Abstract In the early modern period, timber was in great demand, and as such its conservation became a major concern of European monarchs. This article traces the history of the Royal Site of the Soto de Roma Crown forest in the Spanish floodplain of Granada, as regards the political evolution of the Spanish monarchy during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The Royal Site of the Soto de Roma, the only forest of the Royal Sites systematically used in the production of naval components, helped to support the imperial structure of the monarchy by providing the raw materials for the gun carriages mounted on the royal fleets. Apart from dealing with the dynamics of selecting and felling the trees, as well as transportation of the timber from the forest to the city of Malaga, this article also focuses on the importance of the timber from Soto de Roma in the daily lives of the inhabitants of Granada, whose needs clashed with those of the monarchy due to the complex nature of the interaction between royal interests and nature. Finally, it highlights the development and transformation of the landscape of Soto de Roma throughout the early modern period. TIMBER AND THE SPANISH EMPIRE The Soto de Roma forest, set deep in the floodplain of Granada, was flanked by the Cubillas and Genil Rivers (figure 1).1 It was a small part of the floodplain measuring, according to Sebastián de Miñano’s study, a league and a quarter in length by half a league in width.2 During the time of the Nasrid dynasty (1238–1492), Soto de Roma had been an open space for the people of Granada, a tradition broken by the Catholic monarchs who reserved it for themselves (1472–1514).3 However, during the reign of Charles V (1516–58), it was reserved for the king’s use as a hunting ground. In the mid-sixteenth century, its sale began to be considered, an issue that was aired again in the early years of Philip II’s reign (1557–98).4 During the 1560s and 1570s, however, the monarchy grasped the exceptional importance of Soto de Roma in regard to its global military strategy. In particular, the Soto de Roma contained black and white poplars, trees ideally suited to the construction of gun carriages and various ship components. Because these poplars were found in only a few places in Spain, the Royal Site of Soto de Roma among them, the Soto represented an important resource for the Spanish monarchy until the end of the eighteenth century. Figure 1. View largeDownload slide Official description of the Soto de Roma in the eighteenth century detailing geographic locations and the features of its landscape. It contains data on the tree species and lists them according to their condition. Source: España, Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte, Archivo General de Simancas, MPD 08/190. Figure 1. View largeDownload slide Official description of the Soto de Roma in the eighteenth century detailing geographic locations and the features of its landscape. It contains data on the tree species and lists them according to their condition. Source: España, Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte, Archivo General de Simancas, MPD 08/190. Figure 2. View largeDownload slide Map from the eighteenth century depicting the floodplain of Granada including the Soto de Roma and some cortijos belonging to the Duke of Sessa. Source: Archivo de la Corona de Aragon, Colecciones, Mapas y Planos, 386/2. Figure 2. View largeDownload slide Map from the eighteenth century depicting the floodplain of Granada including the Soto de Roma and some cortijos belonging to the Duke of Sessa. Source: Archivo de la Corona de Aragon, Colecciones, Mapas y Planos, 386/2. Figure 3. View largeDownload slide Map showing the location of Soto de Roma and the destination of its timber resources for the military struggle of the Spanish Monarchy. Source: Prepared by the authors, 2015. Figure 3. View largeDownload slide Map showing the location of Soto de Roma and the destination of its timber resources for the military struggle of the Spanish Monarchy. Source: Prepared by the authors, 2015. Trees long have been essential to the growth and evolution of societies, and forests have been the sites of overexploitation since the earliest times. In the early modern age, however, shipbuilding and related industries led to widespread deforestation in Spain and across Europe.5 Numerous scholars have written about forest preservation efforts in Spain and on forests in general. These studies constitute an indispensable reference for scholars who have focused their research on the study of certain areas of Spanish forests.6 For example, Alfredo José Martínez González has conducted outstanding research about the administrative system set up by the Spanish monarchy in Castile and Catalonia to handle the forest resources.7 Others have carried out noteworthy research on Royal Sites (Reales Sitios), defined here as the private heritage of the Spanish Habsburgs. Among others, John Elliott and Jonathan Brown, Fernando Chueca Goitia, and Fernando Checa Cremades together with José Miguel Morán Turina have all emphasized the importance of the Royal Sites from the perspective of art history.8 José Barbeito and Javier Pérez Gil have examined Royal Sites from an architectural angle, Concepción Camarero Bullón and José Luis Urteaga have made important contributions in the field of geography, and José Javier Ramírez Altozano has written an environmental history of the royal forests of San Lorenzo de El Escorial.9 The Royal Site of Soto de Roma specifically has been the subject of local histories and histories of the eighteenth century. However, research highlighting the importance of its forested area as part of the overall political evolution of the Spanish monarchy and how the Royal Site of Soto de Roma, among other similar areas, contributed to the maintenance of the monarchy’s military has, until now, been largely ignored. Exceptions to this include David Goodman’s study of conservation of Spanish forests as part of the Spanish monarchy’s global strategy after the defeat of the Armada in 1588 and the work of John Wing, who equates the conservation of forest resources with the monarchy’s imperial endeavor.10 This article complements and expands on this research, contributing to our understanding of the Spanish monarchy’s forest conservation policies in three ways. First, it examines the dynamics of the formation of the Spanish monarchy. The institutionalization of the monarchy came about during the reign of Philip II (1557–98), which explains, for instance, the striking increase in laws relating to the care and conservation of the forests in the period from 1560 to 1570.11 Second, it focuses specifically on the spaces that formed part of the Crown lands (Royal Sites). Third, it provides an understanding of the complete process of husbandry, extraction, transformation, and transportation of the timber from the producing site to the port.12 It seeks to shed light not only on the Soto de Roma’s exploitation with respect