Long-term credit in the sixteenth centuryMaría del Pilar Martínez López-Cano
The economic history of the American viceroyalties has some classic studies. In the Hispanic region, the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) claims several studies published by its Instituto de Investigaciones Históricas (Institute of Historical Research). Now we are going to write out a fragment of the introduction of the book of María del Pilar Martínez López-Cano, a necessary reading for those who wish to begin studies in the field of colonial economic history.
The circumstances in which the colonial economy developed, with an almost chronic shortage of money, currency and means of payment, with an external trade balance that had to be adjusted with the export of metals or payment in currency, with a distribution and marketing practices of merchandises, obtaining and retaining labor and an accused centralism, exercised by the capital of the viceroyalty, favoured a disproportionate development of the lending activities. To this must be added a spiritual atmosphere that exalted the practice of mercy and charity, and favored legacies or donations to the Church and the foundation of many pious works, whose constitution often intervened credit mechanisms.