John P. Cann
Lisbon and OPorto Factory Houses, British Merchants and Ec. Relations
Madeira in the 17th and 18th centuries was a major producer of wine and many fortunes were made in this time. The demand for its wine appears to have been for two main reasons. First, ships sailing from Europe to British America would sail south to Madeira before heading out across the Atlantic to take advantage of the prevailing winds. They were always looking to fill surplus cargo space with wine, which became very popular in America. Second, the 1703 Treaty of Methuen, which benefitted exporters of Port to Britain, taxed re-exports of Port from Britian to America, so making Madeiran wine more competitive. Another reason for the wine's popularity was that the Vitamin C content meant that it was an excellent way of avoiding scurvy and ships going on long voyages, such as Captain Cook, would take on board large quantities.
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