SUMMARY / RELATED TOPICS

Rauvolfia tetraphylla

Rauvolfia tetraphylla is a plant in the family Apocynaceae, growing as a bush or small tree. It is known as the be still tree or devil-pepper; the plant is native to Mexico, Central America, West Indies, northern South America. It has been cultivated as both an ornamental and for use in traditional medicine, it is now naturalized throughout the tropics including Australasia and India. Rauvolfia tetraphylla fruits are called devil-peppers and hold an important position in the Indian traditional system of medicine; the plant has various significances and it is used by South Indian tribes. Asima Chatterjee initiated chemical investigation of alkaloids in Rauvolfia tetraphylla known as Rauwolfia canescens. Indole alkaloids including serpentine, reserpine and other Rauwolfia alkaloids were identified in phytochemical study

Miguel Martínez de Pinillos Sáenz

Miguel Martínez de Pinillos Sáenz was a Spanish entrepreneur. He is known as a ship-owner, who operated a Cádiz-based fleet of merchant vessels on Mediterranean and Atlantic routes, he is recognized as a locally known conservative politician serving in the Cortes as a Carlist deputy. The Pinillos were first noted in the 16th century. Many of their members served either in the military. Miguel’s great-grandfather, Antonio Martínez de Pinillos Marín, was the last one who lived in La Rioja, his son and Miguel’s grandfather, Miguel Martínez de Pinillos y Sáenz de Velasco, though born in Nieva de Cameros moved to the South and settled in Cádiz. In the 1830s he engaged in maritime business as owner of a ship serving the Spanish West Indies. In the 1880s the enterprise was taken over by Miguel's son and Miguel’s father, Antonio María Martínez de Pinillos Izquierdo. Antonio modernized the fleet by switching to steamers and operated new regular routes both on the Atlantic and on the Mediterranean, opening a base in Santander and trying to serve Northern Europe and the Far East.

His company, first named Pinillos, Sáenz y Cia. and since the 1890s Pinillos, Izquierdo y Cia. together with its major competitor Trasatlántica became key player on the Spanish transatlantic routes. Serving as councillor in ayuntamiento and with members of other Martínez de Pinillo branches acting as top local officials, Antonio became the provincial business mogul; as the Martínez de Pinillos and the Izquierdo families used to intermarry Antonio married Aquilina Sáenz y Izquierdo. It is not clear though Miguel was the only son. None of the sources consulted provides information on his early schooling, he returned to Cádiz in the early 1890s. In 1900 he married Trinidad Toro y Gómez. Living in the family residence at Plaza de Mina, the couple had two children: Antonio and Carmen Martínez de Pinillos y Toro, both born prior to 1919. Antonio was supposed to take over the family business until he died in a car accident in 1951, it was his daughter and Miguel’s granddaughter, María Carmen Martínez de Pinillos Ceballos, who went on running the company as Naviera Pinillos.

The enterprise remained in family hands until the early 1990s. Upon completing his education in England Martínez de Pinillos returned to Spain and engaged in the family business run by his father. At that time the family enterprise was at its peak, but in the years to come it went into gradual decline. Spain’s loss of overseas holdings reduced demand for transatlantic communication in the 1900s, a series of massively tragic naval disasters shattered the company image when Príncipe de Asturias and Valbanera sank in the 1910s and the post-war crisis hit the company hard in the early 1920s. In 1923 Miguel Martínez de Pinillos decided to re-launch the business, this time setting up his own company named Lineas Pinillos, he switched to a less ambitious, but pragmatic format. Lineas Pinillos engaged in tramping and coasting trade, the latter both as cabotage and grand cabotage. In terms of geography the company focused on the Canary Islands. In terms of cargo type, it specialized in fruits – bananas - and coal.

Until the late 1920s its most typical operations were exports of fruits from the Canary Islands to Britain and return cruises to Spanish ports with the load of British coal. The vessels operated on other routes along the Atlantic Northern African coast and across the Mediterranean, calling at Moroccan, French or Italian ports. Martínez de Pinillos was assembling a fleet of merchant vessels, his default strategy relied on purchasing new ships from Spanish and foreign shipyards in the Vascongadas and in Scotland, though coming from other manufacturers like the Norwegian Verksted Kristiansand. To suit his tramping and cabotage pattern of service he focused on small to mid-size vessels. Though Martínez de Pinillos purchased late-generation steamers powered by triple expansion type engines with some 900 hp, since the mid-1920s he switched to modern diesel propulsion, offering around 1,700 hp. By 1925 the fleet consisted of 4 ships: Rio Arillo, Duero and Vasco. Though his business focus was on merchant maritime transportation, Martínez de Pinillos remained engaged in a number of other economic activities, most of them inherited from his father.