Royal Company of the Philippines

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Through a royal decree, on March 10, 1785, the Real Compañía de Filipinas (known in English as the Royal Company of the Philippines) was founded. The aim of the Royal Company was to foster strong trading ties among Spanish colonies, and also with Spain itself.

It was expected for Manila to be provided with products coming from Europe, which was then to be reciprocated by sending to Spain not only Philippine products, but also those from other countries in the East.

Brief History

The Royal Company of the Philippines prioritized the production of the following products: cotton, indigo, silk, sugar, and especially spices such as pepper. This explains why the Royal Company procured lands in the provinces of Bataan, Camarines, Cavite, and Ilocos. It also encouraged continuous production by awarding the industrious workers, and also by spurring manufacturing through the presence of textile factories.

Another focus of the Royal Company was Philippine agriculture. It wanted to maximize the resources offered by the aforementioned industry, hence the Spanish decrees and laws that barred the importation of cloths coming from the East were nullified. Moreover, Philippine products were given immunity from the taxes imposed in Manila and in Spain.

Merchants hailing from Manila experienced more freedom in economic movement as well, for they were given the approval to conduct trading in ports located in Asia. As for the Chinese merchants who travelled to Manila, they, too, were not hampered by restrictions that before proved to be rather stifling for those who endeavored to expand their trading circles and mayhap even their customers.

The Royal Company did, however, encounter some challenges. Chief among these was that they could not carve a niche in the Manila-Acapulco trade, as no company ships were available for the route to Acapulco.

Eventual Decline

Despite the successes that the Royal Company manage to attain, it eventually met its demise in 1830 after being stripped off of its privileges such as special protection. A slow deterioration first occurred, though. Following the emancipation of the colonies in Latin America during the 1810s and the 1820s, the company's profits began to dwindle.

Years before, in 1805, the company was granted 15 more years of operation. Some of the opportunities accorded to the company were the following: (1) foreigners could own shares, (2) ships coming from Asiatic ports were not required to stop in Manila, and (3) foreigners who wished to import Asiatic products to Manila and export Philippine products may do so anytime, for there no longer was a three-year limit to such.

Following the end of the Royal Company, Manila became availble to other foreign traders and navigators. Majority of the traders who flocked to Manila were Asian, European, and North American. Later on, the Philippines witnessed the rise of abaca, sugar, and tobacco in the list of valuable exports.




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