Atlantic History Fiscality
by
Filipa Ribeiro da Silva
  • LAST REVIEWED: 08 June 2017
  • LAST MODIFIED: 28 January 2013
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199730414-0177

Introduction

The early modern Atlantic world was a space of circulation and exchange for people, ideas, and commodities. European states and state-sponsored chartered companies involved in the formation of the Atlantic empires tried to impose monopolies over the commerce in this vast region and to create several European “clusters,” the so-called English, French, Dutch, and Iberian Atlantics. The process of state-driven expansion into the Atlantic was closely linked to the process of early modern state formation. Its success depended heavily on the states’ ability to claim and impose their sovereignty over this new Atlantic world and to find new forms of revenue to finance partially the Atlantic enterprise. Taxation both direct and indirect was an important source of revenue for European states, not only to finance the bureaucratic apparatus and war in Europe but also to support the costs of building and maintaining colonies in the Atlantic while waging war at other European states with ambitions overseas. Fiscality is therefore an important component in the study of the early modern Atlantic world. Although the field of Atlantic history has been among the most productive areas of research since the early 1990s, and most of its scholarship has focused on circulation of people and products, terms such as taxation, fiscal systems, and customs agencies, are hard to find. Our knowledge and understanding of early modern European fiscal organization and practices in the Atlantic setting are therefore limited. There is, however, a body of literature (often published outside the realm of Atlantic history) that sheds some light on these subjects. This bibliography provides a brief survey of this scholarship.

General Works on European State Formation and Fiscal Systems

Roughly a century ago, the study of fiscal institutions in the European colonies appears to have been relatively popular among economic historians, political scientists, and social scientists, judging by the number of articles published by the American Economic Association and the Academy of Political Science on the English, Danish, French, and German colonial fiscal systems. Focusing on the 19th century, these articles provide detailed information on the fiscal and financial organization of the European colonies at the time, the customs system, direct and indirect forms of taxation, taxes on imports and exports, ship dues, and harbor and pilot charges. Most of these studies also focus on forms of tax collection and tax farming, their main concern being the relationship between tax revenue, state expenditure, and state deficit. In the course of the 20th century, the study of fiscal institutions in the colonial settings appears, however, to have fallen out of fashion. In recent years, European fiscality at home and overseas has reemerged as an important research topic but mainly among economic and institutional historians interested in the study of European state formation, bureaucratization, and finances during the Early Modern period. Although this scholarship often does not provide direct information on fiscality in the Atlantic, it does give the reader an overview of the rise of the fiscal and military state in Europe and explores the implications of these developments in the broad early modern world. Bonney 1999; Bonney 1995; and Ormrod, et al. 1999 are among the key readings that contextualize the rise of the fiscal states in Europe. Other important contributions for the study of the formation of European states fiscal systems and their transfer and economic impact overseas are Tracy 1990; Tracy 1991; Bordo and Cortés-Conde 2001; and Blockmans, et al. 1996. More recently, the International Institute of Economic History’s Francesco Datini has organized a study week dedicated to “Fiscal Systems in the European Economy from the 13th to the 18th Centuries.” The proceedings (Cavaciocchi 2008) offer readers a glimpse of the most recent scholarship produced on three main topics: comparative evolution of fiscal systems, fiscal policies, and effects of taxation on the economy.

  • Blockmans, Willem Pieter, Jorge Borges de Macedo, and Jean-Phillippe Genêt, eds. The Heritage of the Pre-industrial European State: The Origins of the Modern State in Europe, 13th to 18th Century. Lisbon, Portugal: Arquivos Nacional/Torre do Tombo, 1996.

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    This collection of essays provides an overview of the organizational models transferred by Early Modern European states to their overseas empires in a comparative perspective. In the different chapters dedicated to individual states, readers will find information on the home fiscal structures as well as on their transfer and adjustment to the overseas settings.

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    • Bonney, Richard J., ed. Economic Systems and State Finance. Oxford: Clarendon, 1995.

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      This collective volume provides a comparative analysis of the development of state finance and fiscal systems in Europe between the 13th and early 19th centuries. The thematic chapter on the burden of fiscal systems might be of special interest for those looking at the rise and organization of fiscality in the Atlantic.

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      • Bonney, Richard J., ed. The Rise of the Fiscal State in Europe, c. 1200–1815. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.

        DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198204022.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

        This collection of essays offers an overview on the emergence of the fiscal systems in Europe, highlighting differences, similarities, and commonalities in terms of fiscal structure and processes leading to state formation. England, France, Spain, the Northern Netherlands, the Low Countries, the Swiss confederation, the Papacy, Venice, the Italian city-states, Russia, Poland, and Lithuania are the main case studies analyzed.

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        • Bordo, Michael D., and Roberto Cortés-Conde, eds. Transferring Wealth and Power from the Old to the New World: Monetary and Fiscal Institutions in the 17th through the 19th Centuries. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2001.

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          This edited volume offers several articles by renowned scholars in the field of finances and fiscality examining the transfer of fiscal and financial institutions from several European states, including England, the Netherlands, Spain, and France to various colonies in the Americas, such as the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, and New Granada.

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          • Cavaciocchi, Simonetta, ed. Fiscal Systems in the European Economy from the 13th to the 18th Centuries. 2 vols. Florence: Firenze University Press, 2008.

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            These volumes offer multiple articles on the evolution of European fiscal systems, fiscal policies, and the effects of taxation on the economy. Most of the studies focus on Europe, namely on the Swedish, Polish, German, Dutch, Flemish, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian cases. Some articles also explore fiscality in the Islamic world and the European empires.

