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The Occupation of HavanaWar, Trade, and Slavery in the Atlantic World$
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Elena A. Schneider

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781469645353

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469645353.001.0001

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Havana at the Crossroads

Havana at the Crossroads

War, Trade, and Slavery, circa 1700–1762

(p.63) 2 Havana at the Crossroads
The Occupation of Havana

Elena A. Schneider

University of North Carolina Press

Chapter 2 casts a “Havana’s-eye view” on the way its residents positioned themselves inside and outside both the British and Spanish empires during the decades that preceded the British invasion. Well before the British war fleet began its siege of Havana, contraband and the British-dominated slave trade had already transformed the city into a hybrid space, mutually constituted with its British American neighbors. The African peoples brought to Cuba in predominantly British slaving ships were bought and sold as goods, yet, upon arrival, they and their descendants were also regarded as future loyal Spanish subjects, vital economic contributors, and crucial defenders of the king’s realms in a climate of heightened imperial war and rivalry. Havana’s merchants and landowners built a successful economy that profited from both trading with the enemy and making war against them through privateering and wartime transimperial trade. The prevailing patterns of war, trade, and slavery help to explain the reactions of individuals in Havana to the British siege and occupation of their city.

Keywords:   Silver, Privateering, Contraband, Shipyard, Fortress, Prisoners of war, Slave society, Women, Labor, Tobacco

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