Economies of Cuba and Puerto Rico 16th - 18th Century

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The economies of Cuba and Puerto Rico are very similar during the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. As Spain colonized these two islands in the 16th century under the idea that gold was abundant. Thus in turn the islands became a safe port for Spain and her vessels. It also set out to be a huge migration from the Spain to the islands, because everyone was set to search for gold. . This turned out to be short lived as the mining of gold peaked in 1517 till 1819. By Spain using Cuba and Puerto Rico for mining gold they needed slave laborers as the local Indians. The Indians soon became unsatisfied with their new conditions of living, they became hostile and many not able to cope with being slaves committed suicide and genocide. By 1540 – 1550 silver was discovered in Mexico and Peru. As Spain found its' new source of income in Mexico and Peru, it left Cuba and Puerto Rico to literally fend for themselves. By the 1590's their economy began to prosper by cattle breeding and farming as this lead to new jobs on the islands. This new slow and uneven growth led supplies to be more expensive.

By the 17th century the cabildos began to govern migration, basically they stopped migration. The Spanish government implemented regulation and restrictions, which in demand increased prices and taxes. As a result, many began to use the black market in order to purchase contraband. At this time agriculture also developed and farming expanded with sugar, coffee and tobacco crops. These new crops also served to encourage new settlements. No longer a remote military outpost, food shortages and inflated prices worsened. Supplies did not increase and money was not sent from Spain. The cost of goods did not decline but contraband increased.

In the 18th Century, the English occupy Cuba in 1762 for 10 months, as it helped Cuba to see that they could be with better leadership and if they get the attention they needed. This occupation lead to free trade with England and the American...
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