To save content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save content items to your Kindle, first ensure firstname.lastname@example.org
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
As If She Were Free is about the emancipatory acts of African and African-descended women in the Americas from the sixteenth through the early twentieth century. The stories of some two dozen individuals discussed in these chapters constitute a collective biography that narrates the history of emancipation as experienced by women in the western hemisphere. This history began upon the arrival of enslaved people from Africa in the Americas in the early sixteenth century and continued into the twentieth century as their descendants pursued an ongoing quest for liberty. As If She Were Free narrates this individual and collective struggle – in which African-descended women spoke and acted in ways that declared that they had a right to determine the course of their lives. This book, a collective biography of women who renounced their commodification and exploitation, articulates a new feminist history of freedom.
As If She Were Free brings together the biographies of twenty-four women of African descent to reveal how enslaved and recently freed women sought, imagined, and found freedom from the sixteenth through the nineteenth centuries in the Americas. Our biographical approach allows readers to view large social processes – migration, trade, enslavement, emancipation – through the perspective of individual women moving across the boundaries of slavery and freedom. For some women, freedom meant liberation and legal protection from slavery, while others focused on gaining economic, personal, political, and social rights. Rather than simply defining emancipation as a legal status that was conferred by those in authority and framing women as passive recipients of freedom, these life stories demonstrate that women were agents of emancipation, claiming free status in the courts, fighting for liberty, and defining and experiencing freedom in a surprising and inspiring range of ways.
This decree represents one of the earliest attempts made by the Spanish crown to regulate the transpacific trade between Acapulco and Manila. In reaction to complaints that transpacific commerce was harmful to Spain and its Atlantic possessions, the crown attempted to regulate such matters as the number and tonnage of the galleons, the penalties for transporting contraband, the salary of galleon commanders, the manner in which accounts would be kept, procedures for inspecting ships and cargo, and much else. Natalie Cobo and Tatiana Seijas place the document in the context of early modern Spanish mercantilism, intra-imperial commercial rivalries, and the reactive patterns of imperial governance.
Keywords: Manila galleons; early modern trade; mercantilism; colonial Legislation
The Manila Galleon was a royal fleet that sailed between Manila and Acapulco from the late 1560s to 1815 to sustain the Spanish government in the Philippine islands with people and funds and to facilitate trade. The excellent harbor conditions of Manila Bay and its geographic location made it a focal point for exchange, where merchants converged with spices, textiles, ceramics, and other goods from China, Japan, India, and other parts of Asia. The ships of the Galleon transported these commodities, including slaves, to the Americas. On their return, the ships primarily carried minted silver and products like cochineal.
The Hapsburg Crown moved to regulate this fleet in 1593, with additional decrees that were codified in the Laws of the Indies. The 1604 decree by Philip III is one of these documents (Fig. 4.1). Merchants initially carried out trade freely, including by chartering their own ships. The lack of regulation sparked protests from various quarters, from competing merchants in Seville to government officials concerned with the safety and regularity of the ships. The Crown set out the conditions detailed in this decree to address their concerns. The decision to administer and fund an annual fleet had the primary purpose of encouraging vassals to live in Spain's most far-flung settlement in return for trading opportunities. Its chief outcome was to enrich silver merchants in Mexico City, who sent large amounts of capital to Manila to invest in Asian goods, which were then sold back in New Spain (Mexico) for extravagant profits.