Sephardic Merchants and the Second Barbados: Jamaica
Jamaica as the “Second Barbados” forms a good test case to explore the impact of British mercantilist trade policies. This chapter begins with a discussion about the “Portuguese” and the role they played in facilitating Cromwell’s Western Design and focuses on Port Royal and the Sephardic merchant community that developed in the transit trade with Spanish America most of which was contraband. The wealth created from Port Royal’s commerce forms the basis for investment in sugar production during the last quarter of the seventeenth century but the role of Sephardic merchants in the sugar trade with London is limited due to the predominance of the commission trade which favors London merchants’ houses. Trade with Amsterdam is in the form of transit via Curacao.