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The Atlantic World and the Manila Galleons

Circulation, Market, and Consumption of Asian Goods in the Spanish Empire, 1565–1650

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José Luis Gasch-Tomás

Studies of the trade between the Atlantic World and Asia during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries typically focus on the exchanges between Atlantic European countries – especially Portugal, the Netherlands and England – and Asia across the Cape route. In The Atlantic World and the Manila Galleons. Circulation, Market, and Consumption of Asian Goods in the Spanish Empire, 1565-1650, José L. Gasch-Tomás offers a new approach to understanding the connections between the Atlantic World and Asia. By drawing attention to the trans-Pacific trade between the Americas and the Philippines, the re-exportation of Asian goods from New Spain to Castile, and the consumption of Chinese silk, Chinese porcelain and Japanese furnishings in New Spain and Seville, this book discloses how New Spanish cities and elites were main components of the spread of taste for Asian goods in the Spanish Empire. This book reveals how New Spanish family and commercial networks channelled the market formation of Asian goods in the Atlantic World around 1600.

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José L. Gasch-Tomás

As the circulation of Asian goods extended through the Spanish Empire, merchants of the New Spain viceroyalty were integrating the trade of Asian products into their businesses and thereby increasing the level of such trade. This chapter examines the extent of trade in Asian goods throughout the Empire in the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It also copes with the connection of economic and geopolitical dynamics rooted in both the Atlantic World and East Asia upon which the trans-Pacific trade, the re-exportation of Asian goods from New Spain to Iberia, and the later decline of the Manila Galleon trade, depended.

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José L. Gasch-Tomás

Cheaper prices and family networks closer to Asia favoured an easier access to Asian goods by the elites of Spanish America than by the elites of Castile. However, price and distribution methods were not the only elements that regulated access to Asian novelties in the Spanish Empire. Taste preferences, which were determined by the shape of different identities and practices, affected the demand for Asian manufactures among the Empire’s elite. This chapter copes with the different significance that Asian manufactured goods held in New Spain and Castile according to the diverse social and cultural environments in which they were integrated, and the different ways of using such goods in their respective social spheres.

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José L. Gasch-Tomás

Both the shipment of gifts and the commission of orders were common practice in the early modern era. In a society such as that of the Old Regime, where membership in guilds and social strata (and where the culture of honour and rank) were so important, it was common for gifts and specially requested products to be transferred to another member of the same family or socio-professional status. This chapter addresses the extent to which Asian products – including Chinese silk and porcelain as well as Japanese furniture, folding screens, and jewels – were involved in the transmission of products shipped under order and gift transfer in the Spanish Empire in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. A related concern is identifying which social groups took part in the transmission of Asian goods as gifts across the Empire from the Philippines to the viceroyalty of New Spain and then to Castile. This investigation informs us about the uses and meanings that Asian goods had at a time when the market for them was hardly developed in the Atlantic World and when goods in the form of gifts and merchandise were part of the same shipment; it also sheds light on how the demand for Asian goods increased during a time of limited expansion in the commercialisation of Asian goods in some parts of the West.

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José L. Gasch-Tomás

Through the pages of this chapter the reader will gain insight into how New Spain became a protagonist in receiving transfers of the materials and skills needed to produce Asian-like products as soon as the early decades of the seventeenth century. The chapter addresses why the circulation of Chinese silk was not culturally and economically desirable for all classes of the Hispanic society, and how Hispanic traders and producers responded differently to those different tastes. It also describes how craftsmen of New Spain became interested in making Asian-like products using the same techniques and materials as those used in Asia; it analyses the ways by which in New Spain the successful production of imitations and transformations of such Asian luxury and semi-luxury goods as Chinese porcelain and Chinese and Japanese furniture depended upon creating new products that accommodated the tastes of local consumers.

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José L. Gasch-Tomás

This book aims to articulate a contribution to, and revises, the traditional understanding of the Atlantic World by emphasising the historical connections between the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean, and the importance of Spanish America in those connections. When researching the Atlantic–Asian encounter of the early modern era, many historians have focused on the European commercial companies and their commercial and cultural exchanges across the Cape route and the Indian Ocean. Yet historians typically fail to mention that, until the mid-seventeenth century, trade between Spanish America and Asia was flourishing. This book explores the degree to which the colonial Spanish American elite and cities were main components of the economic and cultural encounter between the Spanish Empire and Asia in the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and the reason why the Manila Galleon route was superseded by the Cape route as the main venue of exchange between the Atlantic World and Asia around the mid-seventeenth century.

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José L. Gasch-Tomás

This book has described how the Pacific Ocean and the Manila Galleon route, alongside and connected to the Atlantic World, constituted a globalising arena of the early modern era; it also demonstrates that processes considered by historiography since the 1970s as pre-eminently northwestern European actually derived from developments in non-European areas. This chapter summarises how the trade across the Pacific ocean contributed to increasing global interdependence in the late sixteenth century and the first half of the seventeenth century.

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José L. Gasch-Tomás

This chapter addresses the trade that expanded from Southeast and East Asia to Castile via New Spain in connection with the institutional and economic relations between merchants from different areas of the Spanish Empire as well as those between merchants and the Crown. These relations were marked by cooperation, but also rivalry, between the Pacific and the Atlantic areas of trade. The chapter copes with the economic and political conflict between two of the most powerful elites of the Spanish Empire – the Mexican and the Sevillian wholesalers –, caused by the expansion of trade of Asian goods, and how that rivalry caused various institutional transformations within the Spanish Empire, especially in New Spain.

A Grammar of Nungon

A Papuan Language of Northeast New Guinea

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Hannah Sarvasy

A Grammar of Nungon is the most comprehensive modern reference grammar of a language of northeast Papua New Guinea. Nungon is a previously-undescribed Finisterre-Huon Papuan language spoken by about 1,000 people in the Saruwaged Mountains, Morobe Province. Hannah Sarvasy provides a rich description of the language in its cultural context, based on original immersion fieldwork. The exposition is extraordinarily thorough, covering phonetics, phonology, word classes, morphology, grammatical relations, switch-reference, valency, complex predicates, clause combining, possession, information structure, and the pragmatics of communication. Four complete interlinearized Nungon monologues and dialogues supplement the copious textual examples. A Grammar of Nungon sets a new standard of thoroughness for reference works on languages of this region.