Bernardini - Chapter 14 | eBooks | Non-Fiction

Bernardini - Chapter 14

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Atlantic Trade and Sephardim Merchants in Eighteenth-Century France

The Case of Bordeaux

DURING THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY, French foreign commerce grew remarkably. Since exports and imports essentially took maritime routes, the Atlantic port cities — Bordeaux in particular — played a major role in French economic expansion to the New World. By the middle of the eighteenth century, Bordeaux was the major French port. The city's success was mainly due to a boom in the Atlantic and colonial trade, although its Asian trade also increased in the decade prior to the French Revolution. Until the loss of Canada in 1763, Bordeaux also traded with New France, but the core of the city's commercial expansion was in the Caribbean. From the early 1720s up until the Revolution in 1789, Bordeaux merchants imported increasing quantities of sugar, coffee, and indigo from the three French colonies of Martinique, Guadeloupe, and, in particular, Saint-Domingue. The value of Bordeaux's colonial trade in 1789 was more than ten times higher than it had been in the 1720s. Since the domestic French market could absorb only a limited portion of these huge amounts of colonial goods, merchants re-exported the vast majority of them to Northern Europe, together with more traditional regional products, such as French wine, brandy, and dried fruits.1

Atlantic Trade and Sephardim Merchants in Eighteenth-Century FranceThe Case of BordeauxSilvia MarzagalliDURING THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY, French foreign commerce grew remarkably. Since exports and imports essentially took maritime routes, the Atlantic
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