Academic journal article The Accounting Historians Journal

Book Reviews: Bastion of Commerce in the City of Kings: The Consulado De Commercio De Lima

Academic journal article The Accounting Historians Journal

Book Reviews: Bastion of Commerce in the City of Kings: The Consulado De Commercio De Lima

Article excerpt

This book is a history of the Consulado de Lima, the mercantile regulatory body for Spanish South America. It follows the course of events (1593-1877) for this institution and makes references to numerous Peruvian documents and other sources. The author states that very little has been written about this exceptionally powerful Crown institution that controlled trade from the City of Kings. For that reason, the book contains an English, German and Spanish version of the text.

The Spanish government had made use of the consulado several centuries before introducing it to Peru. In time, "the new consulado in Lima was to dominate the trade of the viceroyalty of Peru in much the same way as the Seville consulado dominated that between Spain and the colonies" [p. 6]. This was because it was given royal jurisdiction for all of Spanish South America. The author includes a discussion of the role that the consulado played in terms of the Council of the Indies and the Casa de Contratacion that preceded it.

In addition to the history of the Consulado de Lima, Melzer describes the basic operation of the institution as a court and as a major financial contributor to the Crown. He also gives general background information on the Spanish empire while narrating how the consulado responded to various economic and political pressures. The Crown needed the Lima Consulado's judicial power and the taxes it collected for them. It was the tax collecting function that gave the consulado its major source of power during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. …

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