This introductory chapter discusses the monetary developments in sixteenth-century Europe. In particular, it presents several factors that caused these developments such as the expansion of global and internal commerce following the voyages of discovery; the influx of precious metal from central European, South American, and Japanese mines; as well as the exponentially increasing fiscal demands of warfare in the age of the military revolution. In relation to this background, the book focuses on France's monetary economy from the mid-sixteenth through the early seventeenth century during which the France was still Europe's largest and most powerful state. While the French case is not entirely typical, it generated many ideas and institutions crucial to the unfolding European system.
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