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The transatlantic system: Ports and routes in Brazil, Portugal and the Atlantic Islands

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Chapter Summary

Ports in Brazil served the largest sugar producing areas, and consequently it is not surprising that Pernambuco and Bahia attracted the most traffic. The evidence from notarized contracts celebrated in Lisbon and Porto confirms this abundantly. Freight contracts celebrated in Amsterdam for the Baltic-Portuguese trade in the second decade of the seventeenth century point to the preeminence of Lisbon. Nevertheless, even if Lisbon remained the most important port, the Brazilian sugar trade gave a new life to merchant activity in Porto and Viana. For Viana, involvement in the Brazilian sugar trade began early, and already in 1566 several Vianese ships were recorded as having transported Brazilian sugar. The other indispensable link in the portuary structure of the sugar trade was the role of the Atlantic islands as intermediary ports-of-call. These served both as markets for goods from mainland Europe and especially as suppliers of wine or grain.

Keywords: Amsterdam; Atlantic Islands; Baltic-Portuguese trade; Brazilian sugar trade; Europe; ports



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