Atlantic Ports and the First Globalisation, c. 1850–1930 by Miguel Suárez Bosa

By Miguel Suárez Bosa

Port towns have been the capability during which cultural and financial trade happened among continental societies and the maritime international. In reading the ports of Brazil, the Caribbean and West Africa, this quantity will offer clean perception into the that means of the 'First Globalisation'.

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Commercial activity in the ports experienced a sharp increase that explains the interest in changing the length and width of the docks and warehouses. 1). Imports, by contrast, performed differently. In the 1920s, the entry of products in both ports tended to balance out due to the lesser role of the port of Las Palmas in redistributing goods. This trend is reflected, with respect to the five years preceding the war, in an average decline between 1920 and 1924 of 77,300 tons in the goods unloaded in Las Palmas (Ϫ32 per cent), and an increase of 26,500 tons in Santa Cruz (ϩ32 per cent).

This stimulated and diversified traffic, commercial development and port services (Davies, 1995). , Elder & Fyffes in the twentieth century. Moreover, coastal shipping experienced strong growth due, firstly, to the establishment of several maritime postal services subsidised by the government, and, on the other hand, to the expansion of domestic demand for transport, especially after 1907 when the ban on foreign flag vessels providing inter-insular navigation came into force. 1). The leadership of Las Palmas can be attributed to increased urban concentration, a higher income level and its role as a redistribution centre for domestic and African markets, reflected in the volumes imported by both ports, where the 237 thousand tons per year on average registered for Las Palmas doubled the figure corresponding to Santa Cruz (115,639 tons per year).

In 1903, in a context of growing regional traffic and increased competition, the coal houses promoted the establishment in London of the Atlantic Island Depot Arrangement (AIDA) cartel that was maintained until the end of the period under analysis, except during the so-called coal ‘war’ in Las Palmas in 1912 and during the First World War (Quintana Navarro, 1985). The agreement, renewable annually, set a reference price for the sale of coal in the Atlantic ports (Las Palmas, Santa Cruz, Mindelo, Funchal and, later, Dakar), and assigned a percentage of the business to coal-based carriers representing each consignee in a port, so that on any coal that 42 The Ports of the Canary Islands exceeded this percentage remaining financial compensation had to be paid (always in sterling), and conversely, they would perceive payment, if sales did not reach the agreed quota.

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