The droit d’aubaine and other limitations of foreigners’ property rights were a relevant aspect of State building in the early modern period. Their regulation had important consequences on the legal and cultural construction of the category of citizenship. Mercantilist prohibitions, limitations and fiscal penalties were enforced in the Duchy of Milan throughout the ancien régime; they privileged Milanese citizens in accessing real estates’ and assets’ networks of exchange. Maria Theresa’s and Joseph II’s reforms reshaped relations between Crown and local powers, trying to attenuate the protectionist orientation of local Milanese government elites. As far as the droit d’aubaine and other kinds of property limitations were concerned, their efforts were not entirely successful, partly because of the Habsburgs’ half-heartedness in granting foreigners and immigrants equal property rights.
Keywords: Citizenship, Milan (Duchy), property rights, foreigners