to the development of the monarchy, but also on the ways in which the Crown interacted with the inhabitants of the adjacent land—through cooperation as well as confrontation—and on the evolution of the landscape that reveals the fluctuating interactions between humans and nature. THE ROYAL SITE OF SOTO DE ROMA On November 11, 1491, the Catholic monarchs Isabel I of Castile and Ferdinand I of Aragon incorporated the Soto de Roma into the royal patrimony, thereby creating a Royal Site (Royal Sites consist of all those lands, buildings, and spaces that were the territorial possessions of the Spanish Habsburgs). They established the initial territorial limits of Soto de Roma by royal letters patent on December 3, 1499. In 1522, 1526, 1536, 1537, 1548, and again in 1553, Charles V (1516–57) increased the Soto de Roma’s territory and further prohibited hunting and tree felling within its boundaries. These decrees directly linked forest and animal conservation. For example, the royal decree of 1537 specifically prohibited the hunting of a wide range of animal species including several that relied on forest conditions.13 And in 1545 Charles V set up a Junta de Obras y Bosques [Board of Works and Woodlands] for the governance and conservation of Royal Sites that were scattered across Castile.14 In theory, the ministers of the board had their own jurisdiction independent of other bodies in matters referring to hunting, fishing, and firewood.15 The Royal Site of Soto de Roma was unique in relation to the rest of the royal forests. At Pardo and Casa de Campo, for instance, forests were set aside for the king’s family as hunting grounds and to supply timber for the remaining Royal Sites. The Soto de Roma was exploited in a different way.16 Its singular nature lay in its trees, especially its black and white poplars that for centuries were deliberately preserved for industries associated with shipbuilding. While black and white poplars were not suitable for the structure or main components of ships such as masts, for which hardwood was required, they are fast-growing trees, so they could be replaced in a short period, and their soft wood could be handled easily for constructing gun carriages. One of the king’s officers charged with looking after and conserving its woodlands summed it up best when he said, at the beginning of the seventeenth century, “none of the black poplars are to be cut down because those are for the artillery service and there are none in any other part of this kingdom more suitable for this ministry [naval artillery].”17 Barely twenty years later, Don Alonso de Loaisa, at that time alcaide [governor or warden of the forest] emphasized Soto de Roma’s unique nature and importance once more, claiming there was no other forest like it within a radius of 250 kilometers.18 As the size of Soto de Roma continued to change, its perimeter needed to be visibly marked out. Philip III (1598–1621), for instance, reiterated the Soto’s boundaries as well as the ban on fishing, hunting, and cutting timber within a league of the site’s boundaries. In 1619 Juan de Chumacero y Sotomayor, a judge at the Chancery in Granada, ordered the amojonamiento (marking out the boundaries) “a cal y canto,” that is, using stone markers painted white. The costs of this process were to be borne by the interested parties, meaning at the expense of private individuals whose land bordered the Royal Site.19 In 1720 Philip V (1700–45) decreed the boundaries of Soto de Roma once more, specifying the importance of its timber as a factor for its conservation. Such measures reflected, on the one hand, the monarchy’s need to avoid timber shortages that would affect shipbuilding and, on the other hand, the prevailing view during the early modern age that the management of the household (oeconomica) reflected the administration of the monarchy. The main goal of the household, and therefore of the monarchy, was to survive beyond its immediate temporal interests with a view to bequeathing its holdings—its heritage in its entirety—to the heir.20 Conservation in the Soto de Roma exemplified this worldview. Nevertheless, in August 1563, Francisco de Eraso, secretary of Philip II, entrusted Dr. Santiago, a lawyer, with the task of secretly determining the possibility of using the Soto de Roma for grazing and agriculture. Santiago reported that its condition was poor, specifying it was only good enough for providing firewood.21 One sector of the royal court in Madrid favored breaking up its 15,500 marjales (1 marjal = 525 m2) and giving them over to grazing and agriculture, with a view to selling them off later, with an estimated benefit to the Royal Exchequer of around 200,000 ducats.22 For this to happen, however, the Soto would have to be plowed up and the trees and game removed.23 Those who advocated selling the Soto de Roma argued that hunting, fishing, and firewood for the glass industry took precedence over the fleets of the royal navy. Other nobles, such as the Count of Tendilla, who was at that time captain general of the kingdom of Granada, suggested that keeping the Soto’s stock of trees and its game would reap great economic benefit. Some of the king’s ministers agreed, and, in the end, Philip II decided that the white and the black poplars, along with the ash trees, should be kept for gun carriages.24 As John Wing has correctly pointed out, the change in attitude was no doubt influenced by the Crown’s new perception of the usefulness of the forests for the shipbuilding industry.25 The decision also provided for the creation of several offices for the Soto de Roma’s conservation, including the alcaide and the juez [judge], and contributed to broader changes in the political structures of the Spanish monarchy.26 Ten years later, the decision to conserve the Soto de Roma for military purposes was reaffirmed through a report that noted, the “trees that are grown in Soto de Roma and the Chaparral scrubland should be conserved, because their timber is suitable for our artillery and other things to do with our fleets and cannot be obtained elsewhere.”27 Soto de Roma was to be kept as part of the royal patrimony, and the value and preservation of the timber outweighed hunting-related activities, with the aim of the site becoming economically viable.28 Timber was becoming increasingly important. In 1569 timber and firewood amounted to 7.06 percent of the Soto de Roma’s return, whereas five years later it was 34.63 percent.29 The increasing exploitation of timber motivated Philip II to buy more land. In the 1580s, he acquired 1,999 marjales of land that included 2,705 white poplars on the cortijos [farms] of Galafe and Juceila (figure 2).30 Nevertheless, in the first half of the 1580s, problems related to liquidity threatened the economic viability of Soto de Roma, with the result that the option of selling it was newly considered.31 Once again, those who endorsed the idea of retaining it as part of the royal patrimony and using it for gun carriages won the day. The president