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            • Ormrod, W. M., Margaret Bonney, and Richard J. Bonney, eds. Crises, Revolutions and Self-Sustained Growth: Essays in European Fiscal History, 1130–1830. Stamford, UK: Shaun Tyas, 1999.

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              This collection of essays gives readers a comparative survey of changes implemented to fiscal and financial systems of various European states in periods of crises and the turmoil. For scholars studying fiscality in the Atlantic world, a valuable contribution is the introduction by Ormrod, Bonney, and Bonney in which the authors formulate a new theoretical framework for the analysis of change in fiscal systems.

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              • Tracy, James D., ed. The Rise of Merchant Empires: Long-Distance Trade in the Early Modern World, 1350–1750. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1990.

                DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511563089Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                This edited book focuses on European intercontinental trade in general. However, several essays on Iberian, Dutch, French, and English trade pay attention to the Atlantic and provide information on direct and indirect taxation imposed by states on certain commodities or upon circulation within specific monopoly areas.

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                • Tracy, James D., ed. The Political Economy of Merchant Empires: State Power and World Trade, 1350–1750. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1991.

                  DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511665288Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                  This collective volume on the relationship between states and their commercial empires contains several articles concerning state intervention in the Atlantic through fiscal policies and practices. Although information is scattered throughout the volume in different chapters, the text can be very helpful for providing a first idea of European states’ policies and priorities for their maritime empires in matters of fiscal and financial ethos and praxis.

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                  Data Sources

                  Students and researchers interested on the study of fiscality in the Atlantic world can also access useful online tools. As in the case of the general literature listed and briefly described above (see General Works on European State Formation and Fiscal Systems), the European State Finance Database is not directed specifically at the Atlantic context, but the materials available can be important references and sometimes a point of departure for study or research. Here, in addition to a useful guide to archive materials for the study of state formation, public finance, and fiscality, the researcher will find an extensive list of literature on the broad theoretical framework in which Early Modern European fiscality and finances have been analyzed. In addition, this database offers a collection of several sets of data on state finance, revenues and expenditure, states treasuries and national accounts, as well as army sizes and expenses.

                  Published Primary Sources

                  Since the late 18th century, a considerable number of primary source materials concerning the history of taxation and fiscality in the Atlantic world and, more broadly, the European overseas empires have been published in Europe and North and South America. Among the earliest printed materials with information on fiscality in the British Empire are Anderson 1787–1789, Sinclair 1785, and, more recently, Morgan 1959. For the Spanish Empire, TePaske, et al. 1982 and TePaske and Klein 1986 are especially noteworthy, whereas for the Portuguese Empire, see Luz 1992 and Pinheiro 2001. Note, however, that this is just a short list of selected printed materials and is far from exhaustive.

                  • Anderson, Adam. An Historical and Chronological Deduction of the Origin of Commerce, from the Earliest Accounts: Containing an History of the Great Commercial Interests of the British Empire. To Which Is Prefixed an Introduction, Exhibiting a View of the Ancient and Modern State of Europe; of the Importance of Our Colonies; and of the Commerce, Shipping, Manufactures, Fisheries, &c., of Great-Britain and Ireland; and Their Influence on the Landed Interest. With an Appendix, Containing the Modern Politico-Commercial Geography of the Several Countries of Europe. 4 vols. Edited by William Combe. London: J. Walter, 1787–1789.

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                    Includes statistical data concerning tax collection and revenue in Britain and the British Empires. Part of this information is already processed and available through the European State Finance Database.

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                    • Luz, Francisco Paulo Mendes da, ed. Regimento da Casa da Índia: Manuscrito do século XVII existente no Arquivo Geral de Simancas. Lisbon, Portugal: Instituto de Cultura e Língua Portuguesa, Ministério da Educação e Cultura, 1992.

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                      Offers a critical introduction and transcription of the bylaw of the Lisbon-based House of India, the main office of the Portuguese Crown responsible for the overall organization of the colonial trade, as well as the collection of taxes on the imports and exports of colonial products. The manuscript contains detailed information on taxes imposed, tax collection indoors, and vigilance in the port of Lisbon.

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                      • Morgan, Edmund S. Prologue to Revolution: Sources and Documents on the Stamp Act Crisis, 1764–1766. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1959.

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                        Offers teachers and students a selection of contemporary documents and primary source materials related to the American Revolution, including several documents concerning the imposition of new direct taxes in the English colony and the reactions of the colonists.

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                        • Pinheiro, Luís da Cunha. “O foral da alfandega da ilha de Santiago de Cabo Verde de 1696.” Anais de História de Além-Mar 2 (2001): 347–355.

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                          Provides an annotated transcription of the Portuguese royal charter authorizing and regulating the establishment of the customs house on the island of Cape Verde. The author also analyzes in detail the functions, organization, and practices followed at the customs house. Possibly a useful tool for examining European fiscal organization overseas and/or developing a comparative analysis of fiscal systems overseas.

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                          • Sinclair, John. The History of the Public Revenue of the British Empire. 3 vols. Dublin, Ireland: P. Byrne, 1785–1790.

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                            Contains detailed information on the organization of the fiscal system of the British Empire and its evolution over time as well as data on customs revenue, duties, annual income, and so forth. Also see Sinclair’s Appendix to the History of the Public Revenue of the British Empire (London: T. Cadell, 1789). Some of these data are already processed and available via the European State Finance Database.

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                            • TePaske, John J., and Herbert S. Klein. Ingresos y egresos de la Real Haciena en Nueva España. 2 vols. Mexico City: Instituto Nacional de Antropologia y Historia, 1986.

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                              These two volumes reconstruct the income and expenditure of the Treasury Office of the viceroyalty of New Spain between 1580 and 1825.

