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Birgit Sonesson
Puerto Rico's Commerce, 1765-1865
From Regional to Worldwide Market Relations
352 pp., tables, bibl., index
0-87903-085-2Cloth $38.95 Available Now. Latin American Studies, Vol. 85

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In the context of a theoretical discussion and empirical research, this study traces the history of Puerto Rico's incorporation into the world economy. The author examines policies and practices affecting Puerto Rican imports and exports prior to the end of the nineteenth century. A wealth of data, gleaned from an impressive variety of sources, including primary sources on three continents and in four languages, makes the volume an important resource for specialists in Puerto Rican studies and for economic historians. "Historians and economists looking for comparative data will find here the unparalleled example of a Caribbean colony rising from neglect to the ranks of a top staple exporter aided by the force of world markets and the distant oversight of a frail metropolis. Birgit Sonesson traces the development of Puerto Rico through international trade during the early nineteenth century in a book that is carefully researched and argued.
Nicolás Sánchez-Albornoz, New York University Emeritus "Sonesson's work on Puerto Rico's trade and finance in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries shines a bright light on the island's integration into worldwide circuits of commodity production. A product of meticulous research and judicious interpretation, Puerto Rico's Commerce will stand as the signal contribution in this field for generations to come."
Francisco A. Scarano, University of Wisconsin-Madison . The author presents her very extensive research on the international commerce of Puerto Rico and its merchant community in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. There are few scholars with her command over these materials and this monograph is an extraordinary addition to the literature on the social and economic history of the island. All future scholars will be in her debt for the statistical and analytical materials which she presents here for the first time. This book will clearly be the standard on this very important subject for some time to come and should serve as a model for all future studies of other Caribbean trades.--Herbert S. Klein, Columbia University