Author: Stephen Mayeaux
Herencia! What curious snapshots of history lie within your depths? As a summer 2021 intern, I had the exciting opportunity to work through the Herencia collection. Many documents were beyond intriguing; I’d love to research them all!
One of the first to catch my eye was a set of documents from the Cortes, the legislative body of Spain. Published in 1593, Acts of the “Cortes” held in the village of Madrid in the year 1588 gives us a look at matters the Cortes considered important enough to address.
Among other interesting subjects, these documents show concern over the kingdom’s financial difficulties. The Cortes looked suspiciously at foreign nations to help explain a lack of currency that had been felt in Spain, writing that China and the East Indies were taking grand quantities of silver. On another page, the Cortes petitioned the king to ban the import of cheap, poor-quality foreign goods—described as “things of alchemy, […] rosaries, false stones and stained glass, chains,” and other items—and reprimanded the buying of such “useless things”:
Stephen Mayeaux, “Who’s to Blame for Lost Silver and Gold? Laments of Financial Troubles in Spain 1588,” LIBR. CONGRESS (August 26, 2021). https://blogs.loc.gov/law/2021/08/criminals-and-coins-understanding-17th-century-spanish-economy-through-counterfeit-currency/