Marine and Commercial Reform, 1713–1720

  • Geoffrey J. Walker


Since the last quarter of the seventeenth century Spain’s ministers, mariners and merchants had regularly agreed that policies were required to revive the country’s trade with the colonies and protect it from the increasing threat from foreign interlopers. Never had the need of reforms been more pressing than now. As early as 1679 the Junta de comercio had been set up to consider these problems, and it was further strengthened in 1683 as part of a continuing effort to achieve reforms. Many hours of discussion were devoted to a multitude of ideas, and copious reports were written about them. Some of the schemes proposed the legal participation of foreigners in aspects of the trade, while others suggested abandoning the system of trade fleets altogether and establishing in their place monopolistic trading companies on the lines of the English, Dutch and French. Some recommended a combination of both. Yet it seems that all the theories contained elements which in one way or another went against some basic Crown concept of the government of the Indies, and no progress whatsoever was made in practice. The Cadiz trades continued to decline until they reached the unprecedented depths of the last decade of the century.1


Trade Fair Royal Decree Spanish Minister Spanish Produce Transatlantic Trade 
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  1. 2.
    J. M. de Leiva y Lorente, `La construction naval en los astilleros cantâbricos en los tiempos de D. Blas de Lezo,’ in Conmemoraci6n bicentenaria de D. Blas de Lezo, Madrid, 1941, pp. 66, 68.Google Scholar
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    A. Mounier, Les Faits et la doctrine économiques en Espagne sous Philippe V. Geronimo de Uztâriz, 1670–1732, Bordeaux, 1919, p. 168.Google Scholar
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    W. L. Schurz, ‘Mexico, Peru and the Manila Galleon,’ HAHR, 1, 1918, p. 390.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Geoffrey J. Walker 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Geoffrey J. Walker
    • 1
  1. 1.Fitzwilliam CollegeCambridgeUK

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