of the Chancery of Granada drafted a report on its condition with the purpose “that it be settled once and for all and that instructions and orders be given that said Soto be retained in conservation.”32 Accordingly, at the end of Philip II’s reign, a number of buildings were erected to house the officers responsible for guarding and maintaining the site. The years of Philip III’s reign were vital for the conservation of Soto de Roma by continuing the tradition of the artillery workshop there that had started during Philip II’s kingship.33 The Soto workshop supervised the felling of the timber and transformation of the white and black poplar wood into cheeks for gun carriages and other parts that were then transported to different ports in the Iberian Peninsula, such as Malaga, Cartagena, or Seville. In February 1621, 170 trees were cut down for gun carriages and then replaced by hand.34 A few years later, another seven hundred trees were selected by the king’s ministers to be made into gun carriages. Felling took place in 1624, with the timber scrupulously set aside for the king’s service.35 In addition, there were requests for alms from convents and private individuals.36 Consequently, forest resources were put under severe pressure. Moreover, winds and rains during the winter of 1626 caused the loss of thousands of trees, further exacerbating the deleterious effect of human activity. It was estimated that as many as five thousand trees were lost. Don Alonso de Loaisa, governor of Soto de Roma, took measures to mitigate the negative effects of the weather. He arranged all the fallen trees and divided them into two categories. Those that were considered good enough to transform into gun carriages were salvaged, and the trees considered useless were sold off for the benefit of the Royal Exchequer.37 To mitigate the loss of potential resources, Alonso de Loaisa replanted in the Soto de Roma, ensuring that the monarchy had the trees it needed for military purposes decades later, such as the rebellions of Catalonia and Portugal in 1640 and the spread of popular riots and revolts in Naples and Sicily seven years later (all while the monarchy struggled against the French and Dutch militaries).38 MANAGING THE SOTO DE ROMA Transforming trees into gun carriages required a great deal of bureaucratic administration as well as the cooperation of local workers and residents. One cycle of the process—from 1640 to 1641—serves to exemplify the complexity and broad reach of the monarchy’s attempt to assert power both locally and globally through the resources of the Soto de Roma. In January 1640, Philip IV (1621–65) sent a decree to the Marquis of Castrofuerte, member of the Council of State, commissioner general of the infantry, and captain general of the artillery in Spain, ordering him to have 2,500 trees cut down to supply gun carriages for the navy of the high Atlantic sea fleet, garrisons in Spain, and strongholds in North Africa.39 The decree authorized the marquis to select and commission appropriate people to get the timber from Soto de Roma to Malaga, Cadiz, Cartagena, “and wherever else it was requested.”40 The marquis entrusted the task to Juan Jacome Semino, who relied on the support of Pedro Gutiérrez, the master carpenter of artillery in Malaga, to fulfill the king’s request to procure and produce wooden slabs and other components such as spokes, hubs, and gun carriages for making wheels, limbers, and wagons.41 Semino received the commission in February 1640 and, together with Gutiérrez and Don Antonio de la Morena, assistant of Gutiérrez, selected the most suitable trees that amounted to only 1,800 (700 fewer than the original commission). Harvesting began on February 8 and lasted several months. Once the trees had been felled and processed, the timber was transferred to the cortijo of Cijuela. From there it was transported to Malaga and other ports in the Iberian Peninsula. Work on the timber continued through 1640 until it was interrupted by the onset of the rainy season on October 14. A few days’ work was achieved in January of the following year, but it was not until March 1641 when it was taken up again with greater intensity. Approximately thirty people were employed for several months, working between four and six days a week.42 At the end of each week they received the amount owed to them, in line with the number of days they had worked. To attract workers, Semino and other officers drew on the local knowledge of the people of Granada, who then went in person to strategic points to hire them.43 The monarchy and its officers on their own were unable to guarantee the harvesting, conservation, and transportation of the timber. Cooperation with the local inhabitants kept the royal fleets operating. Beyond cutting and transportation, making the trees of the Soto de Roma useful to the monarchy required additional labor and collaboration from the locals. Poplar wood required a variety of careful treatments before it could be used as gun carriages and, once processed, needed protection against both natural and human injury. At the processing site in Cijuela, covering the timber with broom and esparto prevented the weather from damaging the wood, and threat of punishment reduced depredations by local citizens.44 Semino instructed Juan de Soto, a resident of the city of Granada, to ensure people had been informed that the materials stored in Cijuela were for the king’s service. De Soto covered the length and breadth of the boundaries of Soto de Roma, encouraging the royal justices, municipal governments, and inhabitants of Soto de Roma and nearby areas to cooperate amicably in the materials’ protection. Assisted by town criers, Juan de Soto traveled to Santa Fe, Loja, Iznalloz, Guadahortuna, and Montejícar and by means of public announcements, he informed the inhabitants of the spaces that had been set apart to keep the king’s timber protected. Anyone who collaborated by providing information about missing timber was given a financial reward.45 Rewards were not the only means identified in the royal ordinances to ensure compliance; they also established severe penalties for transgressors. The mildest penalties ranged from a fine to the loss of work equipment and means of transport. The most serious penalties came in the form of physical punishments, banishment, and hard labor. Those living on the cortijo of Cijuela were obliged to guard the timber, and if any went missing or was damaged, they would pay for it with their properties. Semino appointed Antonio Peña Vallejo paymaster and bailiff of the timber workshop to oversee both payments and penalties. Thus persuasion and collaboration were combined to safeguard the timber while it awaited its transfer to the coasts of the Iberian Peninsula.46 This cooperation, which mobilized the local networks in the areas adjoining the Soto de Roma, intensified when the timber was being transported. Transporting timber occurred in two main stages. First, the timber had to be moved within Soto de