Fiscal System and Private Interests in Portuguese Asia under the Habsburgs, 1580-1640

in Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient
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By examining the main features of the fiscal system of Portuguese Asia and the private interests that clustered around it, this article contributes to the recent historiography on the pluralistic and negotiated dimensions of the colonial government. It argues that, in the context of the European power struggle that opposed the Dutch and the English against the Spanish Habsburgs, the financial needs of the Portuguese crown deepened pre-existing political and social arrangements, with the result that royal officials and colonial elites increasingly gained a role in imperial governance and in preserving the Portuguese empire in Asia. The alignment of interests here can be observed by looking at the extraordinary taxation introduced between 1617 and 1623, which provided added opportunities to co-opt local elites.

Fiscal System and Private Interests in Portuguese Asia under the Habsburgs, 1580-1640

in Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient

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3

For a survey see S. SubrahmanyamThe Portuguese Empire in Asia 1500-1700. A Political and Economic History (London: Longman1993).

4

J.C. BoyajianPortuguese Trade in Asia under the Habsburgs 1580-1640 (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press1993): 92-94; A. Disney A Decadência do Império da Pimenta. Comércio português na Índia no início do século XVII (Lisbon: Edições 70 1981); For an up-to-date survey see J. Pedreira “Costs and Financial Trends in the Portuguese Empire 1400-1800”. In Portuguese Oceanic Expansion 1400 to 1800 ed. F. Bethencourt and D.R. Curto (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2007): 49-87.

9

A.M. HespanhaAs Vésperas do Leviathan. Instituições e poder político Portugal século XVII (Coimbra: Almedina1994). Hespanha’s book is inserted in a historiographical stream that has been re-evaluating early modern political and legal models of Southern Europe (Italy Spain and Portugal) since the late 1970s.

11

J. Pedreira“Costs and Financial Trends”: 74-82. For Spanish America, see R. Grafe and A. Irigoin, “The Spanish Empire and its Legacy: Fiscal Redistribution and Political Conflict in Colonial and Postcolonial Spanish America.” Journal of Global History 1/2 (2006): 241-67; R. Grafe and A. Irigoin “A Stakeholder Empire: The Political Economy of Spanish Imperial Rule in America.” Economic History Review 65/2 (2012): 609-65.

49

I. Copland and M.R. Godley‘Revenue Farming in Comparative Perspective: Reflections on Taxation, Social Structure and Development in the Early Modern Period’ in The Rise and Fall of Revenue Farming: Business Elites and the Emergence of the Modern State in Southeast Asiaed. J. Butcher and H. Dick (St. Martin’s Press 1993): 45.

50

See S. Ianeva“Financing the State? Tax-farming as a Source of Individual Wealth in the Nineteenth Century.” Oriens 37 (2009) 209-224; Ş. Pamuk “Changes in Factor Markets in the Ottoman Empire 1500-1800.” Continuity and Change 24/1 (2009): 107-136.

73

J.E. GelabertLa Bolsa del Rey. Rey reino y fisco en Castilla 1598-1648 (Barcelona: Grijalbo Mondadori1997).

75

J.B. CollinsFiscal Limits of Absolutism. Direct Taxation in Early Seventeenth-Century France (Berkeley: University of California Press1988): 1-17; J.D. Tracy “Taxation and State Debt.” In Handbook of European History (1400-1600). Late Middle Ages Renaissance and Reformation vol. 1 Structures and Assertions ed. T. Brady H. Oberman and J.D. Tracy (Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company 1996): 563-588; A.M. Hespanha “A Fazenda: 206-7; Bonney “Revenues”: 472.

77

A.T. de MatosO Estado da Índia nos Anos de 1581-1588. Estrutura administrativa e económica. Alguns elementos para o seu estudo (Universidade dos Açores: Ponta Delgada1993): 190. On the role of Cochin in this juncture see G.B. Souza “Imperial Defense”.

79

On this topic see A.M. Hespanha“O Governo dos Áustria e a Modernização da Constituição Política Portuguesa.” Penélope 2 (1989): 50-73.

82

M. NewittA History of Portuguese Overseas Expansion 1400-1668. (London: Routledge2005): 129.

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