About the project
The Swedish Research Council
1 Jan 2018–31 Dec 2020
More about the project
Harming the enemy's economy has been a common tactic used by societies since ancient times until present.
During the 16th and 17th centuries, in the context of geopolitical competition, expanding global trade, and the rise of fiscal-military states, economic warfare measures began to be systematically used. A major strategy was the general reprisal, a coordinated action including embargoes, blockades, and retaliation against rulers who had violated international agreements and treaties, as a non-violent form of material restitution, revenge, or diplomatic pressure. Recognized as an undoubted factor of history change, economic warfare strategies are currently poorly understood and have mainly been studied from the European angle. Taking a post-colonial perspective, this project will study the American dimension of general reprisals. We will analyze six general reprisals that we have discovered were carried out in New Spain during their critical formation phase in the 17th century. The project will assess the political significance of the American provinces in Spain's global economic warfare strategy and estimate the economic and social impact of this weapon in local and transatlantic societies. We hypothesize reprisals were a larger, international, policy of economic warfare, where the Americas played a crucial role not as an aggregated satellite of Spain, but as an indispensable element for the strategic success of these measures at a local and global scale.