrictions of the Cadiz monopoly on trade with the Indies, provided skills and contacts that enabled the development of free trade between Catalonia and the Americas to flourish after the Company's demise, and contributed to the development of the textile industry which later became the basis of industrialisation in Catalonia.

Contents

Historical context

Since 1503, under the Habsburg kings, all trade with America had been conducted through the port of Seville (and after 1717, Cádiz) under a monopoly that prevented other cities, including Barcelona, from trade with the Americas, or the Indies as they were known.

Tentatively by the late 17th century Catalan goods had reached the Indies via the Spanish coastal trade to Cádiz and this grew slowly until by the mid 1740s entire ships were beginning to be fitted out in Barcelona for transatlantic commerce. [1] :104

The Barcelona Company was one of a number of chartered companies established by the Bourbon crown in the 18th century, part of the larger Bourbon Reforms, with the intention to reform Spanish commerce with the Americas, [1] :100 [2] to integrate the economies at the peripheries of the American Empire and to reduce English and French piracy and contraband in the Eastern Caribbean. [3]

These new companies enjoyed commercial privileges (so sometimes called 'Privileged Companies' in Spanish) and included the Caracas Company, the Honduras Company, the Seville Company and the Havana Company. They strongly resembled the English, Dutch and French trading companies of the 17th century. [4] Trading companies were not the only concerns with royal privileges chartered at this time; a number of royal factories  [ es ] were also established.

Activity

The Barcelona Trading Company was granted a monopoly on trade to the Caribbean islands of Puerto Rico, Santo Domingo and Margarita as well as being allowed ten annual visits to Guatemala and Honduras, trade with Cumaná (north eastern Venezuela) and some limited trading with Havana. [5] [1] :104

The Company exported principally wine and brandy and increasingly chintz (or printed calico Spanish : indianas) as this industry grew in Barcelona. Imported products included raw cotton, indigo, brazilwood, cocoa, tobacco, sugar amongst others. [1] :105

The raw cotton and dyes assisted in the production of chintz that was then reexported to the Americas as well as the domestic (Spanish peninsula) market. As Ringrose says, [1] :105

Unlike virtually all of the other commercial connections being developed, this one promised the sort of economic interdependence between peninsular industry and colonial markets and raw materials that was the ideal of mercantilist economic reformers.

Dissolution

In 1778, King Charles III signed the 'Decree of Free Trade' between Spain and the Americas effectively removing the company's monopoly. The company was further weakened by losing half its ships through the Spanish involvement in the American Revolutionary War. [1] :105 The company was dissolved between 1784 and 1785 and merged with the Caracas Company to form the Royal Philippine Company. [5]

Legacy

The Company provided a legal framework and a vehicle for the concentration of capital necessary to break free of the Cadiz monopoly (which had proven difficult to surmount through the action of individual merchants) and created the conditions that would later allow free trade with the colonies to flourish., [1] :104 [6] :13–15

These conditions included the focus of a large part of the economic activity of the principality of Catalonia upon trade with the Americas, the integration of the economy with that of the colonies [1] and the building a base of knowledge, skill and commercial contacts amongst merchants who came to consider an Atlantic voyage as an everyday occurrence. [6] :12

The trade with the Americas also encouraged and fed the already growing industry of calico print production [7] and, much later, spinning and weaving of cotton cloth (the Royal Spinning Company  [ es ] was established in Barcelona in 1772 to spin American raw cotton [8] :51). The textile industry became the basis of industrialisation in Catalonia in the 19th century, [9] although to what extent colonial trade contributed to the industry's growth, there is some debate. [10]

In contrast to the greater part of the American empire which achieved independence from Spain in the first decades of the 19th century, Cuba, Santo Domingo and Puerto Rico were amongst those few possessions that remained within the empire. Consequently, the trading relationships with Catalonia continued to build upon those established by the Barcelona Company (Antilles trade with all Spanish ports rising 300% between 1850 and 1890 [1] :133,145) until these territories were finally lost in the Spanish–American War of 1898.

Related Research Articles

Jacint Verdaguer Spanish writer and poet

Jacint Verdaguer i Santaló was a Catalan writer, regarded as one of the greatest poets of Catalan literature and a prominent literary figure of the Renaixença, a cultural revival movement of the late Romantic era. The bishop Josep Torras i Bages, one of the main figures of Catalan nationalism, called him the "Prince of Catalan poets". He was also known as mossèn (Father) Cinto Verdaguer, because of his career as a priest, and informally also simply "mossèn Cinto".

