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Consulado de mercaderes

The Consulado de mercaderes was the merchant guild of Seville; the Consulado enjoyed virtual monopoly rights over goods shipped to America and handled much of the silver received in return.


Importance of The Consulado

In the mid-16th century, all American trade from Spain was funnled through the city of Seville, and later, the nearby port of Cádiz. The Casa de Contratación, which translated into English means the Board of Trade, registered ships and passengers, kept charts, collected taxes, and in general controlled the Indies trade. In order to survive and maintain an effictive business, the Board of Trade worked in conjunction with the merchant guild Consulado, who in turn controlled goods shipped to America and was paid vast amounts of silver in return for their cooperation.

Effects of the Consulado's control

Since they controlled most of the trade in the Indies colonies, and since the Consulado was linked to the branches in Mexico City and Lima, the Consulado was able to keep tight control over Spanish trade. Because of this, the Consulado was able to keep prices high in all of the colonies, and were able to play a hand in royal politics. The Consulado was able to effectively manipulate the government and people of both Spain and the Indies colonies, and grew richer and more powerful every day because of it.


  • In 1520, around 30 years before the Consulado Merchant Guild was founded, the total silver export of Spanish America was valued at around 500,000 Pesos, with the Royal Family getting 400,000 Pesos of the silver profit.[1]
  • In 1550, right when the Guild began, the total silver export was valued at around 1,000,000 pesos, with the Royal Family receiving 500,000 pesos of profit, while the rest went to the Consulado Guild and the Board of Trade.[1]
  • In 1596, the peak of silver production in Spanish America, the total silver export was valued at around 7,000,000 pesos, which the Royal Family only gained 1,550,000, the rest going to the Board and the Consulado.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Peter N. Stearns World Civilizations. (2000), p.293.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Consulado_de_mercaderes". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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