Source: PROCEEDINGS OF HISTORY WEEK. (1993)(107-122)

[p.107] The Brigantine Trade in XVIII Century Malta

Carmel Vassallo

Anthony Luttrell has stated that we live in “an age when social and economic rather than political, religious or cultural topics are at the centre of the historian’s concern.” [1] But as he goes on to point out, this has not been the case in Malta’s historiography.

Nearly 35 years after Clarke Weber’s call for research into a subject as critically important for Malta as trade we are not that much nearer to knowing the answers to some of the questions he posed, such as “ important was Malta in regard to trade with the ports of Southern Europe, Northern Africa and the Near East? What were the principal routes of trade used and the chief articles of commerce exchanged? When did this commercial activity reach its peak and why did it subsequently decline?” [2] Clarke Weber believed we had to answer these questions if we are to arrive at a comprehensive history of our archipelago.

This lack of response to Clarke Weber’s call is reflected, for example, in the collection of studies on early modern Malta published this year entitled Hospitaller Malta 1530-1798, edited by Victor Mallia-Milanes. [3] In contrast to five whole pages of references under the heading Art in the index there is only one single reference to trade. This is, of course, no omission on the editor’s part but simply a reflection of the absence of basic research into the island’s economic history in the modern period. Indeed, the solitary efforts by John Debono and to some extent by Victor Mallia-Milanes himself only serve to highlight the paucity of published studies in this field.

Our original brief had been the study of Maltese merchants present in Spain in the second half of the XVIII Century, a presence which by all accounts was [p.108] inextricably tied to the export of cotton yarn to the Iberian Peninsula. But this traditional picture of a primary product-based export economy has had to be radically reassessed.

A study of previously unpublished data would seem to indicate, amongst other things, that the cotton trade was not what it had been made out to be and that Malta’s premier export for most of the XVIII Century was in fact capital. The presence of Maltese merchants in Spain was the reason for the cotton exports and not the reverse. These totally unexpected conclusions led the author deeper and deeper into uncharted territory of Maltese commercial history and pointed to the urgent need to seek concrete answers to the general questions posed by Clarke Weber.

The key to an understanding of Malta’s trade, in the XVIII Century must surely lie in the Consolato di Mare (CM) section of the National Archives of Malta (NAM), located at Mdina’s Banca Giuratale, and other important documents to be found at the NAM’s principal premises in Rabat, the Santo Spirito Hospital. Together with documents already known to historians, in the Order’s own archives at the National Library of Malta (NLM), there is enough material to obtain an overall picture of Maltese trade in the XVIII Century.

A considerable amount of material has already been gathered towards this end and although it is still being processed and studied, it is already possible to perceive that at least some of the conclusions which will emerge will not be at all congruent with traditional perceptions of our history in the modern period. Hospitaller Malta’s much vaunted enmity to Islam, for example, was no obstacle to flourishing commercial relations with the Ottoman Empire. [4] In this essay we [p.109] shall limit ourselves to exploring just one, although we believe the most critical, sector of Malta’s commerce in the XVIII Century; the brigantine trade to Spain and Portugal.

In the Prattiche documentation relating to 1746 there are 842 mentions of vessels of around 25 different types arriving in Malta. The largest proportion of these, or 20%, were speronare and although some of these were returning from as faraway as Genoa and Marseille the majority were fairly small craft which did not even warrant a name. They typically had a complement of around 6 and were mostly engaged in ferrying mail, people and very small quantities of cargo to and from nearby Sicily. In fact the proximity of the destination meant that the same boat, identifiable by the name of its skipper, would do a number of trips during the course of a year. An extreme example of this phenomenon was the Speronara del Dispaccio, or mail boat, skippered by Angelo Diacono which would cross over to Sicily once or twice a month. As a consequence of this the number of speronare in arrival/departure registers is “inflated.”