Telephone services in Catalonia were introduced in the late 19th century. At the start of the 20th century, the Spanish government left it to private industry to create the infrastructure needed for telephone communications, as a result the companies created only the lines they thought would be profitable. At the time there were two telephone companies in Catalonia: Companyia Telefònica del Vallès and Companyia Peninsular de Telèfons.

Sport in Catalonia

Sport has an important incidence in Catalan life since the beginning of the 20th century. The main sports in Catalonia are football, basketball, handball, rink hockey, tennis and motorsport.

PICAP is a Catalan record label headquartered in Castellar del Vallès, Spain. It was founded in 1984.

Els Hostalets de Pierola Municipality in Catalonia, Spain

Els Hostalets de Pierola is a Spanish municipality situated in the Autonomous Community of Catalonia, province of Barcelona, Spain.

Espot Municipality in Catalonia, Spain

Espot is a municipality in the comarca of the Pallars Sobirà in Catalonia, Spain. It is located in the Espot Valley, east of the river Noguera Pallaresa. The municipality is one of the entrances to the Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park. Espot has been mentioned in documents dating back to the year 839.

Maspujols Municipality in Catalonia, Spain

Maspujols is a municipality in the comarca of Baix Camp, in the province of Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain. This town is first mentioned in medieval documents in the year 1172 under King Alfons II of Aragon.

La Garriga Municipality in Catalonia, Spain

La Garriga is a municipality in the province of Barcelona and autonomous community of Catalonia, Spain. The municipality covers an area of 18.8 square kilometres (7.3 sq mi) and the population in 2014 was 15,762.

Assemblea Nacional Catalana pro-independence organization

The Assemblea Nacional Catalana is an organization that seeks the political independence of Catalonia from Spain. It also promotes the independence of other Catalan-speaking regions, which are collectively known as the Catalan Countries.

The Real Compañía Ópera de Cámara de Barcelona orchestra (RCOC) is a Spanish early music ensemble based in Barcelona. It was founded by its conductor Juan Bautista Otero. The orchestra has been instrumental in reviving several long unperformed Baroque operas.

Josep Maria Castellet Spanish writer, poet, literacy critic, publisher and editor

Josep Maria Castellet Díaz de Cossío, also known as José María Castellet, was a Spanish Catalan writer, poet, literacy critic, publisher and editor.

Josep Bonaplata i Corriol was a Catalan industrial entrepreneur known for introducing the steam engine into Catalonia and Spain. His parents, Ramon Bonaplata and Teresa Corriol, were textile manufacturers, principally of chintz, and he had three brothers, Salvador, Ramon and Narcís.

The Public Diplomacy Council of Catalonia – previously known as the Patronat Catalunya Món – is a public-private consortium set up by the Catalan government, the Generalitat. It is devoted to promoting international awareness of Catalonia within the international community through public diplomacy tools. Albert Royo i Mariné was the secretary general of the Diplomacy Council from 14 February 2013 to October 27, 2017 when the government of Spain decided to close the consortium in application of article 155 of the Spanish Constitution. Its creation has been controversial, since the constitution reserves external action to the government of Spain exclusively. With the arrival of the new government of the Generalitat, the President Quim Torra convened the first meeting of its board of trustees since the beginning of the process of liquidation. With this announcement, the liquidation of the consortium was terminated and the process of reactivation started. In December 2018 its board of trustees appointed Ms. Laura Foraster as the new secretary general of Diplocat.

Aurora Díaz-Plaja i Contestí was a Catalan writer and librarian. Born in Barcelona, Díaz-Plaja also worked as a critic, journalist, lecturer, and translator during her career. She was the sister of the writers Ferran Díaz-Plaja i Contestí and Guillem Díaz-Plaja i Contestí. Her published work included topics such as library management, as well as stories for small children, in both Catalan and Spanish.