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                              • TePaske, John J., Herbert S. Klein, and Kendall W. Brown. The Royal Treasuries of the Spanish Empire in America. 4 vols. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1982.

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                                Provides users access to the Treasury accounts of the various Spanish American colonies. Volume 1 includes the accounts of the royal treasuries of Peru; Volume 2, Bolivia; Volume 3, Chile and Rio de La Plata; and Volume 4, Ecuador. The introductory chapter is of special interest for researchers working on fiscality in the Atlantic as it offers a brief overview of the relationship between fiscal sources of revenue and the expenditure of the Spanish state overseas.

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                                Journals

                                International and national peer-reviewed journals in the fields of economic and financial history have also published a considerable amount of scholarship directly and indirectly related to the topic of fiscality in the Atlantic world during the Early Modern period. Among them are certainly the Economic History Review, the Financial History Review, and the Journal of Economic History. International journals specialized on European expansion and Latin American, Spanish American, and Caribbean history have also printed multiple articles on fiscal institutions and their practices in the Atlantic. Many of these studies are quoted in the various sections of this article. At a national level, readers may also find several specialized reviews that contain scholarship on the subject of fiscality. Worth notice are the Revista de historia económica and the Revista española de financiación y contabilidad (the latter cited under Slavery), both printed in Spain. Many of these international and national journals are available online.

                                Spanish Atlantic

                                In terms of fiscal colonial history, the Spanish American colonies appear to be the region studied in the greatest detail within the so-called Atlantic world. TePaske and Klein 1986 (cited under Published Primary Sources) examines at length the organization of the Spanish American fiscal systems and their relationship with Spanish finance. TePaske, et al. 1982 (cited under Published Primary Sources) offers a detailed analysis of Spanish primary source materials for the study of fiscal colonial history; TePaske 1991 includes essays on the main research trends in the field both in the Anglo- and the Spanish-speaking historiographical traditions. In fact, the list of publications on the Spanish American fiscality and finances is far more extensive in the Spanish language than in English (Klein and Barbier 1988, Klein 1992). Most of this scholarship analyzes in detail the fiscal apparatus and practices of its staff (Klein 1980, Salvucci 1983), direct and indirect taxes, forms of tax collection, and tax farming in various regions of Spanish America. In recent years, scholars have also started focusing on the transition from colonial to postcolonial fiscal institutions and policies in Latin America and their economic impact (Marichal and Marino 2001).

                                • Escobedo Romero, Rafael. “El monopolio fiscal del tabaco en la España del siglo XVIII.” PhD diss., University of Navarra, 2004.

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                                  Provides an overview of the royal monopoly imposed by the Spanish Crown on the imports of tobacco during the 18th century, including details on the taxation and fiscal structure controlling the importation of the colonial commodity. A summary of this unpublished doctoral dissertation can be found online in Tiempos Modernos 17.2 (2008): 1–6.

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                                  • Klein, Herbert S. “The Structure of the Hacendado Class in the Late Eighteenth Century Alto Perú: The Intendencia de La Paz.” Hispanic American Historical Review 60.2 (1980): 191–212.

                                    DOI: 10.2307/2513215Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                    Provides insight into the internal organization of the Spanish American intendencias (fiscal agencies), the composition of their staff, forms of recruitment and appointment, and practices adopted by officials during their terms. Available online by subscription.

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                                    • Klein, Herbert S. “Historia fiscal colonial: Resultados y perspectivas.” Historia Mexicana 42.2 (1992): 261–307.

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                                      Provides an overview of the main lines of research in this scholarship, including the organization of the fiscal system in individual colonies; the functions and practices of institutions; the relationship between metropolitan, regional, and local institutions; and the uses and abuses of fiscal officials in charge. Also offers a list of literature published in both English and Spanish.

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                                      • Klein, Herbert S. The American Finances of the Spanish Empire: Royal Income and Expenditures in Colonial Mexico, Peru, and Bolivia, 1680–1809. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1998.

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                                        Klein analyzes in detail the different forms of direct and indirect income of the Spanish Crown in the Americas, the organization of the fiscal system, and the profits and deficit of the Spanish colonial finances.

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                                        • Klein, Herbert S., and Jacques A. Barbier. “Recent Trends on the Study of Spanish American Colonial Public Finance.” Latin American Research Review 23.1 (1988): 35–62.

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                                          Discusses the main trends in research and historiography on Spanish American colonial financial history. Although the article’s main focus is clearly the colonial financial organization of the Spanish American Empire, scholars working on fiscality and fiscal systems will find here a survey of the main scholarly contributions for an understanding of Spanish domestic and overseas fiscal organization as well as the connections and interlinks between metropolitan and imperial fiscal and financial policies and practices.

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                                          • Marichal, Carlos, and Daniela Marino, eds. De colonia a nación: Impuestos y política en México, 1750–1860. Mexico City: El Colégio de México, 2001.

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                                            This edited volume of essays analyzes the transformations that took place in Mexican fiscal system and taxation ethos and practice in the period of transition from Spanish colony to independent nation-state.

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                                            • Salvucci, Linda K. “Costumbres viejas, ‘hombres nuevos’: José de Gálvez y la burocracia fiscal novohispana (1754–1800).” Historia Mexicana 33.2 (1983): 224–264.

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                                              Like Klein 1980, this study discusses the praxis of fiscal officials serving the Spanish fiscal structure in New Spain and examines the attempts of the Spanish Crown to eradicate certain uses and practices, which often resulted in tax evasion and losses of tax income for the state.

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                                              • TePaske, John J. “The Records of the King’s Countinghouse: Problems and Pitfalls.” Latin America Economic History Newsletter 1 (1991): 5–8.

