82. Letter from Simão Rodrigues de Évora to Simón and Cosme Ruiz in Valladolid

Archivo Simón Ruiz
ASR, CC, C 155, 225
SENDER: Simão Rodrigues de Évora
ADDRESSEE: Simón Ruiz; Cosme Ruiz
PLACE OF DEPARTURE: Antwerp
PLACE OF ARRIVAL: Valladolid
GENERAL INFORMATION: Manuscript on paper/bifolio. 12 and 13 December 1592.

The Rodrigues de Évora were a powerful family of New Christians of Portuguese origin established in Lisbon and Antwerp, related to the Ximenes, another family of Judeo-Sephardic descent located in Flanders. Simão Rodrigues de Évora operated in Antwerp, in the business of spice, sugar, pearls and precious stones and, from 1590 onwards, he entered the ‘asiento’ business with the crown. This letter provides relevant information, both from a financial and socio-political point of view, which is a frequent feature of the collection of letters in this archive. It bears news of the recent and unexpected death of the Duke of Parma, Alessandro Farnese, and the instability and confusion that ensued in the Antwerp financial markets, where the flows of capital and investment had slowed down almost to a halt. The political uncertainty that followed the duke’s death also affected the honouring of an asiento worth 400,000 ducats, a hefty sum of money that had been negotiated for Besançon and was now up in the air. The letter also sends information about exchange rates and currency values for operations with other markets such as Medina del Campo, Seville, Besançon and Lisbon.

(Fernando Ramos González)