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Hispanic American Historical Review 83.4 (2003) 751
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La Habana, puerto colonial (siglos XVIII-XIX). Edited by Agustín Guimerá and Fernando Monge. Biblioteca Portuaría. Madrid: Fundación Portuaría, 2000. Photographs. Illustrations. Tables. Bibliographies. 357 pp. Cloth.
La Habana, puerto colonial, a prime example of the scrutiny New World seaports have received in recent decades,contains 21 richly illustrated articles by Spanish and Cuban scholars. With the exception of the last two articles in the volume (which inexplicably deal with Cartagena and the rest of the Spanish Caribbean), all of the articles treat directly with colonial Havana and, to a minor extent, the rest of Cuba. The authors touch on Habanera historiography, population growth and distribution, imperial and city politics, military and naval affairs, economic change, and religious and cultural issues. As with any collection of articles, the quality varies significantly. However, a number of the contributors used sources not often consulted by many historians of Cuba. Augustín Rodríguez González, for example, made good use of sources at the naval archives in Cuidad Real (Alvaro de Bazán) to enlighten us on the rich and largely ignored maritime history of Havana during the nineteenth century. There are dozens of subjects here awaiting monographs. Francisco Escobar Guío skillfully extracts information from the Intendencia and other exchequer sections of the National Archives of Cuba in writing about sea disasters within the Bay of Havana. Even using standard sources, Ignacio Suárez and Gustavo Placer Cervera raise enticing questions about the 1895-98 war, including another look at the Maine, one of the oldest of Cuban topics. While few scholars will be motivated to read all the essays, most will find good reason to consult several. This volume sets a good standard for the next anticipated installments in the port series.
Western Carolina University