This criticism is probably also applicable to the next most-frequently encountered craft in 1746, the tartan. There were 140 mentions of these, or 17% of the total number, engaged in ferrying huge quantities of corn, mostly from nearby Sicily. We are still in the progress of studying the cargoes but these vessels carried up to 1,300 salme of grain as well as coal and timber. They had crews of up to a couple of dozen men.

The third most prominent type of ship in 1746, and the one we are concerned with today was the brigantine. We encounter 117 mentions of these, or 14% of the total, in this year. The majority carried a complement of around 6 to 12 people and were engaged mainly in the carriage of large quantities of wine as well as cheese, ricotta, poultry, beans, oil, fish, honey, livestock and snow. Only one brigantine carried grain in 1746. As in the case of the tartans mentioned above the trade was mainly carried on with Sicily.

A breed apart were the brigantines with crews of a couple of dozen which went to Leghorn, Genoa, Marseille but most of all, to Spain and Portugal.

[p.110] Only 14 brigantines, out of a total of 842 entries, returned from Spain in 1746, but though constituting a tiny proportion of the total they represented what was probably the most dynamic sector of the Maltese merchant marine for a considerable part of the century because in contrast to speronare, tartans and other ships on the short range victualling trade which would only be away for weeks at a time, the brigantine expeditions to Spain and Portugal would take up to two and even three years.

This had important consequences for crewmembers, shipowners and others involved in the trade. A Ruolo degl’ uomini delle Città Senglea e Cospicua, which seems to belong to the mid XVIII Century, shows 264 Negozianti per Spagna for Cospicua compared to 274 Marinari delle Speronare e Barcareggio per Sicilia. [5] The situation in Senglea was similar. In other words less than 2% of the vessels returning to Malta in the middle of the XVIII Century accounted for as much employment as the dozens of ships plying the Malta-Sicily route. Owners of brigantines fitted for the Iberian Peninsula would also benefit accordingly through their ships being chartered for long periods while financiers, insurers and others would be likewise effected.

The term brigantine is not used here to mean an exact type of vessel. Nevertheless, a review of hundreds of ships’ inventories and comparison of Joseph Muscat’s line drawings, reproduced in the appendix, would seem to point towards the XVIII Century Maltese bergantin or bergantino having been some local adaptation of what, in the wider Mediterranean, went under the label xebec, namely a two or three masted boat rigged with lateen sails and equipped with oars, but it could also have referred to other types of vessels. In fact, ships listed as brigantines on their departure or arrival in Malta are referred to by other labels when arriving or departing from Spanish ports. [6] For our purposes therefore the term brigantine is above all a generic label used to describe a complex commercial operation and not necessarily a specific type of vessel. [7]

[p.111] A rare, but regrettably undated, description of the brigantine trade, cited by Mallia-Milanes, relates how “la diligenza, ed attività della Nazione fa che non avendo i Maltesi dove impiegare tutto il loro denaro, adattino la loro industria alla mercatura e traffico esterno onde contiovamente si formano società di mercanti, che constituiscono con le rispettive loro somme, grossi fondi, che affidano a loro Commissionati. Questi, oltri de labori, che si fanno nell’ Isola di calzette, e Berrete di Boombage (di cui si fa grande raccolta), portano pure denaro effettivo su certi Bastimenti detti Bergantini e passando dalla Sicilia, e costeggiando la spiaggia e luoghi dell’ Italia, e della Francia giungono al termine del loro destino, che vuole essere la Spagna ed il Portogallo, sempre comprando e rivendendo diversi generi di Mercanzie: e facendo altretanto nel ritornare a Malta si portano accresciuto il fondo. E si fa poi fra i comparizonari la divisione del guadagno.” [8]

[p.112] It is clear that we are confronted with what Braudel has called “tramping”, namely the long succession of buying, selling and exchanging at ports all along the coast so typical of Mediterranean waters as far back as can be remembered. [9] But the Maltese brigantine had a special characteristic which distinguished it from mere tramping and this was the beaching of the vessel on arrival in Spain or Portugal and the transformation of the sailors into land-based retailers and pedlars. In 1745-1746, for example, brigantine expeditions to Valencia lasted an average of 16 months. [10] Of this time, around 9 months were spent in Spain itself compared to 7 months getting to and from Spain. [11]

This mostly itinerant form of doing business is what has prevented Maltese brigantine expeditions from attracting the attention of Spanish historians. It was, in fact, only after the abandoning of the brigantine in the second half of the century, as a consequence of increasing opposition, that Maltese merchants started to appear in notarial documents, tax rolls, parish records and other documentation traditionally used by historians to study sedentary populations. But despite this low profile Maltese brigantine-borne merchants were very important indeed.

