Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)




Lu Ann Homza

Committee Member

Simon Middleton

Committee Member

Fabrício Prado


Macao, Manila, and the Spanish Empire Manila, the capital of the Spanish Philippines, had the potential to become a successful entrepot in Southeast Asia. However, despite facilitating the flow of Chinese silk into New Spain and delivering New World silver to Asian markets, Manila’s economy declined during the seventeenth century. This paper analyzes the role that illegal trade with Macao in Manila's economic stability. The methodology in the paper analyzes letters and petitions written by governors, attorneys, and noble Spanish men in Manila, who were concerned with the illicit trade practices between locals in Manila and Portuguese merchants from Macao. These sources are from the Archivo General de Indias in Seville, Spain: accessed from the Spanish archive online portal system. This paper compares the information from the primary source material with current historiography to identify the political and commercial trends that affected Manila and other colonies in the Spanish empire. The research in this paper demonstrates possible political and commercial dissent between empires and their colonies. Litigious Women Religious Convent litigation illustrates the entangled interests between sacred and secular spaces and portrays one of the ways professed women exercised individual agency. Spain was a litigious society during the Early Modern Era, and women used litigation to navigate legal and cultural customs that limited their financial autonomy. The research from this paper illustrates that despite the mandate for complete claustration ordered by the Council of Trent, professed women remained connected to secular society through patronage, family ties, and litigation. Nuns retained aspects of their familial identity to litigate and build cases that established their legitimacy to property rights. The entangled details of dowries, renuncias, and alimentos conflated the separation of secular and religious identities and facilitated opportunities for litigation. This paper analyzes legal documents and petitions related to convent litigation from the Archivo Historico Nacional in Madrid and Archivo de la Corona de Aragón. The documents include cases from different regions across the Spanish peninsula during the seventeenth century and encompass a variety of concerns, including convent maintenance, inheritance rights, and financial administrative rights.



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