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Papers on currency: arbitrism and circulation of economic knowledge in Portugal in the 17th Century

Grant number: 21/14583-4
Support Opportunities:Regular Research Grants
Duration: May 01, 2022 - April 30, 2024
Field of knowledge:Humanities - History - Modern and Contemporary History
Principal Investigator:Pedro Luis Puntoni
Grantee:Pedro Luis Puntoni
Host Institution: Centro Brasileiro de Análise e Planejamento (CEBRAP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


In the 17th century, the monetary phenomenon was central to the understanding of economics. On the one hand, in the doctrinal and theoretical dimension, it was an essential part of the questions of the nascent political economy. Notably, in the Iberian world, where the flows of American metals demanded a position on their impact on mercantile and productive activities, and on their articulation with overseas trade and the management of colonial economies. On the other hand, one must understand the practical dimension of the monetary phenomenon, resulting from actions on the currency and attempts to manipulate its value, which guided the political projects and the interference processes in this same economic world. This Project seeks to investigate the doctrines and ideas about the monetary phenomenon, in formation in the 17th century, which travel through the intellectual spaces of the Peninsular and Overseas Ancien Regime, with a special focus on the Portuguese Empire. With the Restoration, in 1640, the Portuguese monarchy sought to consolidate a weakened monetary system and give the monetary regime conditions of stability. A monetary policy was designed, with greater vigor, in the 1680s, with the new regiment of the Mint (1686) and the last monetary changes (1688). This policy is also oriented towards Portuguese colonies and possessions overseas, resulting in a multiple, spatialized and flexible currency regime to meet the expected dynamics of the colonial system. In a first phase of this research, which has already been concluded, we seek to understand the formation of an autonomous and stable monetary system in Portugal and its empire, on the eve of the emergence of gold in the Brazilian hinterland. We investigate the impacts of changes in the Portuguese monetary system in Brazil, Angola and the State of India. One dimension of the research, which we intend to develop with this project, is to understand how monetary thinking in Portugal develops, impacted by Salamantine, English and French ideas, which inform and guide the agents of the monarchy, involved in the practices of devaluation of the currencies of silver and gold, from the expansion of the use of copper and fiduciary coins, in the second half of the 17th century. (AU)

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