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                                                An analysis of the type of source materials and data available in the documents collection of the Spanish Royal Accounting House or Treasury. The author also discusses in some detail several methodological challenges raised by this type of primary source and their limited use for the study of specific topics. A useful general introduction to fiscal source materials and related research problems.

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                                                Portuguese Atlantic

                                                The literature on Spanish American fiscal and financial organization has no parallel for any other European empire, in either the Atlantic or the Asian colonial settings. In the case of the Portuguese Empire, few studies offer an overview of the fiscal system, its organization, forms of taxation, tax collection, and appointment of staff at both a European and a colonial level (Ribeiro da Silva 2008). In general, studies on Portuguese domestic and overseas fiscality tend to focus on the analysis of one specific fiscal institution (see Pinheiro 2001, cited under Published Primary Sources) or fiscal practice, such as precise forms of taxation (White 1977). From a geographical point of view, most of the attention has been devoted to western Africa, in particular the Cape Verde islands (Silva 1991) and Angola (see Miller 1988, cited under Slavery). In recent years, however, interest in Brazilian colonial fiscal history has grown with visible results in the number and quality of publications, such as Mauro 1965, Godoy 2008, Silva 2008, and Coelho 2009. Most of this research has been published in Portuguese, making access harder for nonnative speakers and scholars with no direct contact with the Portuguese and Brazilian publishing markets.

                                                • Coelho, Luciano Moraes. Economia e tributos em tempos coloniais. Joinville, Brazil: Editora Univille, 2009.

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                                                  Analyzes the organization of the Brazilian colonial fiscal system, highlighting the ways in which the economic and human resources of the colony and its economy were regarded by the Portuguese state as a constant source of revenue. In this book, the author also compares the Brazilian fiscal system during Portuguese colonial rule with Brazil’s modern fiscal organization, emphasizing the continuities and communalities between the two.

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                                                  • Cohen, Zelinda. “Subsídios para a historia geral de Cabo Verde: Os contratos de arrendamento para a cobrança das rendas e direitos reiais das ilhas de Cabo Verde (1501–1560).” Studia 53 (1994): 317–364.

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                                                    Examines in detail the process of tax farming adopted by the early modern Portuguese state to collect taxes and other royal duties overseas. Although this is a case study on the Cape Verdean islands, broader conclusions can be drawn for the Portuguese Empire as whole, as the practices described here apply to other colonial settings.

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                                                    • Godoy, Arnaldo Sampaio de Moraes. História da tributação no período joanino: Brasil, 1808–1821. Brasília, Brazil: Escola de Administração Fazendária, 2008.

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                                                      Discusses at length the history of taxation in Brazil during the presence of the Portuguese Court in Rio de Janeiro in the early 19th century. The author examines the structure of the Portuguese fiscal system implemented at the time in Brazil and the roots, during this period, of the genesis of the Brazilian modern fiscal system.

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                                                      • Mauro, Fréderic. “Le rôlé económique de la fiscalité dans le Brésil colonial (1500–1800).” Caravelle 5 (1965): 93–102.

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                                                        Mauro analyzes the impact of the fiscal impositions by the Portuguese Crown on Brazilian dyewood, sugar, and gold trades and their economic consequences.

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                                                        • Ribeiro da Silva, Filipa. “Transferring European Fiscal System Overseas: A Comparison between the Portuguese Home and Colonial Fiscal Systems.” In Fiscal Systems in the European Economy from the 13th to the 18th Centuries. Vol. 1. Edited by Simonetta Cavaciocchi, 545–567. Florence: Firenze University Press, 2008.

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                                                          Using the western coast of Africa as a case study, the author compares the structure of the Portuguese home and colonial fiscal institutions at a central and local level, examines the supervising role of central fiscal and financial institutions based in Portugal over the imperial fiscal apparatus, and looks into the forms of taxation and processes of tax collection and staff salaries both at home and overseas.

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                                                          • Silva, António Correia e. “A tributação nos primórdios da história de Cabo Verde (1460–1516).” In História Geral de Cabo Verde. Vol. 1. Edited by Luís de Albuquerque and Maria Emília Madeira Santos, 347–369. Lisbon, Portugal: Centro de Estudos de História e Cartografia Antiga, 1991.

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                                                            The author examines in detail the establishment of the fiscal system in the Archipelago of Cape Verde by the Portuguese Crown in the second half of the 15th century and beginning of the 16th century. He also offers detailed information on the fiscal organization in the islands and various taxes collected, and discusses some of the failings of the Portuguese Crown in effective taxation and avoiding smuggling.

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                                                            • Silva, Vera Alice Cardoso. “Lei e ordem nas Minas Gerais: Formas de adaptação e de transgressão na esfera fiscal, 1700–1733.” Varia Historia 24.40 (2008): 675–688.

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                                                              Analyzes the strategies of Brazilian inhabitants for the province of Minas Gerais to circumvent fiscal policies the Portuguese Crown tried to implement in the region during the 18th century. The article also provides details on the type of taxes and the overall fiscal structure in the province of Minas Gerais and the colony of Brazil.

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                                                              • White, Robert Allan. “Fiscal Policy and Royal Sovereignty in Minas Gerais: The Capitation Tax of 1735.” The Americas 34.2 (1977): 207–229.

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                                                                Provides a detailed analysis of the measures taken by the Portuguese Crown to implement a capitation tax in 18th-century colonial Brazil and explores the difficulties encountered by the state and its officials in this process. Although the author’s case study is Brazil and the fifths tax, his conclusions are valid for the imposition and collection of taxes in the overall empire.

