1714, "contract between the King of Spain and another power" (especially that made at the Peace of Utrecht, 1713, with Great Britain for furnishing African slaves to the Spanish colonies in the Americas), from Spanish asiento, from asentar "to adjust, settle, establish," literally "to place on a chair," from a sentar, from Latin sedens, present participle of sedere "to sit" (see sedentary).
This contract was technically called in those days an assiento.
A good ministry would have considered how a renewal of the assiento might have been obtained.
To estimate the extent of the smuggling trade directly traceable to the loop-holes which the assiento offered, was impossible.
These two men had been granted the assiento in Spain, that is, the privilege of furnishing the Spanish colonies with Negro slaves.
The importation then dwindled, but rose after the assiento to perhaps 30,000.