The Puigcerdà Family and the Greek Mediterranean

The Puigcerdà family has been trading salt to the eastern Mediterranean since the
sixteenth century through our Jewish connections in Livorno, as well as to the Venetians through the Greek Vergis family from Corfu.1 Indeed, these trade connections have proved quite profitable for our family; and in the case of our Greek partners, have led a number of individuals from our family to travel with the Vergis merchant family to the east. However, the raiding and taking of ships on the sea has caused some complications in recent years. For example, in 1600, while traveling with members of the Vergis family on the Ionian Sea, a young man from the Puigcerdà family became entangled in legal disputes when the Knights of Malta seized the ship he was aboard. Despite the fact that both the Vergis family and the Puigcerdà man pleaded for fair treatment because of their Christian faith and connections to the Venetians, the Maltese claimed that there was no indicator that the ship belonged to Venice. Thankfully, being subjects of Venice, the Vergis family was able to get the republic to impose a sequestro on the Maltese; ultimately forcing them to compensate the Vergis family for their losses.2 If it was not for the Vergis family’s claims to Venice, the Puigcerdà family too may have lost a great deal of profit from this ordeal with the Maltese
1 Molly Greene, Catholic Pirates and Greek Merchants: A Maritime History of the Mediterranean (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2010), 38.
2 Greene, 65-66.

 

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