Family Puigcérda 2, 1450-1500

We the Puigcerdà family have become quite well known throughout Ibiza Townas merchants in the salt trade, as well as capable privateers on the sea. Salt has become astaple trade good of Ibiza, although we merchants are largely under the management ofthe great Genoese in this part of the Mediterranean.1  Since roughly 1450, the Genoesehave reaped the rewards from our salt, which they exchange for Lombardy steel and wheat.2  The Basques have also become partnered with the Genoese in order to exploit the profits which the salt of Ibiza brings.3  Being under the thumb of these foreign merchantsm has meant that the Puigcerdà family has had to resort to privateering on the seas merely to supplement what little we actually came away with by participating in the exchange of salt.  However, to say our family has plundered those on the sea indiscriminately would be a false charge indeed.  For example, Jews have long been prominent members within Ibiza and its salt trade, acting as tax collectors, shippers, and even merchants.  Thus, it is often a popular practice by us privateers to give Jews a pass, and even help them steer clear of the Inquisition.  In fact, the Puigcerdà family itself helped five young Jewish men to safety on one occasion.So, with these closing words, I urge future generations to continue to strive for wealth, the good of the community, and respect for the Puigcerdà family name.

Notes.

1 Michel Balard, “A Christian Mediterranean: 10001500,” in The Mediterranean in History, ed. David Abulafia (London: Thames & Hudson, 2003), 211-212.

2 Bernard Moinier, “The Role of Salt in Civilization,Science Tribune, October 1996, http://www.tribunes.com/tribune/sel/mon1.htm, accessed 2 February 2016.
3 Marvin Lunenfeld, “Columbus and Spain: Accident or Destiny?,” Weber State University, Fall 1992, http://www.weber.edu/weberjournal/Journal_Archives/Archive_A/Vol_9-3/MLunenfeldEss.html, accessed 2 February 2016.

4  Gloria Mound, “Survivors of the Spanish Exile: The Underground Jews of Ibiza,” Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, February 10, 1988, http://www.jcpa.org/jl/hit12.htm, accessed 2 February 2016.
 
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Family Grimaldi 2, 1490

July 1490
There has been much stirring in our fair city. I received word today that our dearest sister has succeeded in having our territory to the west declared sovereign late in the last year, praise be to God and thanks be to King Charles VIII, which has freed our family from the burden of the French. This news brings us much happiness as we still languish here in fair Genoa under the thumb of the Milanese and French oppressors who have not allowed us to reassert our sovereignty, yet. Still, at least, we hold their coin and their ships.  Business is thriving and word has spread about the fortunes of our great family. Many explorers come with a begging hand to ask for sponsorships, including a persistent and bothersome man named Cristoforo Colombo. He has tried to threaten our family’s fortunes by stating that he will seek funding elsewhere for his foolish quest for a faster route to India. Let the fool beg the Spanish for we have no funding for a lost cause.  I see nothing in the foreseeable future that could harm our great family. Our branches are spreading out, our relatives’ holdings are being recognized, the coffers are full, and the Frenchmen beg us on knee for funding. We have nothing to lose and much to gain on this trajectory. We will always be the great and powerful Grimaldi.
Notes.

Family Farreira da Fonseca 2, 1450-1495

The challenges of living in our city of Ceuta, separated from Iberia by the Strait of Gibraltar, have proven worthwhile for our family these past many years. Most Portuguese have no wish to leave the comforts of home to abide in this rough port city, but we have managed to take advantage of the Mediterranean’s changing tides to the enrichment of our house.  When the holy see of Saint Andrew fell to Mehmed the Conqueror, many throughout Christendom were shaken. However, as Portuguese sailors began exploring, out of necessity, paths to the west, our family and our business were well-positioned to profit from Ceuta’s advantageous position. As I have worked diligently to secure wealth and position for the house of Ferreira da Fonseca, so must you work to ensure the stability and growth of our business. We have assets enough to extend credit to our most valued and trusted clients, but you must always cultivate new resources by maintaining relationships with our closest and most influential neighbors. For instance, the Wattasid sultan, who rose during my tenure, desires trade. I have been careful to offer trade with our Islamic friends to our benefit.  Finally, you should consider continuing trade with the less lawful Barbary sailors. Not only do they regularly require supplies for the operation of their ships, but they can offer trade goods at fairly low rates if we can compete with merchants in Tangier.