In the early 1760s they constituted 1 in 10 of all foreign merchants in Spain at a time when the latter was the gateway to the riches of America and when business was overwhelmingly in the hands of foreigners. [12]

An anonymous German gentleman who travelled through Spain in 1764-1765 wrote that “the Maltese do a lot of trade in Cadiz and you won’t find any important city all over Spain where you cannot find them. They have more privileges and rights than Spanish shopkeepers who only sell small amounts... [p.113] They take their merchandise from Genoa, Marseille and other ports of the Mediterranean. They take everything and arrive with entire loads of all kinds of goods of which only a few are from Malta... and take large sums of cash home from Spain.” [13]

The latter point is confirmed by official figures for the export of silver pesos from Spain. In 1761 and 1762, for example, the Maltese were responsible for 14% and 17% respectively of official exports of silver from Spain. [14] It was a big business indeed but how had it started?

The origin of the trade probably lay in the increasing difficulties being experienced by the corsair sector in Malta which caused capital and labour to seek new outlets. This is reflected, for example, in the all-important mechanism for the financing of the expeditions, the type of ship used and in the geographical origin of the captains and crews. Other minor details, such as the preference for naming the vessel Santissimo Crocefisso, or variations thereof, also provide useful pointers.

The earliest figures we have, for the late XVII Century, show that the brigantine trade was already well established when the Consolato di Mare was created in 1697. In 1699, 13 ships, out of a total of 368 departures, left for the Iberian Peninsula. [15] This only represented 3.3% of the total but, as we saw above, this does not take into account the fact that many of the departures would have consisted of smaller speronaras shuttling to and from nearby Sicily. In 1711 the number had gone up to 18, representing 14.2% of the departures for that year. [16] In 1730 there were at least 21 expeditions to the Iberian Peninsula while 14 brigantines came back from there. [17] The all time absolute high seems to have been 1759 with at least 24 departures. [18]

The average expedition consisted of around 8 “companies” totalling somewhat over 20 men. The cargo consisted mostly of cash but also included miscellaneous items and some cotton. In 1730 the latter represented, on average, under 10% of the cargo in value. Average capital per expedition in 1730 was around 25,000 scudi. [19]

Most of the purchasing was done in Genoa and Marseille, where additional lines of credit were secured, but other ports such as Messina, Naples and Leghorn were also used. Most of the selling on the other hand was done in Spain and Portugal.

Only one Scrivano’s or purser’s book has been encountered but it enables us to follow the ship's progress up the Italian Peninsula, along the French coast and down the Spanish littoral all the way to Lisbon. Captain Benedetto de Candia’s brigantine expedition to Lisbon in 1741-1744 can be seen in the accompanying map. It took an abnormally long three years but another partial record of a later expedition reflects more or less the same pattern with shorter hops on the outward bound journey than on the return leg. [20]

The cargo of brigantines returning from Spain seems to have consisted mostly of the same merchandise as had been taken out in the first place, namely coin. Ten of the eleven ships returning during the course of 12 months in 1745-1746 brought back an average of around 33,000 scudi in foreign currency. [21] The Maltese were capitalist merchants, who started with money acquired goods and regularly returned with money.

The importance of the brigantine trade to the Iberian Peninsula is, in fact, best reflected in the figures for the movement of capital.