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                                                                British Atlantic

                                                                In the Anglophone historiography, as in the Spanish and Portuguese cases, fiscal colonial history has remained mainly a topic of interest for economic historians, staying often outside the scope of studies on the British Atlantic. The first important contributions to the subject were made by scholars working in the classical frame of imperial and colonial history (Barrow 1967). Researchers focusing on the rise of the British fiscal state and its connections with the process of empire building have also had key input in our knowledge of this topic. In particular, the works of Patrick O’Brien exploring the links between fiscal and financial organization in Britain and their contributions and implications for the development of the British overseas empire are essential to understanding fiscality in the British Atlantic (O’Brien 1988, O’Brien 1998, O’Brien 2005). Relevant information on the British fiscal system in the Atlantic has also been provided by researchers examining commercial flows and mercantile policies over the past few decades (Price 1954, McCusker and Menard 1985). In recent years, the role played by taxes in the early modern British Atlantic world has received greater attention from scholars in the field, and important progress has been made with the publication of new studies shedding some light on the organization, practices, and outcomes of the British fiscal system in the Atlantic as well as its continuities and changes over time (Rabushka 2008).

                                                                • Barrow, Thomas C. Trade and Empire: The British Customs Service in Colonial America, 1660–1775. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1967.

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                                                                  Provides a systematic description of the British colonial fiscal system in the Americas, which was used to control trade and navigation and to enforce the policies outlined by the Navigation Acts. The author also discusses the inefficiencies of the fiscal system and its enforcement strategies and addresses the strong resistance of settlers, colonists, and merchants based in the British American colonies to the entire system.

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                                                                  • McCusker, John J., and Russell R. Menard. The Economy of British America, 1607–1789. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1985.

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                                                                    In this volume, the authors explore some neglected aspects of the study of the British Atlantic. Taxation on trade and its use as a source of revenue for public building construction and other state-sponsored initiatives are among the topics addressed.

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                                                                    • O’Brien, Patrick K. “The Political Economy of British Taxation, 1660–1815.” Economic History Review n.s. 41.1 (1988): 1–32.

                                                                      DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0289.1988.tb00453.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                      Provides an insightful reflection on the fiscal policies of the British state to find new sources of tax revenue and expand its tax income basis in order to support the mounting costs associated with the naval conflicts in the Atlantic and the expanding state-sponsored Atlantic enterprise. Available online by subscription.

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                                                                      • O’Brien, Patrick K. “Inseparable Connections: Trade, Economy, Fiscal State, and the Expansion of Empire, 1688–1815.” In The Oxford History of the British Empire. Vol. 2, The Eighteenth Century. Edited by P. J. Marshall, 53–77. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998.

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                                                                        Explores the links between commercial and economic growth, the rise of the fiscal state in Britain, and the expansion of the British Empire between the late 16th and early 19th centuries. Here, the author looks at British domestic resources and examines their role in the acquisition of territory overseas and the launching of commercial enterprises in the British Atlantic world.

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                                                                        • O’Brien, Patrick K. Fiscal and Financial Preconditions for the Rise of British Naval Hegemony, 1485–1815. Economic History Working Paper 91/05. London: Department of Economic History, London School of Economics and Political Science, 2005.

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                                                                          Discusses the medieval origin of the British fiscal state and its changes over time in terms of structure, types of direct and indirect taxes, and forms of tax collection. The author also explores some of the direct links between the fiscal and financial organization in Britain and the formation of the British maritime empire and its naval power.

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                                                                          • Price, Jacob M. “The Tobacco Trade and the Treasury, 1685–1733: British Mercantilism and Its Fiscal Aspects.” 2 vols. PhD diss., Harvard University, 1954.

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                                                                            Price explores the relationship between the tobacco trade and the duties and creation of fiscal revenue for the British state through mercantilist and fiscal policies. Thus, although focusing on commerce, this study offers relevant information to understand the fiscal system of the British Atlantic, forms of taxation imposed on trade, and the linkages between import/export taxes and state income.

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                                                                            • Rabushka, Alvin. Taxation in Colonial America: 1607–1775. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2008.

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                                                                              Offers a detailed study on the role of taxation in the founding, building, and expansion of British America from the foundation of the colonies to the eve of Independence. The book also discusses changes introduced in the taxation system and its practices over time, looking at the impact of periods of war and peace on colonial revenue and taxation policies and examining the attitudes of the colonial mother country and the colonists.

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                                                                              Dutch Atlantic

                                                                              For the Dutch Atlantic, little is known about fiscality. Although the financial and fiscal systems of the Dutch Republic during the Early Modern period have been studied at length by scholars such as Wantje Fritschy, Marjolein’t Hart, and others, few studies focus on the Dutch posts and settlements in the Atlantic. Information on the structure of the Dutch overseas fiscal system, forms of tax collection, direct and indirect taxation, and fiscal staff’s functions and practices can be found only in book chapters or sections such as Ribeiro da Silva 2011, in essays published in edited collections such as de Vries 2001 and de Vries 2005, or scattered in books on the Dutch presence and influence in specific Atlantic regions; Ratelband 2000 on western Africa is a case in point.

                                                                              • de Vries, Jan. “The Netherlands in the New World: The Legacy of European Fiscal, Monetary, and Trading Institutions for New World Development from the Seventeenth to the Nineteenth Centuries.” In Transferring Wealth and Power from the Old to the New World: Monetary and Fiscal Institutions in the 17th through the 19th Centuries. Edited by Michael D. Bordo and Roberto Cortés-Conde, 100–139. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2001.

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                                                                                In addition to analyzing the role of the Dutch Republic in the development of new property rights and fiscal practices that simulated economic growth, de Vries also examines Dutch colonial commercial, fiscal, and financial institutions and their impact on the colonial economy.

