Latin American Colonies Economy

1236 Words 5 Pages
During the age of colonization, Spanish and Portuguese colonies became decisive exponents to European economy. The economy of Latin American colonies was mainly based on mining, agriculture and monopoly. In turn, European’s economy was heavily based on these revenues. Basically, the colonies “existed to increase the economic well-being and political strength of their mother country” (Burkholder and Wasserman, 157). In an effort to maintain their own economic stability, the Castilian and Portuguese crowns tried to regulate the Colonies’ economy as much as possible. Nevertheless, regulations, economic stability and taxation were very difficult to control. Contraband, smuggling and illegal money making offered attractive possibilities for extra …show more content…
Consequently, Spanish and Portuguese crowns generated profits from taxes imposed over the Colonies such as: the quinto real, capitation, and so forth. In the case of Spanish America, revenues were greatly generated from mining precious metal- especially silver and gold. Although agriculture such as crops and cacao also proved beneficial. In Brazil sugar, tobacco, gold and diamonds were quite profitable. For instance, “ The gold rush in Mina Gerais played a far from insignificant role on the eighteen –century world stage” (Boxer, 163).Among all the precious metals found in Brazil, gold seemed the most valuable and easiest to mine. Another profitable business was slave trade. Slaves were profitable because they were sold to work in mines, plantations and to do house work and so forth. Also, the constant demand and vast supply made them a valuable asset. Indigenous and black slaves were determinant to the economy of the …show more content…
Amerindians were the first choice for enslavement. They were often put to work on mines, plantations, doing housework and so forth. Among countless examples, “the Brazil wood trade depended entirely on Brazilian Indians (Boxer, 9). Natives were the ones to cut the trees and carry the heavy logs into the European ships- for instance. Also, “on Brazilian sugar plantations, Indians slaves continued to be the most important labor source until the end of the sixteenth century” (Burkholder and Johnson, 163). In addition, they were often brought back to Europe to be sold as slaves. Although this proved to be less profitable than Europeans had hoped. Nevertheless, given their vulnerability to Old World diseases and their weaker resistance to arduous labor, natives were not as profitable as blacks. Therefore, among the three races, it looks as it though blacks were the ones to work the hardest for the Colonial proceeds. Negro slaves proved to be both more profitable and a vastly superior workforce that their native counterparts. For this reason, they were top choice as labor workers and slaves. In Brazil, for example, “Negro slave labor produced the sugar and tobacco, which formed the basis of the Brazilian economy” (Boxer, 1). They were also put to work on mines and housework. Portuguese whites, on their part, “…even if they were bred with a hoe in

Related Documents