Liberty in absolutist Spain : the Habsburg sale of towns, 1516-1700 /
Helen Nader.
Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, c1990.
xvi, 305 p. : ill., maps. --
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Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, c1990.
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. 281-298).
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Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1991-01:
Nader's pioneering study explores a little-known facet of Spanish history: the Habsburg policy of placing municipal jurisdictions on the block, for sale either to private individuals or to the municipality's inhabitants themselves. Individuals bought towns to increase their wealth and social status; town-dwellers did it to break free of the entanglements, both legal and financial, imposed by their lords. Focusing on Castile, Nader (Indiana University) examines the sale of town jurisdictions from two contrasting points of view. On the one hand, she argues that autonomous towns were not necessarily utopias: in fact many towns went deep into debt to purchase their freedom, in effect exchanging one kind of taxation for another. On the other hand, she claims that the policy of selling town charters resulted in a "perpetual decentralization" of power that, almost paradoxically, served to strengthen absolutism in Castile. Intended primarily for specialists, the book's strengths are the clarity of the argument, that fluidity of the prose, and the wealth of original archival documentation provided. -R. L. Kagan, Johns Hopkins University
This item was reviewed in:
University Press Book News, December 1990
Choice, January 1991
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