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                                                                                • de Vries, Jan. “The Dutch Atlantic Economies.” In The Atlantic Economy during the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries: Organization, Operation, Practice, and Personnel. Edited by Peter A. Coclanis, 1–29. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2005.

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                                                                                  Identifies the four main phases of the Dutch Atlantic economy and examines in some detail its changes throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. In this analysis, the author provides some information on the taxes imposed by the first and second West India Company in their Atlantic posts and settlements and the overall organization of taxation.

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                                                                                  • Ratelband, Klaas. Nederlanders in West-Afrika (1600–1650): Angola, Kongo en São Tomé. Edited by René Baesjou. Zutphen, The Netherlands: Walburg Pers, 2000.

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                                                                                    Provides useful information on fiscal organization and taxation on the part of the Admiralty of Amsterdam and the first Dutch West India Company in its various posts and settlements on the western coast of Africa, on the island of São Tomé, and in Brazil. Details are, however, presented in a disperse way throughout the book, requiring time on the part of the reader to gather this type of data.

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                                                                                    • Ribeiro da Silva, Filipa. “Building Institutions.” In Dutch and Portuguese in Western Africa. Empires, Merchants and the Atlantic System, 1580–1674. By Filipa Ribeiro da Silva, 23–96. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2011.

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                                                                                      See especially the section on “Commercial and Fiscal Institutions” (pp. 69–96). Provides an analysis of the fiscal organization implemented first by the Admiralty of Amsterdam and later by the first Dutch West India Company on the western coast of Africa. The author also examines the functions of the fiscal staff, the type of taxes collected, and some of the limitations of the enforcement mechanisms.

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                                                                                      French Atlantic

                                                                                      As with the case of the Dutch Atlantic, fiscality appears to have been a topic of minor interest for scholars focusing on the study of the French Atlantic world. There is no survey of the French colonial fiscal system in the Atlantic. Many works available on the formation of the French Atlantic cluster, however, do contain important references to the structure of the fiscal system, forms of tax collection, types of taxes collected, and various fiscal practices, including tax evasion (Pritchard 2004, Riley 1986). Researchers interested in studying these topics more comprehensively should consult the literature on French trade in the Atlantic world (Price 1973, Clark 1981, Ferrer 2002, Vigié and Vigié 1989, Brière 1982) as well as on the commercial disputes between France, Britain, and the Dutch Republic (Nye 2007).

                                                                                      • Brière, Jean-François. “L’état et le commerce de la morue de Terre-Neuve en France au XVIIIe siècle.” Revue d’histoire de l’Amérique française 36.3 (1982): 323–338.

                                                                                        DOI: 10.7202/304066arSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                        Brière analyzes an important economic sector of the 18th-century French Atlantic economy (i.e., the Newfoundland fisheries) and explores the impact of changes in the French fiscal system on the fishing fleets in the context of the English–French disputes regarding the Newfoundland fishing grounds.

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                                                                                        • Clark, John G. La Rochelle and the Atlantic Economy during the Eighteenth Century. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981.

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                                                                                          Offers information on the types of taxes imposed on products exchanged in the Atlantic, forms of taxation, tax farming, and tax collection in the city of La Rochelle. Like many of the studies cited earlier, for the study of fiscality in the French Atlantic, details on fiscal organization and practices are scattered throughout the book, demanding a careful reading by readers searching for this type of data.

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                                                                                          • Ferrer, André. Tabac, sel, indiennes: Douane et contrebande en Franche-Comté au XVIIIe siècle. Besançon, France: Presses Universitaires Franc-Comtoises, 2002.

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                                                                                            Although this book is mainly dedicated to fiscality and contraband in the northeastern provinces of France, it does offer useful information on the taxation of several colonial products produced in the French Atlantic and also gives readers a glimpse of the complex fiscal structure of the France Customs Office at a central and local level.

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                                                                                            • Nye, John V. C. War, Wine, and Taxes: The Political Economy of Anglo-French Trade, 1689–1900. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2007.

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                                                                                              Analyzes the fiscal policies of Britain and France concerning the wine trade in the Atlantic. The author challenges the myths of British free trade and French protectionism, and discusses the impact of British and French taxation policies on fiscal income. Although colonial trade is not the main concern here, this study offers useful insights into the fiscal and commercial policies of Britain and France within their Atlantic clusters.

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                                                                                              • Price, Jacob M. France and the Chesapeake: A History of the French Tobacco Monopoly, 1674–1791, and of Its Relationship to the British and American Tobacco Trades. 2 vols. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1973.

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                                                                                                Provides information on the different types of taxes collected in the Chesapeake, paying special attention to indirect taxation on foreign trade and its implications for the tobacco trade. Although the tobacco trade is the main focus of this study, many of the remarks made by Price on taxation could be applied to other products circulating within the French and British Atlantic.

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                                                                                                • Pritchard, James S. In Search of Empire: The French in the Americas, 1670–1730. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511808555Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                  Provides useful information on the French fiscal system in the American colonies as well as type of taxes, forms of collection, and fiscal practices; however, there is no chapter dedicated specifically to French fiscal institutions overseas. Relevant information is dispersed throughout the book.

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                                                                                                  • Riley, James C. The Seven Years War and the Old Regime in France: The Economic and Financial Toll. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1986.

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                                                                                                    In this book, Riley’s main aim is to examine the long- and short-term economic consequence of the Seven Years’ War for the economy of the 18th century. The author pays special attention to, among other topics, financial and fiscal matters. Here, readers can find important information on the 18th-century French fiscal system and its implications for the French continental and Atlantic economies.

