The rise of the modern state during the early modern period could hardly been explained without taking into account the development of the first national fiscal systems. To achieve their political objectives the European kings had to increase their revenues, introducing new taxes, promoting all kind of reforms to improve the efficiency of their fiscal systems and curtailing the social and regional privileges enjoyed by certain social groups and territories. Yet in most cases this was not enough. As expenditures were usually well above revenues, most European monarchies and republics had to borrow, and this paved the way for the expansion of the first public debt systems which, in the cases of the Dutch Republic and England, led to the development of advanced financial markets.
In the Spanish and, particularly, Castilian cases, during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the Crown's fiscal revenues experienced a substantial rise, especially in the last quarter of the sixteenth century and the central decades of the seventeenth. This was not enough, however, to finance the Habsburg fight for European hegemony and the Spanish kings had to rely on all kinds of measures to provide them with the funds needed. Among them, borrowing had a prominent place, but the importance of public debt should not hide the fact that there were other ways of supplying the Crown's needs, and this paper tries to analyse one of them: the alienation to Madrid of a significant part of the Crown's fiscal ordinary revenues in return for monetary subsidies.
The process began in 1653 and lasted until 1679. At its end, the Crown had transferred to its capital most of the servicio de millones collected in Madrid and its fiscal district in return for substantial monetary subsidies, which could be described as forced loans (donativos).