A Brief History of the Caribbean (Brief History) by D. H. Figueredo, Frank Argote-Freyre

By D. H. Figueredo, Frank Argote-Freyre

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Many smugglers were merchants who were willing to break Spain’s trading laws to make a profit. Because the Spanish fleet could not police all the waters of the Caribbean, it was easy for these merchants to buy and sell goods among the colonies. Since the smugglers did not pay taxes or tariffs, they sold goods at a better price to the colonists and often offered a better price for Caribbean goods such as tobacco. In 1611 alone, 200,000 pounds of tobacco leaves from the Caribbean reached England and France, while only 6,000 taxable pounds passed through the Spanish port of Seville (P.

On this voyage, he reached the Bahamas, Cuba, and Hispaniola. In Cuba, while venturing inland toward the center of the island, Columbus saw Tainos smoking cigars, the very first time Europeans witnessed the use of tobacco. Toward the end of the journey, Columbus established a fort near Cap-Haïtien in what is Haiti today and left 40 men there to search for gold. On January 16, 1493, the Genoese sailor headed back to Spain. It was a triumphant return. Welcoming him back as a hero, Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand awarded Columbus the title of Admiral of the Ocean Sea, made him viceroy of the new lands, and permitted him to sit in their presence, a rare boon.

The next day . . after having heard Mass we went to our ships and [Velásquez and Cortés] embraced with many fair speeches one to the other until we set sail. Díaz del Castillo, Bernal. The Discovery and Conquest of Mexico. Translated by A. P. Maudslay. New York: Noonday Press, 1956. During the same period, however, Spanish conquistadores were also making inroads on the mainland of Mexico and South America. There they found riches greater than anything they had seen in the islands of the Caribbean.

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