Nineteenth-Century Bahia's Passion for British Salted Cod: From the Seas of Newfoundland to the Portuguese Shops of Salvador's Cidade Baixa, 1822-1914

Author: Marc W Herold

Working Paper Number: 23

PDF file: PDF icon WP23.pdf

Dried cod has played a similar role to sugar in the international chain of commerce. It became a major traded commodity between British North America (Newfoundland, Nova Scotia Gaspe) in the nineteenth century. Cheap cod fed the slaves who grew and produced the sugar (and coffee and cotton) which in turn energised the workers of the Industrial Revolution who worked the machines which made the commodities of empire. The machines in factories and their output provided the material basis of Empire. Sugar and cod were important in the cultures of Britain, Newfoundland, the West Indies, West Africa and Brazil. Demand (tastes) and (low) price dictated that salted cod would become a main staple in the West Indies and Brazil even though ample supplies of fresh fish existed locally.