[p.116] Detailed analysis of bottomry bond, or cambio marittimo, lists, as well as foreign currency exports noted down on bills of lading for the period 1757 to 1765, reproduced in appendix I, shows that Malta was investing an average of 550,000 scudi p.a. in the Iberian trade. This must be considered a minimum in view of the loose leaf nature of the documentation. This amount is nevertheless equivalent to three times the value of corsair prizes in the hectic period of 1660-1662. [22]

In return Malta got back an average of around 555,000 pesos p.a. from Spain alone in 1761 and 1762. [23] These figures exclude any sums repatriated from Catalonia for cotton and are roughly equivalent to 1,222,000 Maltese scudi, or seven times the value of corsair prizes mentioned above.

Maltese brigantines merchants’ exports of silver from Spain in 1762, reproduced in appendix II, even exceed the income of the Order’s Treasury, which stood at 1,073,920 scudi in 1767 and 832,049 scudi in 1771, or the customs value of cotton exported or re-exported to Spain 16 years later, in 1778-1779, which stood at 1,263,240 scudi. [24]

This is clear vindication of Braudel’s view that long distance trade is the really big business. As he puts it “...distance alone, in an age of difficult and irregular communication, created ordinary every day conditions for profiteering...”. [25]

There can be no doubt that trade was the island’s economy response to the decline of the corsair sector and the stagnation in the Order’s income during the [p.117] course of the XVIII Century. The principal branch of this trade consisted of brigantine expeditions to the Iberian Peninsula which brought in the foreign exchange earnings to offset the chronic trade deficit arising out of the 1,000,000 plus scudi food bill and set the scene for the later domination by the Maltese of Spain’s cotton market.

In the limited space available I have sought to give a very brief overview of just one of the many areas of vital importance in our social and economic history which have received little or no attention. I trust that it will serve to highlight the urgent need for more research based on primary data and less dependence on worn out formulas and texts.

If we are to have what Luttrell has called “a correct consciousness” of our past as a point of reference for our modern problems we clearly need more history and less myth. [26] More about the history of groups and people’s relationship with their environment and less about events.



Amounts invested in the Iberian Trade 1757-1765

(Loans raised or cash on bills of lading, whichever is higher, in Scudi).

Year Total Spain and Portugal Cadiz Valencia/Alicante Other
1757 558,724 226,105 152,587 180,032
1758 456,050 197,535 117,295 141,220
1759 785,678 408,105 204,935 172,638
1760 493,055 307,295 82,250 103,510
1761 665,025 414,565 189,740 60,720
1762 654,620 380,683 151,360 122,577
1763 401,025 204,775 149,775 52,075
1764 377,634 208,812 83,287 85,535
1765 585,877 324,265 12,775 235,237

(Source: Own calculations based on the following files: NAM, Consolato di Mare, Atti Originali. Vols. 53 and 54; 54; 55; 56 and 57; 58 and 59; 54, 60 and 61; 64; 65 and 66; 67 and 68 for 1757, 1758, 1759, 1760, 1761, 1762, 1763, 1764 and 1765 respectively).





Alicante Pesos Fuertes
Caruana, Salvador 1,300
Fiteni, Gregorio 4,200
Magro, Felix 2,080
Domicio, Francisco and companions 25,000
Abela, Thomas and Joseph 7,000
Bergansone, Pedro 6,000
Bonec, Cayetano 8,000
Bonichi, Francisco 34,000
Bosetil, Benito 3,500
Bozetin, Santos 6,500
di Candia, Gracio 38,000
Caravana, Joseph 10,000
Castaña, Juan 40,000
Farrulla, Lorenzo 9,000
Galia, Pablo 5,500
Lia, Joseph 5,000
Lia, Phelix 5,500
Malia, Francisco 40,000
Mauricio, Maximiliano 6,500
Mifsud, Agustin 4,000
Mifsud, Lorenzo 30,000
Psinga, Joseph 45,000
Ros, Joachin 35,000
Sopard, Lorenzo 8,000
Spiteri, Joseph 28,000
Tamboni, Pedro 5,000
Zaquia, Miguel Angel 5,000
de Borga, Joseph 4,000
Mamo, Francisco 3,500
Azupart, Miguel 2,300
Grech, Miguel Angel 2,900
Schembri, Antonio 3,800
Ventura, Joseph 2,900
Romano, Salvador 27,000
Arnau, Juan and companions 25,000
Becina, Mateo 30,000
Buxeya, Benito 40,000
Zahra, Felix and companions 50,000
TOTAL 608,480 pesos fuertes

