The fiscal crisis caused by Philip II's foreign policy during the 1580s forced the Spanish Crown to impose extraordinary taxes and to negotiate arrangements with different corporations in exchange for privileges in an attempt to reduce its expenses during the 1590s.
The king reached an agreement with Seville's Merchant Guild in 1591 by which the Spanish Crown would tighten the conditions for foreign merchants to trade in the Atlantic monopoly. The Merchant Guild accepted to collect the Averia tax and to give substantial donations. Historians have assumed these agreements, which set a precedent for the more restrictive royal order of 1596 and 1608, to have indeed been effective in restricting foreign migration and trade by legal channels in the Americas. Based on empirical data regarding Dutch, Flemish, and German migration to New Spain, this presentation shows the royal order's counterproductive effects as it actually promoted foreign mercantile migration along with drastic economic local changes in the American colonies. It will also address some economic and political aftereffects of Dutch/Flemish and German mercantile migration in the Spanish Atlantic trade system.