Economic dislocations and political disorders during the last decade of the nineteenth century convinced policymakers and important business interests of the need for the United States to acquire external commercial markets. The US empire's hemispheric political and economic objectives in the late nineteenth century decisively influenced the colonial policy it devised for Puerto Rico. The global depression of the 1890s propelled a new round of European imperialism. Export-oriented agricultural firms intensified their efforts to compel the US government to develop overseas markets during this period of economic difficulties. The expansionists pressed the United States to acquire insular territories. Alfred T. Mahan was one of the most influential thinker on the relationship between global navy strategies and commercial expansion. US thinking on Puerto Rico's function in the calculus of imperial expansion evolved gradually. The decision to retain Puerto Rico as a territorial possession was the product of the US imperative to acquire a strategic stronghold in the Caribbean.