Global Trade, Circulation and Consumption of Asian Goods in the Atlantic World: The Manila galleons and the social elites of Mexico and Seville (1580-1640)
Title: Global Trade, Circulation and Consumption of Asian Goods in the Atlantic World: The Manila galleons and the social elites of Mexico and Seville (1580-1640)
Author: GASCH TOMÁS, José Luis
Citation: Florence : European University Institute, 2012
Series/Number: EUI PhD theses; Department of History and Civilization
In the last three decades, many historians have analysed the development of new consumption patterns and changes in demand during the early modern period. The development of global trade during the early modern era has led to great interest in the historiography in trade and the consumption of long-distance products, such as American groceries, as well as Asian manufactured goods and groceries in the Atlantic world, particularly Europe. Given the significance that such processes had on trade and demand during the economic and social transition from the early modern to the modern eras, most these studies have focused on eighteenth-century Europe. However, few studies on the trade and consumption of import products in Europe and the Atlantic world have focused on the processes of market formation and commoditisation of such products. Market formation and the commoditisation of import products in Europe and the Atlantic world should not be taken for granted in history, since these processes were long in duration and complex in their development and geographical configuration. In fact, commoditisation of import products during the early modern epoch, besides not being always successful, was associated with colonial and commercial processes that in many cases took place in spaces and periods other than in eighteenth-century Europe. This thesis addresses a piece of this story. This dissertation focuses on the trade, circulation and consumption of Asian manufactured goods, such as Chinese silks and porcelains, in the Hispanic empire from about 1580 to 1640. This addresses the trade and the not-always commercial circulation of Asian manufactured goods in the Hispanic world by placing the Pacific Ocean and the Americas in the very centre of the analysis. Furthermore, the dissertation studies the consumption of these products by the elites of two different continental areas of the Hispanic empire, one American - New Spain - and another European - Castile. By raising the significance of the trans-Pacific axis of exchange of exchange of silk for silver, and of the Americas as principal centres of consumption of Asian goods to Castile by the end of the sixteenth century and the early seventeenth century, this thesis aims to demonstrate that the demand expansion for, commoditisation, and market shaping of Asian goods in the Atlantic world was a complex process, one in which not only the Cape route and the Indian Ocean but also the trans-Pacific trade and the American elites played inescapable roles.
Defence date: 29 October 2012; Examining Board: Professor Bartolomé Yun-Casalilla (EUI) – Supervisor; Professor Luca Molà (EUI); Professor Harold James (Princeton University); Professor Jan de Vries (University of California at Berkeley).
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