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                                                                                                    • Vigié, Marc, and Muriel Vigié. L’herbe à Nicot: Amateurs de tabac, fermiers généraux et contrebandiers sours l’ancien regime. Paris: Fayard, 1989.

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                                                                                                      In this book, the authors examine the impact of the introduction of tobacco in French ancien régime society, in particular during the 17th and 18th centuries. Of special interest for the study of fiscality is their analysis of the French tobacco monopoly, taxation and fiscal revenues, as well as the disputes and forms of resistance that emerged in 18th-century France against the tobacco tax.

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                                                                                                      Slavery

                                                                                                      Slavery is certainly one of the most researched and studied topics in the field of Atlantic history. Although much attention has been given to the transatlantic slave trade, its internal circulation, and the redistribution circuits of the slave trade in the Spanish Americas, the Caribbean, Brazil, and North America, and related smuggling practices on the part of the merchants, little is known about the fiscal control imposed by the European colonial sea powers on the slave trade and on slavery itself. In recent decades, however, several scholars have made important contributions to better our understanding of how the slave trade and slavery were targeted by several European and colonial fiscal institutions during the Early Modern period in both North and Latin America. Among these scholarly works are Miller 1988, Consentino 2006, and Fernandes 2005, which focus mainly on forms of taxation on the 18th-century Luso-Brazilian slave trade and slavery. Crespi 2000, Donoso Anes 2001, Navarrete Peláez 2007, and Vidal Ortéga 2005, by contrast, are important contributions to our understanding of the royal fiscal system of Spanish America and its attempts at controlling slave imports and internal trade in the various colonies. For North America, the most visible contribution on the topic of fiscality and slavery is certainly Einborn 2006.

                                                                                                      • Consentino, Daniel do Val. “A tributação sobre a escravidão na provincia de Minas Gerais.” In Anais do XII Seminário sobre a Economia Mineira. Edited by João António de Paula. Belo Horizonte, Brazil: Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, 2006.

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                                                                                                        Studies the taxation of slavery in the province of Minas Gerais (Brazil) during the second half of the 19th century. The author starts by looking into the types of taxes imposed on the slave trade and the ownership of slaves. This is followed by a detailed analysis of the parliamentary debates of the provincial assembly of Minas Gerais concerning changes to the taxation of the slave trade and slavery.

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                                                                                                        • Crespi, Liliana N. “Contrabando de esclavos en el puerto de Buenos Aires durante el siglo XVII: Complicidad de los funcionarios reales.” Desmemoria: Revista de Historia 26 (2000): 115–133.

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                                                                                                          This article looks at the contraband of slaves in the port of Buenos Aires during the 17th century, paying special attention to the complicity of officials of the Spanish Crown in the city during the entire process. The author provides helpful information on the organization of administrative control over this trade and on the means used by merchants and officials to engage in smuggling.

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                                                                                                          • Donoso Anes, Rafael. “Algunos aspectos relacionados con el control administrativo y contable de la renta de los esclavos enviados a Hispanoamérica (hasta el final del periodo de las licencias en 1595).” Revista española de financiación y contabilidad 110 (2001): 1093–1136.

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                                                                                                            Donoso Anes analyzes the control exerted by the Spanish Crown on the export of slaves to Spanish America during the period prior to 1595 dominated by the system of commercial licenses. The author looks at several elements of the royal administration, the fiscal system, and Treasury accounting, of special interest to understanding the forms of control and taxation of the transatlantic slave trade.

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                                                                                                            • Einborn, Robin L. American Taxation, American Slavery. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006.

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                                                                                                              The book looks at the role of slavery in the disputes concerning taxation policies in the United States. The author pays special attention to the behavior and political stand of slave-holders and non-slave-holders in matters such as the imposition of new taxes, jurisdiction to tax, and weight of tax burdens in different regions of North America.

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                                                                                                              • Fernandes, Guilherme Vilela. “Tributação e escravidão: O imposto da meia siza sobre o comércio de escravos na província de São Paulo (1809–1850).” Almanack Braziliense 2 (2005): 102–113.

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                                                                                                                Studies the efforts of the Portuguese colonial government in Brazil to establish the meia siza tax on the internal slave trade in the province of São Paulo, Brazil, between 1809 and 1850. The author pays special attention to changes introduced in the general legislation of the province and the political debates concerning this matter, especially in the period following the abolition of the slave trade in the South Atlantic (1831).

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                                                                                                                • Miller, Joseph C. Way of Death: Merchant Capitalism and the Angolan Slave Trade, 1730–1830. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1988.

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                                                                                                                  In this extensive work on the Portuguese and Brazilian Southern Atlantic slave trade, Miller provides useful information on the fiscal nature of commercial transactions in 18th-century Angola and Brazil.

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                                                                                                                  • Navarrete Peláez, Cristina María. “De las ‘malas entradas’ y las estrategias del ‘buen pasaje’: El contraband de esclavos en el Caribe neogranadino, 1550–1690.” Historia Critica 34 (2007): 160–183.

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                                                                                                                    The author examines the strategies adopted by merchants to evade taxation on slave imports into the Spanish Caribbean. Although the main focus of the article is smuggling practices, it offers useful insights into the attempts of the Spanish colonial authorities to oversee and tax these activities.

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                                                                                                                    • Vidal Ortéga, António. “La otra cara del comercio: Sobre mecanismos comerciales en la Cartagena de la primera mitad del siglo XVII.” Signos Históricos 14 (2005): 108–138.

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                                                                                                                      Although the main focus of this article is the strategies adopted by merchants operating in Cartagena to avoid the payment of taxes to the Spanish authorities controlling entrances in the port, with the slave trade being one of the most important components of this commerce, this article also offers useful information about the administrative and fiscal procedures in 17th-century Cartagena.

