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Importance of «weak» states during conflicts: Portuguese trade with the United States during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 August 2011

Cristina Moreira
Affiliation:
Department of Economics, University of Minho, School of Economics and Management, Campus Gualtar, 4710-057 Braga, Portugal. mcristina@eeg.uminho.pt
Jari Eloranta
Affiliation:
Department of History, Appalachian State University, 224 Joyce Lawrence Lane, Boone, NC 28608, United States. elorantaj@appstate.edu
Corresponding

Abstract

This paper focuses on the analysis of weak states in the international trading system during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic crises, especially on Portugal's trade relations with the United States. We argue that the previous studies of the trade flows during these conflicts have not paid enough attention on smaller actors. Even though the Peninsular War caused severe disruption of agricultural production in Portugal, the United States, despite its strained relations with an ally of Portugal, Great Britain, became a key supplier for the Portuguese market. Clearly, the threatened position of the peninsula, and the need to supply the troops, awarded the Portuguese some room to manoeuvre in the international markets. Total war was not a constraint for all states — economic necessities trumped political and diplomatic concerns during the era of the first real-world wars. This situation was a temporary one, only to change after the conflict.

Resumen

Este articulo tiene como punto de enfoque el análisis de los estados más débiles en el comercio internacional durante las crisis revolucionaria y napoleónica, con especial énfasis en las relaciones comerciales entre Portugal y los Estados Unidos. Defendemos que los estudios anteriores con respecto al comercio en estos conflictos no prestan la debida atención a los más pequeños. Aunque las Guerra de la Independencia había perturbado la producción agrícola en Portugal, los Estados Unidos, a pesar de haber tensado las relaciones con Gran Bretaña, un aliado de Portugal, se convirtieron en un proveedor clave para el Mercado portugués. La posición amenazada de la península y la necesidad de proveer al ejército, dio a los portugueses el margen de maniobra en los mercados internacionales. La guerra total no fue un obstáculo para todos los estados — las necesidades económicas se superponen a las cuestiones políticas y diplomáticas durante la época de la guerra del mundo real en primer lugar. Esa situación era temporal y cambiaría después del conflicto.

Type
Articles/Artículos
Copyright
Copyright © Instituto Figuerola de Historia y Ciencias Sociales, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid 2011

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