(Sources: Archivo General De Simancas, Secretaria Y Soperintendencia De Hacienda Legajos 1132, 1133, 1233, 1298, 1344).



CHEBEC. This vessel was introduced in the Mediterranean by the Barbary regencies in the course of the 17th century and reached its full efficiency under the Algerian corsairs. It was also adopted by the Christian powers. The sail arrangement, its few oars but above all its fine underwater body gave it great speed as well as the ability to withstand the rough winter weather. Maltese owners employed the chebec for the grain carrying trade as they could carry as much as 300 tons cargo. The Order used it as a fighting unit not only to guard the entrance of the Grand Harbour but also for the corso. A chebec carried up to 14 small guns and many swivel guns. There were different sizes of chebecs; the one shown represents the biggest of its kind. The Order introduced these chebecs around the 1730. Their shallow draught made it possible to approach shores and attack helpless merchant ships.

(Source: Line Drawing by Joseph Muscat in A.H.J. Prins, In Peril of the Sea Malta 1989 p.195).


BRIGANTINE, 18th century. This type of vessel was seaworthy and cheap to build. It was popular amongst Maltese padroni for three centuries. Such a frail looking open boat could take on up to 40 ton burthen. It carried no guns but its best weapon was its swiftness. It will be noticed that the sperone at the bows is retained although its importance diminished in the 18th century. The sperone was a distinguished mark on all lateen rigs.

(Source: Line Drawing by Joseph Muscat in A.H.J. Prins, In Peril of the Sea, Malta 1989 p.188).

[1] A Luttrell “Eighteenth Century Malta. Prosperity and Problems,” in Hyphen, Vol. III, N° 2, Malta 1982 p.37.

[2] B. Clarke Weber “The History of Malta; 1500-1798. Some opportunities for research and writing”, in Melita Historica Vol. II, N° 3, Malta 1958 p.141.

[3] V. Mallia-Milanes (ed) Hospitaller Malta 1530-1798, Malta 1993.

[4] Brian Blouet has already hinted at how “there are, in general, rather more references to trade between Malta and Moslem states than would be anticipated considering the crusading nature of the Order” (B. Blouet, The Story of Malta, Malta 1992 p.117). Other authors, such as Bono and Valensi, have given specific details concerning Malta’s economic relations with the Regency of Tunis in the XVII and XVIII Centuries respectively (S. Bono “Guerra Corsara e Commercio nel Magreb Barbaresco (Secoli XVI-XIX)”, in El Comerç Alternatiu, Corsarisme i Contraban (SS XV-XVIII), edited by G. López Nadal, Palma de Mallorca 1990 pp.141-142 and L. Valensi “Les relations Commerciales entre la Régence de Tunis et Malte au XVIIIe Siècle”, in Cahiers de Tunisie N° 43 - 3e Trimestre, 1963 passim).

But the total of 45 voyages between Malta and Tunisia given by Valensi for a period of nearly 60 years, between 1740 and 1798, averaging less than one per year, is dwarfed by the total of around 61 for just one year, 1746, with Tunisia and other Ottoman and North African ports. In fact only one of these 61 ships came from Tunis compared with 9 from Canea, 8 from Tripoli di Barberia, 5 from Negroponte, 4 from Smirne, and others from a dozen odd ports in the Ottoman Empire (NAM, Santo Spirito. Unclassified. Libretti delle Pratiche de Bastimenti con la nota del loro Equipaggio e Passeggeri. Gennaro 1746-Dicembre 1746). The cargoes of 22 of these ships were bound for other ports but the majority were apparently sold locally. Most of the traffic was carried on via non-Maltese shipping but there were Maltese ships as well, some registered under foreign flags. Malta’s situation may have been heavily conditioned by the presence of the crusading Order of St. John but certain economic imperatives have a manner of re-asserting themselves. After all, business is business.