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                                                                                                                      Atlantic Revolutions

                                                                                                                      Fiscal reforms leading to the imposition of heavier tax burdens on tax payers as well as improvements on forms of collection and mechanisms of enforcement of the fiscal regime were a common feature throughout the Early Modern period given the growing need of European states to increase tax revenue. In the 18th century, many of the fiscal reforms implemented by the Enlightenment European states, in fact, led the way to several revolutionary movements across the Atlantic. Becker 1980 and Morgan and Morgan 1953, among other works, carefully examine the role of taxation in the American Revolution. Fiscal reforms were also at the heart of liberal revolutions in the Caribbean and Latin America. While Frostin 1975 looks mainly at the impact of French reforms on the former French colony of Haiti, Phelan 2011, Delgado Ribas 2010, and Pérez Herreo 2010 analyze the 18th-century Spanish fiscal reforms and their role in the liberal revolutions in Spanish America. Cohen 2010 and Aidar 2011, by contrast, offer important insights into the impact of the North American and French Revolutions on the fiscal reforms put forward by the Portuguese Crown in 18th-century Brazil.

                                                                                                                      • Aidar, Bruno. “Uma substituição luminosa: Tributação e reforma do Antigo Regime Português em d. Rodrigo de Souza Coutinho ao final do século XVIII.” Nova Economia 21.1 (2011): 137–156.

                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1590/S0103-63512011000100005Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                        By examining the political and fiscal thought of a prominent 18th-century Portuguese statesman, the author analyzes the influence of the new ideas on taxation emerging at the time in northwestern Europe and the impact of the first European and American Revolutions in the fiscal reforms implemented in Portugal and its empire by the end of the ancién regime.

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                                                                                                                        • Becker, Robert A. Revolution, Reform, and the Politics of American Taxation: 1763–1783. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1980.

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                                                                                                                          Assesses the role played by the British taxation system and policies on the definition of internal taxation in the United States during the post-Revolution period by comparing in detail the fiscal policies and practices of colonial and postcolonial assemblies as well as changes in fiscal practices and procedures.

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                                                                                                                          • Cohen, Sarah Amarante de Mendonça. “Tributação e consentimento nas Minas Setecentistas: Análise de manuscritos os do Códice Costa Matoso.” In Anais do XIX Encontro Nacional do CONPEDI, 5994–6000. Fortaleza, Brazil: Conselho Nacional de Pesquisa e Pós-Graduação em Direito, 2010.

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                                                                                                                            Examines the introduction of new taxes to, and the reforms implemented on, the fiscal system of Minas Gerais (Brazil) c. 1750 and discusses the reactions and dominant discourse of the major taxpayers in the region—the mineiros (i.e., holders of mining licenses). This study might be of interest to those aiming to compare different forms of tax resistance on the American continent in the Age of Revolutions.

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                                                                                                                            • Delgado Ribas, Josep M. “Construir el estado, destruir la nación: Las reformas fiscales de los primeros borbones el colapso del sistema de equilibrios en el imperio español (1714–1796).” Illes i Imperis 13.1 (2010): 51–73.

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                                                                                                                              The author analyzes the implication of the fiscal reforms implemented by the Spanish Bourbon monarchs during the 18th century for the rise of economic unbalance and political instability in the Spanish Empire, leading to the liberal revolutions and independence movements in the Spanish Central and South American colonies, as well as to unrest in the Spanish home political and fiscal system.

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                                                                                                                              • Frostin, Charles. Les révoltes blanches à Saint-Domingue aux XVIIe et XVIIIe siècle: Haïti avant 1789. Paris: L’École, 1975.

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                                                                                                                                Focuses mainly on the resistance of the Saint-Domingue population of European origin against the policies adopted by the French metropolitan government for the colony. An important section of this study is dedicated to the impact of the French and North American Revolutions on the commercial links of Saint Domingue with the broad Atlantic and on the growing social and economic unrest, leading later on to the revolutions in Haiti.

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                                                                                                                                • Morgan, Edmund S., and Helen M. Morgan. The Stamp Act Crisis: Prologue to Revolution. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1953.

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                                                                                                                                  One of the first classical works on the American Revolution and its straight links to taxation. Here, the authors analyze both the British ideology behind the establishment and imposition of the Stamp Act (i.e., the first direct tax in the British Empire) as well as the main reasons and arguments used by the colonists to contest and resist the implementation of this new tax.

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                                                                                                                                  • Pérez Herrero, Pedro. “El tratamiento de la fiscalidad en las constituciones del mundo atlántico (1787–1830).” In El liberalismo, la creación de la ciudadanía y los estados nacionales occidentales en el espacio atlántico (1787–1880). Edited by Pedro Pérez Herrero and Immaculada Simón Ruiz, 163–258. Bucaramanga, Colombia: Universidad Industrial de Santander, 2010.

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                                                                                                                                    Examines the ways in which fiscality is addressed in the constitutions of the newly formed nation-states in the Americas through a comparative analysis of the constitutional texts of Bolivia, Mexico, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Chile, Colombia, and Venezuela. The author also establishes comparisons with the French, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese liberal constitutional texts, as well as with the Brazilian and North American constitutional codes.

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                                                                                                                                    • Phelan, John L. The People and the King: The Comunero Revolution in Columbia, 1781. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2011.

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                                                                                                                                      Using the Comunero Revolution in Columbia in 1781 as a case study, Phelan describes in detail the political, fiscal, and economic reforms of the Spanish monarch Charles III for the Spanish American colonies and debates the role played by these measures in the uprisings that occurred in the Spanish Empire at the end of the 18th century. Originally published in 1978.

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