Roma, from the places where the trees had been cut down and prepared to the cortijo of Cijuela. Second, it had to be moved from Cijuela to the destination ports: Malaga, Cadiz, Seville, or Cartagena (figure 3). The first journey was barely a few kilometers; the second covered several hundred. Both, however, needed the collaboration of the local inhabitants and the use of their trade networks. Semino was in charge of coordinating all work, personally selecting the carters who would transport the precious raw material. In June 1640, he asked Pedro Gutiérrez and Antón Ruiz de la Morena, experts in working with timber, how much carters were usually paid to transport timber from Soto de Roma to Cijuela. According to custom, carters had been paid five reals per cartload, an excessive sum that was reduced to four reals and a cuartillo (a quarter of a real). In 1640 and 1641, Antonio Peña Vallejo, the paymaster and bailiff, paid a sum close to nine thousand reals for the transportation of over two thousand cartloads of timber to Cijuela.47 The second part of the process began with guidelines drawn up by Semino that emphasized his commission from the Marquis of Castrofuerte, which likely encouraged the authorities of the kingdom to cooperate, and that outlined the processes and rules of timber transportation.48 Juan Jacome provided the names of the people responsible for transporting the timber, as well as for the route and the load (see online supplement). The timber cut from the Soto de Roma’s forests in 1640 and 1641 played an important role in Spain’s military needs. Faced with the outbreak of the Catalan revolt that year, the Crown ordered Semino to send gun carriages for a hundred artillery pieces to Cartagena.49 These would then be transferred to Colibres for the Castle of Perpignan. Those in charge of the transfer were Juan Martínez and Martín Sánchez. The former delivered 1,341 arrobas and 3 pounds of timber (1 arroba = 25 pounds) to Cartagena on January 1641, and received 4,180 reals and 26 maravedis. Martín Sánchez transported 1,108 arrobas of timber in 25 carts. The supplies were delivered to Cartagena in February 1641, and the carters were paid according to the weight of the load transported (106 maravedis per arroba). A few weeks later, vital supplies for artillery trains needed to fight on the Portuguese frontier were sent from Cijuela to Seville and Badajoz. In this case, Semino employed a two-pronged strategy to ensure the timber got to where it was needed: hiring the carters’ ox carts, on the one hand, and seizing them, on the other. This latter recourse was applied particularly in the transfer of the timber to Seville and Badajoz because the unexpected rebellion led by the Duke of Braganza meant there was little time to negotiate agreements with the carters. Malaga was the primary destination for the Soto's timber. Semino came to numerous agreements with the people living in the environs of Soto de Roma to transport the prepared timber from Cijuela to the dockyards in Malaga. Juan Jacome and other officers of the king indicated the content and weight of the load the carter was to carry, the route he had to take, and the delivery point. This information was communicated verbally, since many carters were illiterate and therefore incapable of reading Semino’s guide. Once the timber was loaded in Soto de Roma, the carter would follow the route that had been established. The journey lasted eight to ten days, and, upon arrival, the carter would make his way to the king’s warehouses beside the dockyard, where the officers of the sovereign would check Semino’s guide and examine the supplies delivered by the carter.50 At this point the supplies would be carefully weighed and registered by the surveyor, with the assistance of other royal officers. The carter would then return to Granada, where Semino would settle payment. The total weight transported to Malaga in 1641 amounted to 903 quintals (1 quintal = 100 pounds) and 2,955 arrobas (totaling 164,175 pounds), plus an unspecified batch. If 1640–41 was an exemplary cycle in the Soto de Roma’s life as a military timber source, 1647 further establishes its importance. Timber sent to Malaga from the Soto in 1647 amounted to 7,618 arrobas (190,450 pounds). A total of 7,570 reals and 14 maravedis were paid out in 1641 for carriage; in 1647 the sum was significantly higher: 9,431 reals and 18 maravedis In this case, the timber went again to support the Spanish monarchy’s military aims. In 1646 the forces of the French king defeated Philip IV’s fleet in the Mediterranean, spurring him to construct a new fleet.51 This was how the fragile trees, transported by illiterate carters from the Royal Site of Soto de Roma, contributed to keep the fleets of Philip IV operational. The need for gun carriages throughout the 1640s depleted the stock of Soto de Roma, although the forest continued to supply the king’s fleets with timber until the end of the century. Unfortunately, Don Alonso de Loaisa’s outstanding management in the 1620s was not continued by any of his successors. Administration of the Soto de Roma deteriorated due to the poor relationship between Don Tomás Manuel de Loaysa y Carrillo, the second Count of Arco and warden, judge, and governor of Soto de Roma, and its head forester, Francisco de Salinas. The situation was dire enough for the prosecutor, Don Diego de Cárdenas, to file charges against Tomás Manuel de Loaysa y Carrillo in April 1659.52 Nevertheless, felling trees for the ships and artillery continued. To mention just a few cases, on June 6, 1665, a request was made for 250 wooden slabs of black poplar for mounting 65 guns, 200 cubits for large transoms, and 100 axletrees for the artillery in Cadiz.53 In April 1669, an order was issued to deliver another 100 wooden slabs of both white and black poplar, as well as 50 pieces of timber for axletrees and transoms to the general purveyor in Malaga.54 The following year, a further order was made for yet another 300 slabs and 300 pieces of timber to be assembled for the artillery of the Ocean Sea. In 1675, during the Messina revolt and when the monarchy was at war with the king of France, the warden of Soto de Roma was ordered to place all available timber at the disposal of the officers in Malaga for the ships that were going to sail for Sicily.55 CONFRONTATIONS OVER THE SOTO DE ROMA It was not just the monarchy and its military that required resources from Soto de Roma. The residents and corporations of Granada also needed timber from the forest, resulting in numerous confrontations between the Crown and its subjects. These local citizens protested the demarcation and annexation of land by the Crown in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and against the bans on cutting timber, hunting, and plowing and cultivating the land. As already discussed, Soto de Roma had been a public space for the rulers’ subjects during the Nasrid era. This tradition continued after the conquest of Granada by the Catholic monarchs. Charles