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Markets In Colonial Spanish America


There were three main occupations in Colonial Spanish America. These occupations were farming, mining and logging. With huge areas of land available, farming became the main resource of trade and export. However the mining of minerals and the need for timber were also important aspects of the geography in Colonial Spanish America.


Many plantations in Colonial Spanish America were owned by private land owners. These sort of land owners would own what was known as great estates. Great estates would often own huge amounts of land and so crops that were grown on these included:

  • Maize

  • Cotton

  • Sugar

  • Coffee

During the late Colonial years, further crops such as vanilla and tobacco were grown. Some crops such as tobacco were under control of the government although it was not unheard of for contraband to be grown and sold.

There was not much call for farming livestock in Colonial Spanish America however most meat that was consumed was beef. As such the huge areas allowed for great grazing and cattle ranches were a popular form of livestock farming and many are still in operation today.


The main type of material that was mined in Colonial Spanish America was silver. However during the early years gold was also extracted from the mines. Towns would spring up near the mines for workers and mine owners alike but these small towns would be rough and wild. The people of these towns would come to rely on farmers and so small local trade was important.


Timber was a great commodity in Colonial Spanish America and huge forests provided much timber used for building purposes. The Spanish people were fond of timber framed buildings but also heavy furniture making logging a profitable business for many. Furniture that was popular included items such as:

  • Tables

  • Chairs

  • Cupboards


Colonial Spanish America had many diverse industries that would all export as well as providing essential materials and food for the people. As such transportation routes became just as important as the work itself. Transportation would cover land and sea in order to reach as many people as possible. Horses was the most common use of transportation and trade routes sprang up all over Colonial Spanish America in order to get goods to the seaside ports ready for exportation.

As a result of all the industry, Colonial Spanish America came a place that was bustling with activity across many different trades.

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