We inaugurate the blog and the category of “history” talking about the House of Trade, one of the places that visitors to the Real Alcazar of Seville know less. When we visit the monument, it is one of the places that initially do not attract much our attention at first sight. However, the House of Trade is an institution with an enormous importance for the city of Seville, but also interesting for the history of the world.
The House of Trade
The House of Trade was established by the Crown of Castile in 1503 in the Port of Seville as an organism of the crown for the Spanish Empire. The main objective of the House of Trade was the control and management of maritime transport and trade between the Spanish Empire and its colonies. It was located inside the Royal Alcazar, the Royal Palace of Seville.
You can visit part of the old building. The two spaces, preserved today, which retain an important part of the story are the Admiral Quarter and the Old Chapel. To this institution, where they passed characters like Christopher Columbus or Isabel The Catholic, came the gold and silver of America, making this city the heart of commerce in the 16th century.
Why did Seville acquire such importance?
First of all, we must talk about the Alejandrinas bulls, which gave the crown of Castile “all the islands and lands found and to find, discovered and to discover, that are or may be or appear to be in the route of navigation or travel to the west or south, either in the western part or in the southern and eastern and Indian regions. ” In other words, shortly after the discovery of America, these papal bulls granted to the Catholic monarchs, Isabel I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon, the right to conquer American territories and to spread the Catholic faith to the distant colonies of the empire Spanish. They were issued by Pope Alexander VI in 1493.
The Crown of Castile chose the Port of Seville as the headquarters of the trade with America for many reasons. But the main one was the Guadalquivir, a navigable river at the time. It allowed the boats to be more protected than a port on the coast, like Cadiz. In addition, the city had excellent interior communications with the rest of the cities of the kingdom. In this way, Sevilla became the port and gate of the Indies and the main financial centre of Europe. Many merchants and business men saw the opportunity for wealth in the city.
Functions of the House of Trade
The House of Trade collected all colonial taxes, approved all exploration and trade travel, kept secret information about trade routes and new discoveries, licensed captains and sailors and administered the law Commercial. A rate of 20% of all precious metals entering Sevilla, the fifth real (Quinto Real), was collected by the House of Trade. This commercial boom lasted up to 1717, when the House of Trade moved to Cadiz because the river did not allow navigation to the port of Seville for large-draught boats.
The realization of nautical charts and maps was a fundamental company for the success of the voyages of discovery. The House of Trade had a large number of cartographers and navigators, archivists, scribes and others involved in the production and administration of the Real Registry (Padrón Real), which was the official Spanish master map used as a template for the maps present in all Spanish ships during the 16th century. The Real Registry (Padrón Real) was constantly improved since its first version in 1507.
We want to remember the wonderful past of the city of Seville. We will tell incredible stories stored in the corners of this institution. You can know all this and much more in the visit to the Alcazar of Seville.