V, however, quickly took great interest in it. The emperor adopted provisions for its better maintenance and to protect its game. In October 1526, he commissioned Jerónimo Briceño, a lawyer, to collect information from the owners of adjacent land, with the underlying purpose of expanding the perimeter of Soto de Roma. Briceño sent the information to the Council of Castile, which opted to mark out its boundary.56 The territory was expanded, and its use as a public space for hunting, cutting timber, and collecting firewood was prohibited.57 Thus the Habsburg sovereigns, by means of confiscation, purchase, and marking of boundaries, organized the territory, generating enormous tensions with the aristocracy of Granada and other less wealthy subjects. Those affected by Briceño’s actions did not tarry in defending their rights since “he had taken their land away from them without giving them a hearing.”58 The first to lodge a claim was Doña Magdalena de Padilla, the wife of Don Francisco de Bobadilla.59 Doña Magdalena presented documents against the expropriation carried out by Briceño. Royal Justice sided with the petitioner when it delivered its verdict on August 27, 1535. The growing interest of the emperor in Soto de Roma led to a new inquiry being opened in 1539. Don Diego Deza, president of the Chancery in Granada, was charged with the task. Deza established that 1,461 marjales of scrubland, which included 6,162 trees, had been expropriated from Doña Magdalena. Finally, on March 8, 1543, the Crown paid 1,149,665 maravedis for the land.60 The Duke of Sessa was another of the nobles affected by the emperor’s orders to absorb more land into Soto de Roma. In 1534 he made a claim for the land that his grandfather, el Gran Capitán, had been deprived of between 1491 and 1493. The legal battle did not come to an end until the 1550s.61 Don Álvaro de Bazán, among others, who had had 4,500 marjales alienated from his cortijo of Asquerosa, was similarly compensated. Figure 4 shows the economic importance of the land acquired and the potential yield from the fertile Granada floodplain. In all, Briceño’s boundary alienated 518.39 hectares and more than 20,000 trees from their original owners. The Crown paid out 11,000,000 maravedis in compensation, and in the years that followed, it continued its policy of purchasing land bordering Soto de Roma. Figure 4. View largeDownload slide Areas of land incorporated by the Crown between 1525 and 1550. Figure 4. View largeDownload slide Areas of land incorporated by the Crown between 1525 and 1550. The regulations concerning the boundaries and the ban on fishing, hunting, and cutting wood within a league of the perimeter were reiterated during the reign of Philip III. Upon the accession of Philip IV, the ministers of the king sought to go a step further. Juan de Chumacero y Sotomayor, judge at the Chancery in Granada, received an order to mark out the boundaries using white painted stones, with the cost to be borne by private individuals.62 In August 1629, the dispatch of royal letters patent enabled 1,000 fanegas to be hived off from the Chiplana pasture.63 Boundaries were marked in 1683 and 1711. Marking the boundaries meant that properties of individuals or corporations passed into the hands of the Crown, and hence the shortage of wood for citizens became more acute. This problem was further aggravated on account of the ban on cutting down timber and gathering firewood from the areas surrounding Soto de Roma. It therefore comes as no surprise that the Board of Works and Woodland recorded an increasing number of requests for alms, as can be seen from figure 5, based on the date when the request was made or the favor sought was confirmed. Figure 5. View largeDownload slide Request for and granting of alms to religious foundations between 1595 and 1693. Figure 5. View largeDownload slide Request for and granting of alms to religious foundations between 1595 and 1693. The royal authorities did not always wholeheartedly receive the requests for alms from the ecclesiastical institutions, since they clashed with the interests of the king. Not simply disagreements between centers of power, these confrontations also disrupted the everyday lives of those who lived close to Soto de Roma. The tension and confrontations increased in the transition from the sixteenth to the seventeenth centuries, at a time when this Royal Site was being institutionalized and the monarchs placed further restrictions on its use. At the beginning of the seventeenth century, the Main Church of the city of Granada requested nine hundred trees for the construction of the church. Its sights were largely set on the “long straight” black poplars that had been prepared for the royal artillery. The Crown spent more than eight thousand ducats on them, plus another six thousand for their transportation to Malaga. Dr. Gonzalo de Santa Eufemia Esquivel, who was the governor of Soto de Roma at the time, opposed the request. He based his argument not only on the economic outlay that had been made, but also on the fear that the additional harvest would increase the potential for a future timber shortage.64 Later petitions confirm that the interests of the royal service prevailed over individual interests. Unlike the Main Church of Granada, other religious institutions stressed the point that their request was for trees that were not suitable for building gun carriages for naval artillery.65 As can be seen from figure 5, the trend continued until the end of the seventeenth century. After 1610, alms granted to religious foundations steadily dwindled as a consequence of the shift in perception at the court in Madrid with regard to Soto de Roma; it constituted a key space for the king devoted to provide timber for constructing gun carriages. It was not just the religious institutions that required wood from the Soto de Roma. Local residents also used the forest as a resource. In August 1607, for example, the town of Santa Fe sent a memorial to the monarch complaining about the new procedures the foresters and judges had introduced in recent years. The Royal Site foresters had increased their radius of activity and were harassing the locals by reporting every cart that transported wood.66 As a result, the farmers and those within a 3- to 4-league perimeter who worked the land had been seriously disadvantaged. Thus the restrictions on favors and outright refusals by the Board of Works and Woodlands and other bodies of the monarchy applied equally to all the social strata of Granada. Few written records of these complaints have been kept, since the least well-off, such as peasants, farmers, stockkeepers, and tanners, were largely illiterate and did not know to whom to address their written concerns. This does not mean that requests for firewood were not forthcoming or that there was no resort to other, less peaceful means apart from the use of official channels. In 1600 Dr. Páez de Heredia commissioned the foresters of Soto de Roma to take proceedings against some