Stem to Stern
The Canary Islands
The islands, but really an archipelago, sit just west off the coast of North Africa. With the powerful Atlantic winds blowing just north of them, these islands are the best launching spot to reach the Americas. While the islands boast of sweet sugar and even sweeter wines, trade and taxes are the real power here. At first only Spanish Galleons were allowed to make port, but once the money from the trade and taxes on ships of all countries became apparent, the Spanish Crown relaxed their restrictions. Swaggering Spanish Swordsmen walk the same streets as English sailors, French explorers and Dutch merchants. You can find almost anything in the shops, taverns and back alleys here. Including trouble. Most problems can be solved by a stiff fine, or a bribe.