[5] NLM, Archives Order of Malta (AOM) 1067 Ruolo degl’uomini delle Città Senglea e Cospicua.

[6] Luis Audivert, Gracio di Candia and Francesco Mallia all left Malta in 1760 in command of brigantines but on arrival in Spain the ships of the first two skippers were referred to as “Fragatas Maltesas” while the third is referred to as “Jabeque” (Archivo General de Simancas, (Spain), Secretaria y Superintendencia de Hacienda Leg. 1131).

[7] What the Maltese brigantine consisted of in strict nautical terms is a matter which requires further research. Despite the evident similarity between the xebec and the brigantine in his line drawings, Joseph Muscat has insisted, in private conversations and public discussion, on the uniqueness of the Maltese brigantines. Nevertheless, the question of identifying and comparing different types of vessels is a complex issue as many authors recognize. The xebec is described as having two or three masts, and lateen or a combination of lateen and square sails, depending on the author.

It must have been the same for the “Maltese” brigantine. We have encountered brigantines on the Spanish trade inventoried from as little as 400 scudi for a brigantino piccolo (NAM, CM, (AO), Vol. 67 Year 1765 Inventory of SS Crocefisso of Andrea Pace) to a more normal couple of thousand scudi. The value of inventories for fully fitted out brigantines for Spain in 1744 range from 800 to 1800 scudi (NAM, CM, AO Vol. 25 Year 1744 passim). By the late 1750s and early 1760s, at the height of the brigantine trade to Spain, the value of ship and equipment was normally in excess of 2,000 scudi (NAM, CM, AO Vols. 55 and 56 for 1759 and 1760 respectively. Passim).

The lack of consensus concerning the brigantine is reflected in the matter of its armament. Earle believes that the brigantine had no cannon and would normally not even have the one or two swivel guns found on frigates (P. Earle Corsairs of Malta and Barbary, London 1970 p.54). His conclusion is based on a register of Maltese shipping for the late XVII Century and is confirmed by our analysis of the 13 brigantines which left Malta for Spain in 1699. (NAM, CM, Manifesti Bundle 1). These carried, at most, a couple of swivel guns or pertieri. Nevertheless, the situation had changed by the mid XVIII Century and despite Muscat’s claim that the XVIII Century brigantine “carried no guns” (J. Muscat’s Appendix of Line Drawings in A.H.J. Prins’s In Peril of the Sea, Malta 1989 pp. 188-189 refer appendix) most of the numerous inventories we have reviewed for the 1740s, 1750s and 1760s make mention of at least two and occasionally even “Quattro Canone con le loro Cascie e suoi fomimenti e con dodici Balle di ferro” (NAM, CM, AO, Vol. 51 Year 1756 Inventory of Padron Tomaso Agius’s brigantine). The “Maltese” brigantine and its equipment was clearly in a state of continual evolution.

[8] Cited in Mallia-Milanes Descrizione di Malta Anno 1716 - A Venetian Account, Malta 1988 p.55.

[9] F. Braudel The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the age of Philip II, London 1972 Vol. I pp. 106-107.

[10] NAM, Santo Spirito. Unclassified, Libretto delle Prattiche... October 1745-April 1746 and June to Oct. 1746.

[11] Average stay in Spain based on a sample consisting of the following expeditions to Valencia: Juan Arnaud (1760); Claudio Bas (1763); Balthasar Caruana (1763); Clemente Grima (1766);. Phelipe Magro (1762); Salvador Romano (1762) and Antonio Seichel (1763). Details in Archivo General de Simancas (Spain), Secretaría y Superintendicia de Hacienda, Rentas Generales. Legajos 1343, 1344 and 1345.

