By M. Dantas
This ebook is an leading edge comparative research of individuals of African foundation and descent in city environments of the early glossy Atlantic world. the writer follows those women and men as they fight with slavery, negotiations of manumission, and efforts to conform to a existence in freedom, finally illustrating how their offerings and activities put them at the foreground of the improvement of Atlantic city slavery and emancipation.
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Extra info for Black Townsmen: Urban Slavery and Freedom in the Eighteenth-Century Americas (The Americas in the Early Modern Atlantic World)
38 Yet, the creation of both Baltimore and Sabará can be tied to a similar metropolitan desire to organize colonial settlement in ways that would further advance metropolitan designs and expectations for these new territories. The act of determining the creation of Baltimore has to be understood in the context of a more generalized urbanizing policy for the Chesapeake, one that was closely related to the notion that the development of successful trade required the presence of towns and cities. There was also a strong concern with controlling commercial activities in the region in order to protect and secure the profitability of the tobacco trade.
During the first couple decades after its creation, Baltimore Town failed to attract a large number of people, and appeared to be destined to the same fate of so many other towns created by assembly acts, namely, fading out after an uneventful and short existence. An explanation for the town’s slow development resides, in part, in the predominance of tobacco production and trade in the region. During the second half of the seventeenth century, tobacco, found to be an ideal crop for the Chesapeake, and a popular commodity in Europe, became the local cash crop, absorbing most of the cleared land and much of the labor of its inhabitants.
They also helped shape Sabará into an important commercial center, one that helped to support mining activities in neighboring areas without solely relying on the extractive industries for its well-being. The impact the homens de negócio of Sabará had on the development of the town is also quite evident when one considers changes to the local urban landscape. As the example of Francisco da Cruz illustrates, as their businesses became more successful and profitable, merchants invested more significantly in the urban environment, reforming and building houses and investing in the general physical appearance of the town.