masked men who were setting traps among the trees in order to catch big game, thereby inflicting two kinds of damage: to the trees and to the animals.67 In 1613 the king had a legal dispute pending with Don Iñigo de Córdoba over hunting rights and the prohibition cordon around Soto de Roma. Don Iñigo and his family had properties on land bordering Soto de Roma. The decrees prohibiting hunting, fishing, or woodcutting around Soto de Roma had severely affected the orchards and vineyards on his property.68 Lawsuits, petitions, and other actions followed one after another throughout the century, only to decline later when the Royal Soto de Roma ceased to belong to the Spanish monarchs. From 1750 to 1850, the landscape of Soto de Roma underwent a dramatic change. The Crown was no longer interested in holding on to it as part of its heritage, and the Soto de Roma was duly transferred and sold out to private owners (including the Duke of Wellington, who gained ownership of the area in 1813).69 Pascual Madoz described the changes in the Soto de Roma in his 1849 work, the Diccionario geográfico-estadístico-histórico de España y sus posesiones de Ultramar. Madoz noted that the Soto had been, under the Nasrids, a rich, fertile area but had declined under the Catholic monarchs who began stripping it of its wealth in order to compensate the aristocracy. Madoz referenced the work of “the learned Miñano,” according to whom Soto de Roma was used mainly for agricultural production and tending livestock; shipbuilding, in contrast, played a rather secondary role beginning about the mid-eighteenth century.70 Miñano also pointed out (but Madoz failed to mention) that the Soto’s poplars and ash trees had practically disappeared, replaced by crops.71 Barely thirty years earlier, in 1782, William Bowles had described the Soto de Roma as covered with elms, ash trees, and white and black poplars.72 CONCLUSIONS The war requirements of the monarchy during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries had increased the demands on the forest resources of the Iberian Peninsula. Scholars typically suggest that such needs led to deforestation, since demand exceeded existing resources; in the case of Soto de Roma, however, war conditions helped to conserve the white and black poplar woodland until the eighteenth century at least. During the Habsburg dynasty (1514–1700), the Crown achieved considerable success in the conservation and exploitation of the Royal Soto de Roma site. It was maintained as part of the royal patrimony owing to its timber production, the special feature that saved it on various occasions from being sold or alienated. This differentiated it from other corporations of Granada that overexploited existing resources, causing serious deforestation.73 The measures adopted by the kings in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries also had negative impacts on the inhabitants of Granada, however. Banning hunting, fishing, tree cutting, and gathering of firewood created tensions between the Crown and its subjects, who saw the prohibitions as restrictions placed on ancient customs, making daily life difficult. This situation gave rise to social tensions that were resolved through the courts or by resorting to violence. Nevertheless, the Royal Site of the Soto de Roma, the only forest of the Royal Sites systematically used in the production of naval components, helped to support the imperial structure of the monarchy by providing the raw materials for the gun carriages mounted on the royal fleets. The Soto de Roma’s trees served to bolster the authority and reach of the Spanish monarchy militarily for around two centuries. The timber produced and stacked in Soto de Roma not only supplied cities in Spain—Malaga, Cartagena, Sevilla, or Badajoz—but also well beyond to Sicily, the fortress of North Africa, and possibly the oceangoing ships to America. The success of such expansion of power cannot be understood without taking into account the twofold strategy implemented by the monarchy of cooperation and confrontation with the local inhabitants of Soto de Roma’s environs. As this study shows, places such as the Soto de Roma, although limited in size, can have important roles in the consolidation of power at local, regional, and even global levels. SUPPLEMENTARY MATERIAL Supplementary material is available at Environmental History online. Felix Labrador Arroyo is professor of modern history at King Juan Carlos University in Madrid. He is currently heading several projects related to the Spanish monarchy and territorial organization in early modern Spain, ca. 1450 to 1800. Dr. Koldo Trápaga Monchet was a Marie-Curie ITN-Fellow within ForSEAdiscovery project at Instituto de Arqueologia y Paleociěncias, at the New University of Lisbon when this article was submitted. He is currently a post-doctoral researcher at King Juan Carlos University (Madrid, Spain) where he is carrying out research about Forestry, timber supply for shipbuilding and maritime struggle in early modern Portugal, c. 1560-1640. Notes We wish to express our gratitude to editor Lisa Brady and the anonymous reviewers for their comments, patience, and advice because it hugely improved this article. This article was funded as part of the “Grupo de Excelencia de la URJC: “La Configuración de la Monarquía Hispana a través del sistema cortesano (siglos XIII–XIX): organización política e institucional, lengua y cultura (GE-2014-020),” the research project of the Spanish MINECO “La reconfiguración de los espacios cortesanos: los Sitios Reales” (HAR 2012-37308-C05-02), and the research project ForSeaDiscovery (PITN-GA-2013-607545) funded by the European Union. 1. José Cuevas Pérez, El Real Sitio Soto de Roma. Colección Documental, vol. 1 (Granada: Diputación Provincial, 2006), 89. More extensively, Rafael G. Peinado Santaella, “El Patrimonio real Nazarí y la exquisitez defraudatoria de los principales castellanos,” in Medievo hispano. Estudios in memoriam del Prof. Derek W. Lomax (Madrid: Sociedad Española de Estudios Medievales, 1995), 297–318. More details about the judicial districts that conformed Soto de Roma can be found in Rafael G. Peinado Santaella, “El Soto de Roma en el paso del dominio nazarí al castellano,” in Homenaje al profesor Emilio Cabrera, ed. M. Cabrera Sánchez and R. Córdoba de la Llave (Córdoba: Universidad de Córdoba, 2015), 407. 2. Sebastián de Miñano y Bedoya, Diccionario geográfico-estadístico de España y Portugal, vol. 8 (Madrid: Imprenta de Pierart-Peralta, 1827), 516. 3. Ibn Al-Jatib pointed out in the mid-fourteenth century that Soto de Roma belonged to the kings of Granada. Francisco J. Simonet, Descripción del Reino de Granada bajo la dominación de los Naseritas, sacada de texto inédito de Mohammed Ebn Aljathib (Madrid: Imprenta Nacional, 1860), 46. 