Commentary No. 023
Date: 1527, October 24. Santo Domingo, La Española.
Theme: The members of the City Council of Santo Domingo City wanted the Crown to allow them to access a free international market of enslaved blacks as a means to acquire them at cheaper prices or to be sold the slaves under credit
Source: PARES, Portal de Archivos Españoles—Archivo General de Indias, PATRONATO,174,R.40 1–Imagen Núm: 1 / 19.
In early July of 1528 the City Council of Santo Domingo received a royal letter in which the Crown announced to be taking steps to set up a concierto or contract with private individuals in the metropolis to supply 4,000 additional enslaved blacks that it had “granted” to La Española. The members of the Council replied arguing that it would be more advantageous for them to purchase the slaves on their own “since we would obtain them at better prices,” because a designated provider would end up appropriating everything they could obtain as benefit (“porque la persona que los oviere de traer querrá ganar todo lo que nosotros nos pudieramos aprovechar”).
The members of Santo Domingo’s City Council even dared to propose to the Crown that the designated provider of slaves under the announced contract should agree to offer the slaves “at a moderate price” and to provide them under credit “for a moderate while” to the local buyers that were capable of showing “enough” guarantee since reportedly most of the denizens and residents of the city could not pay for the slaves at once. The councilmembers estimated that the inhabitants that had businesses (grangerías) would be able to pay in installments comfortably, especially those residing further inside the island devoted to gold mining and cañafístola farming, who would be able to pay as they got to sell their products.