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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Mexican Silver for the Cortes of Cadiz during the War against Napoleon, 1808-1811

  • Author(s): Marichal Salinas, Carlos
  • et al.

In this essay attention is focused on the persistence of colonial loyalties despite the profound crisis at the center of the Spanish monarchy as a result of the Napoleonic invasion of the Iberian peninsula. One clear indicator of colonial support can be found in the review of the numerous loans and donations collected in colonial Mexico for the purpose of assisting the patriot forces in Spain in their struggle against Napoleon. The financial contributions were considerable. Between late 1808 and early 1811, over 25 million pesos in tax monies, loans and donations were sent from New Spain to Cádiz, principal seat of patriot resistance in southern Spain.

The Spanish American financial contributions to the treasury of the Junta Central in Seville and Cadiz in 1809 and the Cadiz Parliament in the years 1810-1812 underscore the significance of fiscal and financial contributions of Mexico and the other colonies to the struggle against Napoleon during this period and demonstrate that without the silver sent, the patriot resistance in southern Spain would have probably lacked the financial resources to resist the prolonged French siege of Cadiz.

The paper was presented at the conference on The End of the Old Regime in the Iberian World sponsored by the Spanish Studies Program and the Portuguese Studies Program of UC Berkeley on February 8-9, 2008.

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