Scottish commercial contacts with the Iberian world, 1581-1730
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This thesis analyses the commercial relations between Scotland and the geo-political area known as the Iberian world in the early modern period. Despite being geographically one of the largest areas of Europe, as well as arguably the politically most weighty, there has, until this thesis, been no scholarly research on Scottish trade relations with this area. Though the archives suggest regular and sustained contact, very little is known about Scottish-Iberian connections beyond the overtly political. When compared to northern Europe the region of Iberia and its dominions differed significantly, not only due to a different branch of Christianity being practised there but also due to the influence of the Habsburg empire and the power it was perceived to give the Spanish Habsburgs. Looking predominantly at Scottish commercial contacts with Spain, the Spanish Netherlands and Portugal, this project considers a number of angles such as England’s impact on Scottish commercial relations with Iberia. For example, very little would be known about Scottish commercial relations with Iberia in the late-sixteenth century if it were not for the Anglo-Spanish war of that period. The central role of conflict in Scottish-Iberian relations continues into the seventeenth century, with the Cromwellian/Stuart struggles with the Dutch Republic and later disputes between the new state of Great Britain and Habsburg Spain all affecting trade. This thesis demonstrates the important role of triangular and entrepôt trade, which was popular with Scottish merchants who wished to obtain Iberian goods without the risks of sailing into North African corsair territory. Scots did not merely pick up Iberian goods from the entrepôt markets of London and the Dutch Republic they also organised trade to Iberia and its dominions via other Scots, providing evidence of a complex trade network. Further, this thesis has sought to ascertain that, despite the lack of a large Scottish community such as those seen in Poland-Lithuania and Scandinavia, Scottish commercial relations with Iberia were valuable both to the Scottish economy and its merchants. This thesis which continues the work of the Scotland and the Wider World Project, addresses a lack of scholarly work regarding Scottish commercial connections with this key geo-political area.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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