Operation Anubis police operation against the Catalan independence referendum

The Operation Anubis was a police operation in Catalonia Spain, initiated on 20 September 2017 by the Civil Guard following orders of the trial court number 13 of Barcelona, directed by judge Juan Antonio Ramírez Sunyer. Its aim was to dismantle the framework of the Catalan independence referendum of 1 October 2017, that was suspended on 6 September 2017 by the Constitutional Court of Spain as breaching the 1978 Constitution. Different headquarters of the Generalitat de Catalunya were searched and 14 people were arrested, including high ranking administrative staff, and company CEO's involved in the preparation of the referendum. Simultaneously, several printing and media companies were searched looking for ballot papers and boxes. More than 140 websites were shut down by the Spanish justice and police.

Catalan Republic (1931) April 1931 short-lived state on the Iberian Peninsula

The Catalan Republic was a state proclaimed in 1931 by Francesc Macià as the "Catalan Republic within the Iberian Federation", in the context of the proclamation of the Second Spanish Republic. It was proclaimed on 14 April 1931, and superseded on 17 April by the Generalitat de Catalunya, the autonomous Catalan government.

Quim Torra Catalan politician, lawyer and editor, president of Catalonia

Joaquim Torra i Pla, known as Quim Torra, is a Spanish lawyer and journalist from Catalonia. Torra is the current President of the Government of Catalonia.

Àngels Chacón Catalan politician

Maria Àngels Chacón i Feixas is a Catalan politician and the current Minister of Enterprise and Knowledge of Catalonia.

Josep Maria Fradera Spanish historian

Josep Maria Fradera Barceló is a Spanish historian, professor of Contemporary History at the Pompeu Fabra University. Specialised in the colonial system of the late Spanish Empire, he has also studied the history of Catalonia.

<i>Destino</i> (magazine) Defunct Spanish magazine

Destino was a Spanish weekly magazine published in Spain between 1937 and 1980, initially in Burgos and from 1939 in Barcelona.

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Ringrose, David (1998). Spain, Europe and the Spanish Miracle, 1700–1900. Cambridge University Press. ISBN   0521646308.
  2. "Compania Guipuzcoana". Encyclopaedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc. 2007. Retrieved 28 October 2017.
  3. Hunt, Nadine (2013). "Contraband, free ports, and British merchants in the Caribbean world, 1739–1772". Studi di Storia Contemporanea: Contrabbandieri, pirati e frontiere: per una storia delle pratiche informali nell'America Centrale (XVII-XXI secolo). Diacronie. Retrieved 28 October 2017.
  4. Céspedes del Castillo, Guillermo (1983). América Hispánica (1492–1898)[Spanish America (1492–1898)]. Barcelona: Labor. ISSN   1885-3943.
  5. 1 2 "Companyia de Comerc de Barcelona" [Barcelona Trading Company]. Encyclopedia Catalana (in Catalan). Grup Enciclopèdia Catalana. Retrieved 28 October 2017.
  6. 1 2 Oliva Melgar, José Maria (1989). Cataluña y el Comercio Privilegiado con America: La Real Compañia de Comercio de Barcelona a Indias[Catalonia and the Privileged Trade with America: the Royal Barcelona Trading Company to the Indies] (in Spanish). University of Barcelona. ISBN   84-7528-485-X.
  7. Martínez Shaw, Carlos (1974). "Los orígenes de la industria algodonera catalana y el comercio colonial" [The origins of the Catalan cotton industry and trade]. In Nadal, Jordi; Tortella, Gabriel (eds.). Agricultura, comercio colonial y crecimiento económico en la España contemporanea[Agriculture, colonial trade and economic growth in contemporary Spain] (in Spanish). Barcelona. pp. 243–267. ISBN   8434465043.
  8. Nadal i Oller, Jordi (2003). Atlas de la industrialización de España, 1750–2000[Atlas of Spanish industrialisation, 1750–2000] (in Spanish). p. 51. ISBN   848432382X.
  9. Thomson, J.K.J (1992). A Distinctive Industrialization: Cotton in Barcelona 1728–1832 . Cambridge University Press. ISBN   0521394821.
  10. Fontana, Josep (1974). "Comercio colonial e industrialización" [Colonial trade and industrialisation]. In Nadal, Jordi; Tortella, Gabriel (eds.). Agricultura, comercio colonial y crecimiento económico en la España contemporanea (in Spanish). Barcelona. pp. 358–365. ISBN   8434465043.