Chapter

Closing the Books (<i>Cuentas y Quentas</i>)

James A. Lewis

in The Spanish Convoy of 1750

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print May 2009 | ISBN: 9780813033587
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813038629 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5744/florida/9780813033587.003.0009
Closing the Books (Cuentas y Quentas)

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Significant portions of the surviving documentation concerning the 1750 flota are financial accounts. In Spanish, the word “account” can carry a narrative as well as a financial meaning. Indeed, these quentas are rich in both. At the end of the day, the financial implications of the story mattered the most to the individuals who were most likely to put pen to paper. As with many events involving natural disasters, closing the books on the flota was gradual, painful, confusing, and unsatisfactory, and are especially so for those who like to see justice and moral triumphs in the historical past. Whatever the chronology might be for the emergence of Spanish women in traditional male fields such as politics and legal rights, the Spanish flota of 1750 shows a much earlier presence in the Atlantic world of commerce.

Keywords: 1750 flota; natural disasters; financial accounts; Spanish commerce; Spanish women

Chapter.  3024 words. 

Subjects: Underwater Archaeology

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