4. Archivo General de Simancas (hereafter AGS), Consejo de Castilla (hereafter CC), legajo [hereafter leg.] 2185, folios (hereafter fols.) 38v–39r and ibid., fol. 70. Philip II was informed that “close to the city of Granada we have a hunting forest called Soto de Roma, having been informed it is neither nor can be of any use for the service or recreation of hunting because of the many thickets and undergrowth that it has and because of the many irrigation channels that run through it to water the hereditaments and that have occupied a good deal of land well-disposed for pasture and grazing for livestock or for growing wheat and other grains in which we can be benefited greatly by selling it (Soto de Roma) in lots to different people.” 5. There is extensive bibliography concerning this topic. However, it is worth citing the following: John F. Richards, The Unending Frontier. An Environmental History of the Early Modern World (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001), 195–205, and John Perlin, A Forest Journey: The Story of Wood and Civilization (Countryman Press Imprint, 2005), introduction and chapter 10. For a global study of the interaction between human cultures and the natural environment, see Sing C. Chew, World Ecological Degradation: Accumulation, Urbanization and Deforestation (3000 B.C.–A.D. 2000) (Oxford: Altamira Press, 2001). 6. Among others, Erich Bauer Manderscheid, Los montes de España en la Historia (Madrid: Ministerio de Agricultura y Pesca, 1991). For Galicia, see Ofelia Rey Castelao, Montes y política forestal en la Galicia del Antiguo Régimen (Santiago de Compostela: Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, 1995). Regarding the Basque Country, see Álvaro Aragón Ruano, El bosque guipuzcoano en la Edad Moderna: aprovechamiento, ordenamiento legal y conflictividad (San Sebastián: Sociedad de Ciencias Aranzadi, 2001). In subsequent years, he has published several articles and book chapters that should be taken into account. For Catalonia, Alfredo José Martínez González, Las Superintendencias de Montes y Plantíos (1574–1748): derecho y política forestal para las armadas en la Edad Moderna (Valencia: Tirant, 2015), chapter 3. María Amparo López Arandia has focused on eighteenth-century Spain. Her most recent publication is “From the Forests to the Dockyard. The Maritime Provinces and the Provision of Wood in Spain during the 18th Century,” in L’approvisionment des villes portuaires en Europe du XVIE siècle à nos jours, dir. Caroline Le Mao and Philippe Meyzie (Paris: Presses de l’Université Paris-Sorbonne, 2015), 345–61. Ana Rita Trindande is currently carrying out research, “Timber Supply for the Arsenal of ‘La Carraca’ (Cádiz): 1717–1759,” at the Spanish National Research Council under the supervision of Ana Crespo Solana. 7. Martínez González, Las Superintendencias. 8. John H. Elliott and Jonathan Brown, A Palace for a King: The Buen Retiro and the Court of Philip IV (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003); Fernando Chueca Goitia, Arte de España: Madrid y sitios Reales (Barcelona: Seix Barral, 1958); José Miguel Morán Turina and Fernando Checa Cremades, Las casas del Rey. Casas de campo, cazaderos y jardineros, siglos XVI y XVII (Madrid: Ediciones el Viso, 1986). 9. José Luis Arteaga and Concepción Camarero Bullón, “Planos del siglo XIX para un Real Sitio del siglo XVIII: EL Real Sitio de San Ildefonso y su anexo el Real Bosque de Riofrío (1868–1869),” in Siti Reali in Europa. Una storia del territorio tra Madrid e Napoli, dir. Lucio d’Alessandro et al. (Naples: Università degli Studi Suor Orosola Benicancasa, 2014), 119–46; José Luis Arteaga and Concepción Camarero Bullón: “Geómetras en el paraíso: el levantamiento topográfico del Real Sitio de Riofrío (1868–1869),” Anales de Geografía de la Universidad Complutense 34, no. 1 (2012): 179–95; and José Javier Ramírez Altozano, Historia de los Bosques Reales de San Lorenzo del Escorial (Madrid: Visión Libros, 2011). 10. David Goodman, Spanish Naval Power, 1589–1665: Reconstruction and Defeat (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), chapter 3; John T. Wing, Roots of Empire: State Formation and the Politics of Timber Access in Early Modern Spain, 1556–1759 (PhD diss., University of Minnesota, 2012). Published as Roots of Empire: Forest and State Power in Early Modern Spain, c. 1500–1750 (Leiden: Brill, 2015). See also his brilliant article “Keeping Spain Afloat: State Forestry and Imperial Defense in the Sixteenth Century,” Environmental History 17, no. 1 (2012): 116–45. 11. José Martínez Millán and Carlos Javier de Carlos Morales, dirs., Felipe II (1527–1598). La configuración de la Monarquía Hispana (Valladolid: Junta de Castilla y León, 1998). 12. There are, however, other noteworthy studies that focus on realengos during the eighteenth century. Among others see John Wing, “Keeping Spain,” 116–45, or Gaspar de Aranda, Los bosques flotantes: historia de un roble del siglo XVIII (Madrid: ICONA, 1990). 13. The royal orders issued by the kings provided us further details concerning the fauna of Soto de Roma. During the kingships of Fernando the Catholic and Charles V, there was a ban on hunting “pigs, wild-boars, monkeys nor bucks, nor hares, rabbits, pheasants, partridge birds, herons, grebe (lavanco) [… ], fallow deer and bears [… ] roe deer,” AGS, CSR, leg. 324. In 1720 it was prohibited to hunt pigs, wild boar, venison, fallow deer, bears, roe deer, or any other kind of big game hunting, or rabbits, hares, pheasants, francolins, partridge birds, herons, ducks, quails, or any other kind of “poultry birds” (aves de volatería). This Royal Chapter is located at Biblioteca de la Universidad de Granada (accessed December 20, 2014). 14. There is no consensus on this date. Francisco Javier Garma Durán, Teatro Universal de España, vol. 4 (Madrid: Imprenta de Mauro Martí, 1751), 513–22. 15. Alonso Núñez de Castro, Sólo Madrid es Corte y el cortesano en Madrid (Madrid: 1669), 67. 16. The original function of Soto de Roma was to serve as a hunting ground, although it was also used for other purposes. AGS, CC, leg. 2185, fol. 37. 17. AGS, Casas y Sitios Reales (hereafter CSR), leg. 323. 18. AGS, CSR, leg. 330: “the Soto of Your Majesty is so important for your royal service that it is being conserved with every care and being increased, and by order of Your Majesty a great number of trees have been planted by hand in the parts and places where there is room because there are clearings, or a dearth of them on account of the harvesting to make the gun-carriages for the coast of this Kingdom and ports of Barbary where they are transported. And were it not for the timber in this Soto, Your Majesty does not have any place around these coasts within a distance of 50 leagues where they can be harvested,” Granada, January 20, 1626. 19. AGS, CSR, leg. 330, letter written in Madrid in 1622 and addressed to Don Bartolomé Morquecho, resident of Granada. 20. José Martínez Millán, “La sustitución del modelo cortesano por el paradigma estatal,” librosdelacorte 1 (2010): 1–18. 21. Cuevas Pérez, El Real Sitio, vol. 2, 370–72. 