[12] For the number of Maltese in Spain in 1764-766 Archivo Histórico National (Madrid), Estado, Legajos 629 (1), 629 (2) and 629 (3) and the Archivo Municipal de Murcia (Spain) Legajo 1516 N° 5 and Legajo 1534. For the total number of foreign merchants in Spain, J. Salas Ausens “Les Français en Espagne dans la Seconde Moitié du XVIIIe Siècle”, in Les Français en Espagne à l’Epoque moderne (XVIe-XVIIe siècles), (Ouvrage Collectif), Paris 1990, p.160.

[13] Translated from the anonymous “Reisen eines vomnehemen Herrn in Spanien in den Jahren 1764 und 1765, beschrieben von einem seiner Gesellschaft in: Magazin für die neure Historie und Geographie, angelegt von D. Anton Friedrich Büsching, Zweyter Theil, 2. Auflage, Hamburg 1769” pp. 134-135, cited in W. Von Den Driesch, Die ausländischen Kaufleute während des 18 Jahrhunderts in Spanien und ihre Beteiligung am Kolonialhandel, Köln/Wien, 1972 p.241.

[14] Based on Archivo General de Simancas (Spain), Secretaría y Superintendencia de Hacienda, Legajos 1131, 1132, 1133, 1233, 1298, 1343 and 1344. Total exports available in Archivo General de Simancas (Spain), Hacienda, Dirección General de Rentas 2a Remesa Leg. 4908 “Razón de lo que ha importado el Yndulto del 3 y 4 por 100 de la extraction de plata desde el año 1750 hasta el de 1783 inclusive, por quiquenios.” Undated and unsigned.

[15] NAM, CM, Manifesti, Bundle N° 2 for 1698-1701. Totals from A. Mallia, Zondadori and his times, (1720-1722). B.A. (Hons) History unpublished dissertation, University of Malta 1976 p.88.

[16] NAM, CM, Manifesti, Bundle N° 1 for 1708-1711. Totals from A. Mallia, op. cit.

[17] For 1730 NAM, CM, AO Vol. 20 and for 1746 Prattiche... cited above.

[18] NAM, CM, AO Vol. 55.

[19] Estimates based on 21 brigantines leaving for Spain and Portugal in 1730 (NAM, CM, AO Vol. 20).

[20] For the Scrivano’s book for Decandia’s 1741-1744 expedition refer NAM, CM, AO Vol. 26 Year 1746. De Candia/Farrugia et Soc. For details of Francesco Cassar’s brigantine expedition in 1757-1759, refer NAM, CM, AO Vol. 57 and 66.

[21] Refer note 9.

[22] M. Fontenay “Los Fenómenos Corsarios en la Periferazión del Mediterráneo en El Siglo XVII,”, in Desigualdad y Dependencia (Arcas). Murcia 1986 p.118.

[23] 502,810 and 608,480 pesos fuertes in 1761 and 1762 respectively, Refer footnote 13 above.

[24] Figures for the income of the Order’s Treasury from A. Luttrell op. cit. p. 43. Customs value of cotton exported or re-exported in 1778-1779 based on NAM, Santo Spirito, Unclassified “Gran Libro di Dogana Anno Terzo CC del Primo Maggio 1778 a Tutt Aprile 1779.” A detailed analysis of this document would seem to indicate that Luttrell’s projections of earnings from cotton exports, based on the figures provided by John Debono, may constitute a gross overestimate (Luttrell op. cit. p. 46). The rationale behind Debono’s adoption of the Dogana figures, in the Ricetta Magistrale records as a proxy for cotton exports is not totally clear because as Debono himself recognizes these figures included revenue on both exports and imports. (J. Debono Aspects of the cotton trade in Malta 1750-1800 Unpublished B.A. (Hons) dissertation, University of Malta 1976 p. 52).

[25] F. Braudel Civilization and Capitalism 15th-18th Century. Vol II. The Wheels of Commerce. London 1982 p. 406.

[26] A. Luttrell op. cit. p. 37.