Havana and the Atlantic in the Sixteenth Century

By Alejandro de la Fuente

With the collaboration of César García del Pino and Bernardo Iglesias Delgado

304 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 11 illus., 18 tables, 9 figs., notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-7187-4
    Published: February 2011
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-0-8078-7806-4
    Published: February 2011
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-8292-9
    Published: February 2011

Envisioning Cuba

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Havana in the 1550s was a small coastal village with a very limited population that was vulnerable to attack. By 1610, however, under Spanish rule it had become one of the best-fortified port cities in the world and an Atlantic center of shipping, commerce, and shipbuilding. Using all available local Cuban sources, Alejandro de la Fuente provides the first examination of the transformation of Havana into a vibrant Atlantic port city and the fastest-growing urban center in the Americas in the late sixteenth century. He shows how local ambitions took advantage of the imperial design and situates Havana within the slavery and economic systems of the colonial Atlantic.

About the Author

Alejandro de la Fuente is University Center for International Studies Research Professor of History and Latin American Studies at the University of Pittsburgh.
For more information about Alejandro de la Fuente, visit the Author Page.


"An exciting and pioneering work. . . . Meticulous research in reconstructing Havana's initial economic, population, and urban growth."--Colonial Latin America Review

"A most welcome addition to the emerging field of Atlantic studies and to Cuban historiography. . . . Sets the ground and leads the way. . . . An invitation for more Atlantic-oriented urban studies and conversations."--William and Mary Quarterly

"A contribution to Atlantic history. . . . Recommended."--Choice

"With this impressively researched and delightfully written publication, the early history of Havana is not only meticulously recaptured but also propelled into the category of exemplary studies for Cuba, the Caribbean, the Americas and the Atlantic World. . . . An enthralling, comprehensive and complex story of Havana in its formative stage. . . . An exceptional contribution to the entire history of the Americas."--International Journal of Maritime History

"Provides remarkably broad coverage of a town undergoing dizzying transformation of its economy, demography, social structure, politics, urban form and racial order. . . . A major accomplishment."-- H-NET

"Explores a critical but neglected milieu in the formation of the early Atlantic world. . . . Wonderfully researched and vividly documented social historical account of early Havana."--Hispanic American Historical Review