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EMBARGO: THE ORIGINS OF AN IDEA AND THE IMPLICATIONS OF A POLICY IN EUROPE AND THE MEDITERRANEAN, ca. 1500
Stantchev, Stefan K., The University of Michigan
PhD Thesis (Philosophy), The University of Michigan (2009)
The Spanish word ‘embargo,’ attested in English since at least 1602 and perhaps as early as 1593, may have made it into the language as a result of the Spanish embargo against England, 1568-1573. In current Spanish “embargo” denotes (1) the act of ‘embargar,’ that is of the retention of goods by a legitimate source of authority, (2) obstructions of trade with another country, and (3) prohibition on the circulation of information. Another authoritative dictionary claims that the word denotes governmental prohibitions on the export of arms and other material useful in war, detention of goods by legitimate authorities, impediment in general, damage, and even indigestion. In French, this originally Spanish word is commonly used to refer to bans on naval vessels, typically foreign, as well as to bans on the circulation of objects.