22. In 1564 Philip II commissioned Dr. Santiago in 1564 to sell the game. Ibid., fols. 115r–16r, 118v, 184v, and AGS, CC, Div. 44, 36, fols. 347r–77r. 23. AGS, CC, leg. 2185, fols. 101–2. See also AGS, CC, leg. 2185, fols. 30–32. 24. AGS, CC, Div. 44, no. 44, fols. 369r–73v. Cuevas Pérez, El Real Sitio, 504–7. 25. Wing, “Keeping Spain Afloat,” 118. 26. AGS, CSR, leg. 324. José Martínez Millán, “En busca de la ortodoxia: el inquisidor general Diego de Espinosa,” in La corte de Felipe II, dir. José Martínez Millán (Madrid: Alianza, 1994), 189–228. 27. AGS, CC, leg. 2185, fol. 143. 28. Every royal site was exploited commercially to try to maintain each site. See Miguel Morán Turina and Fernando Checa Cremades, Las casas del rey. Casas de Campo, cazaderos y jardines. Siglos XVI y XVII (Madrid: El Viso, 1986), 129. 29. Accounts that have been preserved between January 1, 1569, and May 31, 1574, can be found in Rafael G. Peinado Santaella, “Un real sitio en la Vega de Granada: El Soto de Roma y los agobios financieros de la corona castellana durante el siglo XVI,” in Los Sitios reales en la Monarquía hispana, ed. Concepción Camarero Bullón and Félix Labrador Arroyo (Madrid: UAM, 2016), 211–35. 30. Cuevas Pérez, El Real Sitio, 119. 31. Turina and Cremades, Las casas del rey, 127. AGS, CC, leg. 2185, fol. 22. 32. Instituto Valencia de don Juan, carpeta [folder] 41, envío [dispatch] 100. 33. Archivo General Militar de Madrid, vol. 5, fols. 105v–106r. In the time of Philip III, other secondary royal sites were put up for sale, such as Fuenfría and Fuente del Sol, among others, due to the economic situation. AGS, CSR, leg. 305. See also Félix Labrador Arroyo, “Gasto y financiación de los oficiales y obras de los Reales Sitios (1612–1635),” in La Corte en Europa: Política y Religión (Siglos XVI–XVIII), vol. 3, coord. José Martínez Millán et al. (Madrid: Polifemo, 2012), 1969–2019. During Philip IV’s reign, in 1627, the idea of selling the Soto was strongly advocated. AGS, CSR, leg. 333. 34. AGS, CSR, legs. 329–30. 35. AGS, CSR, legs. 330 and 332. 36. Regarding this, see section 5. 37. AGS, CSR, leg. 332. 38. Manuel Rivero Rodríguez, La edad de oro de los virreyes. El virreinato en la Monarquía Hispánica durante los siglos XVI y XVII (Madrid: Akal, 2011), 223–58. 39. This extremely high number was due to the monarchy’s military disasters. In 1639 Spain lost the naval Battle of the Downs, which meant the royal navy had to be rebuilt. 40. AGS, Contaduría Mayor de Cuentas [Cofferer’s office] (hereafter CMC), 3ª época (hereafter 3ª), leg. 2527. The statements that follow are based on previously cited sources. 41. Likewise, white poplars were useful for making bilge pumps for ships, although this was not part of the original requisition. José Quintero González, “La madera en los pertrechos navales. Provisión de motones, remos y bombas al arsenal de la Carraca,” Tiempos Modernos 10 (2004): 7. 42. AGS, CMC, 3a, leg. 2527. 43. Ibid., legs. 2527 and 3381. 44. AGS, CMC, 3ª, leg. 2527. The statements that follow are based on previously cited sources. 45. AGS, CMC, 3º, leg. 2527. 46. See also Martínez González, Las Superintendencias, 414–29. 47. AGS, CMC, 3º, legs. 2527 and 3381. 48. There are several so-called guides provided by Juan Jacome Semino to carters. For instance, see the guide dated September 19, 1641, addressed by Juan Jacome to Francisco López and Antón Garzón. AGS, CMC, 3ª, leg. 3381. The following lines are based on previously cited sources. 49. David Goodman points out that the importance of Cartagena increased considerably after the Catalonian revolt in 1640. Goodman, Spanish Naval Power, 134. 50. In 1641 the king’s officers uncovered a fraud amounting to several hundred reals. A number of carters had fraudulently increased the weight of their loads. AGS, CMC, 3ª, leg. 3381. 51. Aurelio Musi, La rivolta di Masaniello nella scena barocca (Naples: Guida, 1989), 59–63. Cesáreo Fernández Duro, La armada española desde la unión de los reinos de Castilla y de Aragón, vol. 4 (Madrid: Museo Naval, 1972), 361–66. Koldo Trápaga Monchet, “La casa de don Juan José de Austria en el gobierno de la Monarquía Católica: la recuperación de los presidios toscanos (1646–1647),” in Campo y campesinos en la España moderna: culturas políticas en el mundo hispano, vol. 2, ed. María José Pérez Álvarez and Alfredo García Martín (León: FEHM, 2012), 1825–36. 52. AGS, CSR, leg. 265. More information in Cuevas Pérez, El Real Sitio, vol. 1, 147–73. 53. AGS, CSR, leg. 314. 54. AGS, CSR, leg. 315. 55. Archivo General de Indias, Indiferente, 441, L.27, fols. 283–84. 56. For the process of alienation of property, see Rafael G. Peinado Santaella, “Un espacio aristocrático: propiedad y poblamiento en el sector occidental de la Vega de Granada a finales de la Edad Media,” Fundamentos de Antropología 6–7 (1997): 232–44. 57. AGS, CC, leg. 2185, fols. 26–27. 58. AGS, CC, leg. 2185, fol. 38v. 59. Don Francisco de Bobadilla was not only a member of the aristocracy of Granada but was also well connected in Madrid. He was captain of the Royal Guards and sewer [attendant at table in the royal household], so that he had access to those who surrounded the royal family. 60. Archivo de la Real Chancillería de Granada, cabina 506, leg. 1140, pieza 4, fols. 1r–53v, reproduced by José Cuevas Pérez, El Real Sitio Soto de Roma. Apéndice documental, vol. 2, 135–96. See also AGS, CC, leg. 2185, fol. 32. 61. AGS, Patronato Real, leg. 34, doc. 4. For the legal proceedings, see Peinado Santaella, “Un real sitio,” passim. 62. AGS, CSR, leg. 330, letter written in Madrid in 1622 and addressed to Don Bartolomé Morquecho, a resident of Granada. 63. AGS, CMC, 3ª, leg. 1572. 64. Ibid. 65. AGS, CSR, leg. 329. 66. AGS, CSR, leg. 323. 67. AGS, CSR, leg. 322. 68. Calculations of the impact of the measures taken by the king’s officers amounted to as much as 24,000 ducats. AGS, CSR, leg. 325, year of 1613. 69. Colección de los Decretos y Órdenes que han expedido las Cortes Generales y Extraordinarias desde 24 de mayo de 1812 hasta 24 de febrero de 1813 (Madrid: Imprenta Nacional, III), 151. Decree 278, issued in Cadiz, July 22, 1813. 70. Pascual Madoz, Diccionario geográfico-estadístico-histórico de España y sus posesiones de Ultramar, vol. 14 (Madrid: 1849), 514–16. Miñano and Bedoya, Diccionario, 343. Julio Muñoz Bravo, “Betancourt, Godoy y el Soto de Roma,” Revista de Obras Públicas 3257 (1987): 555–74. 71. Miñano and Bedoya, Diccionario, 343. 72. William Bowles, Introducción á la historia natural y á la geografía física de España, (Madrid: 1782), 462. The lines that follow are also based on Bowles, 462–66. 73. In 1613 the Chapter of Main Church of Granada requested two hundred black poplars because none could any longer be found within the surrounding 50 leagues, with the exception of Sierra de Segura. © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Society for Environmental History and the Forest History Society. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/about_us/legal/notices)
Environmental History – Oxford University Press
Published: Apr 1, 2018
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