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The American Finances of the Spanish Empire

Royal Income and Expenditures in Mexico, Peru, and Bolivia, 1680-1809
By Herbert Klein

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Overview

This volume is the first to use treasury records to analyze and interpret the evolution of royal income and expenditure in Mexico, Peru, and Bolivia during the eighteenth century. These official statistics are invaluable for defining the economic evolution of Spanish America. Understanding the economic history of these key regions helps delineate long-term trends in everything from government revenues and expenditures to the growth and decline of regional economies.

The records Klein taps were the king's private source of information and his guarantee that his taxes were being collected and his accounts paid. From Klein's study emerge tentative answers to a series of questions basic to understanding the history of Spanish America: Were the colonists overtaxed? Was the seventeenth century an era of crisis and depression? Did Bourbon imperial policy lead to economic stagnation and hence create the seeds of independence? What were the respective costs and benefits of colonialism?

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