This article presents a comparative analysis of the port systems of the Portuguese and British Empires in the Atlantic during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It is based on the study of four insular ports under the sovereignty of these two imperial polities: Angra in the Azores, Funchal in Madeira, Bridgetown in Barbados, and Port Royal in Jamaica. The aim of the analysis is to compare the main factors that led to the choice of these sites as key places in the structure of the respective Portuguese and British imperial models, how they developed to satisfy trade needs and their most significant problems, as well as the extent to which the development of these colonies conformed to what was ‘expected’ of each imperial project, taking into account the geographical, economic and social factors of the respective port cities. The methodological approach to the study of these Atlantic insular ports brings together data from landscape archaeology, nautical and underwater archaeology, together with historical documentation and cartography.
- maritime empires