The history of intercolonial trade is a neglected field and no part of it has been so badly served as the history of shipbuilding. Lawrence

A. Clayton’s monograph on naval construction in Guayaquil is a courageous and successful attempt to contribute a vital chapter to our knowledge. His sources are in the main drawn from the AGI in Seville, the Biblioteca Nacional and cabildo records in Guayaquil, and the Archivo Histórico del Ministerio de Hacienda in Lima. His reference to other articles and books is discriminating and helpful. The time span covered ranges from the mid-sixteenth to the end of the seventeenth century. The seven chapter titles include “Los astilleros reales;” “Galeras y galeones para la Mar del Sur;” “El constructor naval empírico;” “Aspecto económico;” “Regulación de la industria;” “Gente y gremios;” and “Una familia de empresarios.” The latter discusses the Castro family who created an industrial mini-empire, roughly between the end of the sixteenth and the middle of the seventeenth centuries.

A major point which emerges from this study is the independence of the naval construction industry on the Pacific coast from that on the Atlantic. The security of the Viceroyalty of Peru and its vital naval link was challenged by intruders through the Straits of Magellan, and the government in Lima provided both the cause and the remedies for this. Guayaquil’s shipbuilding industry was an ad hoc enterprise with manpower and means drawn from the Pacific coast, especially from Guayaquil. The growth of a colonial tradition of handling problems which could respond more efficiently to the needs of Peru than could the cumbersome metropolitan machinery which wasted time on supporting the construction of inefficient galleys is described in Silvio Zavala, “Galeras en el Nuevo Mundo” (Memoria de El Colegio Nacional, 8:3, 1976, 115-137).

The variety of illustrations—ship construction blueprints, portraits, maps, scenes, and documents—is a clue to the topics covered in this book. These are complemented by a series of useful appendixes and of supportive material from the archives. This small book is very suggestive for technical, social, and administrative history beyond its modest title. It deserves reading by all colonialists.