By M. Dantas
This booklet is an leading edge comparative research of folks of African foundation and descent in city environments of the early glossy Atlantic world. the writer follows those women and men as they try with slavery, negotiations of manumission, and efforts to evolve to a lifestyles in freedom, finally illustrating how their offerings and activities positioned them at the foreground of the advance of Atlantic city slavery and emancipation.
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Extra resources for Black Townsmen: Urban Slavery and Freedom in the Eighteenth-Century Americas (The Americas in the Early Modern Atlantic World)
As members of the Shaping Urban Environments 27 Municipal Council, these homens de negócio also helped to secure, for themselves and other inhabitants of the town, certain urban comforts. They ordered streets to be paved and repaired; they encouraged the construction and maintenance of bridges; and they provided for the town’s water supply by establishing new fountains and preserving previously existing ones. 59 Men like Francisco da Cruz, or Antônio de Freitas Cardoso and Alexande de Oliveira Braga, Portuguese and colonial entrepreneurs who helped to develop commercial exchange and, ultimately, a local economy in Sabará, were vital to the process of urban development that shaped that town.
They also helped shape Sabará into an important commercial center, one that helped to support mining activities in neighboring areas without solely relying on the extractive industries for its well-being. The impact the homens de negócio of Sabará had on the development of the town is also quite evident when one considers changes to the local urban landscape. As the example of Francisco da Cruz illustrates, as their businesses became more successful and profitable, merchants invested more significantly in the urban environment, reforming and building houses and investing in the general physical appearance of the town.
28 The broader region in which Baltimore Town was established provides ample evidence of this process. 29 Still, the demand for these services and their products during most of the early eighteenth century was not sufficient to support a high concentration of businesses, stores, and artisan shops within a single urban space. While the tobacco trade and the limited demand for a highly diversified local economy hindered urban development in Baltimore Town, competition from the neighboring ports of Elk Ridge Landing and Fell’s Prospect also had a negative effect on the pace of the town’s growth.
Black Townsmen: Urban Slavery and Freedom in the Eighteenth-Century Americas (The Americas in the Early Modern Atlantic World) by M. Dantas