After the Galleons

Foreign Trade, Economic Change, and Entrepreneurship in the Nineteenth-Century Philippines

Benito J. Legarda, Jr.

After the Galleons tracks the progress of Philippines foreign trade in the nineteenth century from the end of the galleon trade to the Philippine Revolution. It describes the great increase in the value of domestic exports with their progressive concentration in abaca and sugar, and the concentration of imports on textiles. It identifies the major trading partners (Britain, the U.S., China) and notes the minor part played by Spain. It finds that the country was land rich, characterized by smallholdings; it was labor short, and was a rice exporter. Behind the material progress it discerns growing extremes of wealth and of concentration in landownership. Unlike elsewhere in Southeast Asia, the driving forces behind the increase in trade and output were not government pressure or the plantation system, but incentives deriving from entrepreneurship and capital imports working through a system of flexible prices and exchange rate. 


Benito J. Legarda, Jr. received the B.S. in Social Sciences (magna cum laude) from Georgetown University (1948) and the M.A. and Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University (1950, 1955). He worked for the Central Bank of the Philippines, rising through the ranks until retiring as deputy governor for research. He served on the executive board of the IMF; was consultant to the World Bank; and worked as economic counsellor at the Philippine Embassy in Washington D.C. He has published over sixty articles on economics, finance, banking, statistics, history, numismatics, and colonial churches (some in Spanish). He was a founding member of the Philippine Statistical Association and the Philippine Economic Society, serving a term as president of the latter, and was also founding editor of the Philippine Economic Journal.