An Empire of Networks

The Political Economy of the Habsburgs in the Caribbean (1492-1556)


  • Montserrat Cachero Universidad Pablo de Olavide
  • Paula Rodríguez-Modroño Universidad Pablo de Olavide



Privileges, 16th century, Empires, Latin America


This article presents an analysis of privileges as one of the instruments used for the colonization of the New World. Based on an original dataset comprising more than five hundred prerogatives granted by the Spanish Crown, this article applies network analysis to reconstruct and map the concession of privileges by the Habsburg monarchy during the first half of the 16th century. In a high uncertainty scenario, we depict privileges as a necessary cost assumed by the monarchy to solve the principal-agent problem by building up a structure to facilitate information flow, enabling the remote governance of overseas territories.

The Caribbean Coast




How to Cite

Cachero, M. and Rodríguez-Modroño, P. (2022) “An Empire of Networks: The Political Economy of the Habsburgs in the Caribbean (1492-1556)”, Journal of Historical Network Research. Luxembourg, 7(1), pp. 181–215. doi: 10.25517/jhnr.v7i1.115.