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European Jewry in the Age of Mercantilism, 1550-1750$
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Jonathan I. Israel

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9781874774426

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781874774426.001.0001

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Consolidation (1600–1620)

Consolidation (1600–1620)

(p.44) III Consolidation (1600–1620)
European Jewry in the Age of Mercantilism, 1550-1750

Jonathan Israel

Liverpool University Press

This chapter investigates how mercantilism powerfully contributed to the fundamental shift in ideas about the Jews in the seventeenth century. By and large, the anti-Semitic strand in mercantilism was a minority stance. The senators who staffed the Venetian board of trade repeatedly reiterated, from the 1570s onwards, that they regarded the Jews as an indispensable prop of the Venetian economy. In 1619, the Spanish arbitrista Martín González de Cellorigo urged the Spanish crown to curb Inquisition persecution of Portuguese Marrano immigrants in Spain, arguing that this group should be tolerated and encouraged out of reasons of ‘razón de Estado’, to improve Spain's finances and trade. This changed intellectual and political climate made an immense difference. For European Jewry, the opening decades of the new century were a time of rapid and mostly successful consolidation. Where readmission had already been secured, in the previous period, there was now a further increase in Jewish population, notably in Prague, Frankfurt, Mantua, Venice, Amsterdam, Hamburg, and Livorno. This increasing stream of Jewish population and resources into western and central Europe flowed from three main external sources, though in Germany the major factor was internal migration.

Keywords:   mercantilism, Jews, Venetian board of trade, Venetian economy, Inquisition, Portuguese Marrano immigrants, European Jewry, Jewish population, migration, immigration

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