The Monetary Roots of Political Breakdown in Nineteenth-Century Spanish America

Alejandra Irigoin
2010 Historia Mexicana El Colegio de México  
After the Napoleonic invasion to Spain in 1808, the Empire's financialand monetary structure collapsed, and most colonies became independent. Regional rivalry over tax revenues, aggravated by military expenses and treasury deficits, led elites in regions with royal mints to carry out all sorts of menatary experiments in order to obtain revenues. Local interests controlling the mints began to coin their own money, or to falsify colonial coins. Other regions, lacking silver, created unconvertible
more » ... eated unconvertible paper money in order to cover their deficits. The Spanish silver peso's consistent quality thus dissappeared, and with it the pattern that had organized colonial economy ever since the sixteenth century. Such coin diversity within a highly integrated economic space made the so-called Gresham Law hasten after 1810 the conflicts between local and colonial elites. This led, in turn, during the nineteenth century, to the Empire's political fragmentation into a growing number of inancially, monetaryli, and politically sovereign entities.
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