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April 11, 2012


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I think you meant "South America" instead of Africa.

Oops, you're so right. Guess I need to break out the geography books as well as the history books! Corrected above, thanks.

A quick google "1778 Spain" shows that:
'In 1778 King Charles III established the “Decree of Free Trade,” which allowed the Spanish American ports to trade directly with each other and with most ports in Spain. Therefore, “commerce would no longer be restricted to four colonial ports (Veracruz, Cartagena, Lima/Callao, and Panama)'
so maybe Spanish imports in a large scale that summer

That sounds plausible, thanks Abhinav. All my Googling let to Spain's entry into the Revolutionary War, which didn't make sense given the flotilla was heading to Europe.

Portugal seems to be vastly under-represented. Is this simply due to poor record-keeping?

"Portugal seems to be vastly under-represented. Is this simply due to poor record-keeping?"

I would say extreme ignorance of the author.

The original author (Ben) provides some details about problems with the data in the source post. For example, "Relatedly, so are the United States--possibly since this is biased towards naval vessels, and the US was mostly trading, possibly since this is an EU project. But French ships are almost as poorly represented."

The eleven ships of the First Fleet (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Fleet) in 1787-8 seem to be missing. One of the most extraordinary colonisation projects ever (1787 people, 753 of which convicts, sailing for 251 days from UK to found the first settlement in Australia, New South Wales). So looks like there are some big gaps in the UK data too.

David, I was under the impression that the first settlement in Australia occurred some 70,000 years before the "first fleet." Am I mistaken about that?

Sorry but this not the age of sail ... The age of sail started around 1350~1450. 1700 was age of maritime trades at least.

The continent discoveries, for instances: 1492 of America and Brazil 1500, or the discovery of maritime way to India in 1498. These fits better in the concept of "Age of Sail".

Sorry but you play too much civilization and read less about history :)

@Pedro, I was going by Wikipedia: "The Age of Sail was the period in which international trade and naval warfare were dominated by sailing ships, lasting from the 16th to the mid 19th century. So by that definition this is 100 years smack in the middle of the Age of Sail. But I take your point, this was more of a catchy title than a historical statement :)

@John, you are correct to the extent that Australia's Aboriginal peoples commenced settlement around 70,000 years ago. But in terms of every recognisable aspect of Australia today (social, political, economic etc) the settlement from Britain is the self-evidently defining one.

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