HAVANA. Share of 128 cuartos, of which 50 cuartos paid. black. No 3451. Printed on vellum, with fully intact (!) paper seal. Central fold. A sensational discovery: a previously unseen 18th century Spanish trading company! Very decorative border showing two of the company's galleons at sea, the arms and patron saints of the city of Havana. Also the tropical agricultural produce traded by the company (see further). The window of opportunity for this company opened up by a commercial monopoly convincing a group of creole landowners to put their capital, together with that of some Spanish businessmen from Cadiz (the only port which, since 1717 was legally allowed to trade with Cuba). The Crown authorized them to form a company to control all trade with the island. Hence, the Compania Real de la Havana was formed in 1720.A considerable part of the capital was supplied by the Spanish crown, and more by important officials of the Cuban colony. The company controlled all import and export trade. All sales of tobacco, sugar, leather, wood and other products were included,together with the import of European products needed in the colony (flour, cloth, china and many others). In exchange, the company had obligations, among them to build ships for the commercial and naval fleets of Spain, to maintain and provision these ships when in Cuba, and maintain 10 ports to fight against smugglers. The company also had the right to import slaves, and brought in 5000 in its first 20 years, at a great profit for the directors. A problem for further business expansion was the lackof shipping space (only 3 ships a year). In 1762, the British occupied Cuba. Although it was returned to Spain the next year (in exchange for Florida), Cubans had for a year or so profited to trade freely with all countries, especially Britain and nearby America. That made the situation of the company almost impossible, and it was dissolved in 1765 by a royal decree. Not to be confused with the 1791 shares of a company with similar name, founded 1789. This 1747 share is a unique discovery and agreat addition to any collection of 18th century scripophily.
Themes: BEFORE 1800, SHIPPING, SUGAR, TOBACCO, WOOD
CUBA, SPAIN, SWEDEN
Date: 11 November 1747
Startprice: € 5000