Genoa's freedom: entrepreneurship, republicanism, and the Spanish Atlantic

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This book investigates the economic, intellectual and political history of late medieval and early modern Genoa and the historical origins of the Genoese presence in the Spanish Atlantic. Salonia describes Genoa’s late medieval economic expansion and commercial networks through several case studies, from the Black Sea to southern England, and briefly compares it to the state-run military expansion of Venice’s empire. The author links the adaptability and entrepreneurial skills of Genoese merchants and businessmen to the constitutional history of the Genoese commune and to the specific idea of freedom progressively protected by its constitutions and embodied by institutions like the Bank of St. George. Moreover, this book offers an unprecedented account of the actions with which Ferdinand the Catholic protected Genoese merchants in his dominions and of the later, mutual understanding between the Genoese community and emperor Charles V during the Italian Wars, and in particular during the 1520s. These developments in Hispanic-Genoese diplomatic and economic relations are of great significance. The sixteenth-century Hispanic-Genoese alliance is important to understand the characteristics of Habsburg governance and the resilience of Genoa’s republican conservatism. Genoa’s republicanism (based on private wealth and private arms) contradicts historiographical narratives that assume the inevitability of the emergence of the modern, militarized and centralized state. It also shows the inadequacy of Tuscan-centric historical accounts of Renaissance republicanism. The last chapter of the book reveals the consequences of the 1528 Hispanic-Genoese alliance by considering case studies that illustrate the Genoese presence in the Spanish Americas, from Chile to Mexico, since the early stages of conquest and settlement.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLanham
PublisherLexington Books
Number of pages214
ISBN (Electronic)9781498534222
ISBN (Print)9781498534215
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Publication series

NameEmpires and entanglements in the early modern world


  • History
  • Spanish Atlantic
  • Genoa


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