Empire, Political Economy, and the Diffusion of Chocolate in the Atlantic World: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Empire, Political Economy, and the Diffusion of Chocolate in the Atlantic World

1st Edition

By Irene Fattacciu


256 pages | 19 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Hardback: 9780367859510
pub: 2020-02-12
Available for pre-order. Item will ship after 12th February 2020

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Chocolate is one of the most visible examples of how a deeply exotic consumer product penetrating our daily lives fascinated Europeans during the Early Modern period. Today, over fifty percent of the four million tons of cocoa produced globally come from Sub-Saharan Africa. Ecuadorian cocoa, on the other hand, is considered premium quality. Yet the fact that Ecuadorian cocoa is preferred by today's artisanal chocolate makers is one of history’s ironic turns. During the eighteenth century, production and exports of Ecuadorian cocoa dramatically expanded due to its fast growth rate, high yield and low price, though certainly not due to its qualities of taste. This book analyzes the transition of chocolate from an exotic curiosity to an Atlantic commodity. It shows how local, inter-regional, and Atlantic markets interacted with one another and with imperial political economies. It explains how these interactions, intertwined with the resilience of local artisanal production, promoted the partial democratization of chocolate consumption as well as economic growth.

Table of Contents


1. Reorganizing Interregional and Atlantic Trade (1710s – 1770s)

2. Civilizing Chocolate: Cultural Appropriation and Imperial Political Economy (1690s – 1790s)

3. From Cocoa to Chocolate: The Making of a Spanish Artisanal Industry (1720s – 1770s)

4. Bourbon Reformism, Public Debate and New Forms of Sociability (1730s – 1790s)

5. Social Geography of Chocolate’s Spread in Spain (1690s – 1790s)

6. Epilogue: Resilience and Boomerang Effects (1770s – 1790s)

About the Author

Irene Fattacciu is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of La Tuscia, Italy.

About the Series

Early Modern Iberian History in Global Contexts


Early Modern Iberian History in Global Contexts: Connexions features studies that address Iberian societies and cultures from a variety of standpoints and theoretical perspectives. It understands Iberian history as a plural way of approaching an ensemble of individuals and groups made up of similarities, connections, contrasts and colliding trajectories. Its aim is to connect the different national and transnational research traditions in the field of Iberian historical studies, and showcase the multifaceted character of the Iberian past, encompassing its many voices as well as the tensions, the violence and the conflicts that opposed its various components, both across the Iberian Peninsula and across the globe.

Editorial Board: Antonio Álvarez Ossorio Alvariño (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid/MIAS), Ângela Barreto Xavier (Universidade de Lisboa), Fernando Bouza Álvarez (Universidad Complutense de Madrid), Arndt Brendecke (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München), Bruno Feitler (Universidade Federal de São Paulo), Roquinaldo Ferreira (University of Pennsylvania), Mercedes García-Arenal Rodríguez (CSIC), Xavier Gil Pujol (Universitat de Barcelona), Claire Gilbert (Saint Louis University), Regina Grafe (European University Institute), Manuel Herrero Sánchez (Universidad Pablo de Olavide), Tamar Herzog (Harvard University), Richard Kagan (Johns Hopkins University), Giuseppe Marcocci (University of Oxford), Amélia Polónia (Universidade do Porto), Maria M. Portuondo (Johns Hopkins University), Jean-Frédéric Schaub (EHESS), Mafalda Soares da Cunha (Universidade de Évora), María José Vega (Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona), Bartolomé Yun-Casalilla (Universidad Pablo de Olavide)

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General