I believe contract cards -always- trigger - in player order - from the first player marker. After all contract cards, then the spaces activate.
Correct, but the contracts are resolved Action Area by Action Area. So when starting Action Area A contracts are resolved that are relative to that area, then the actions in that area are resolved. Then move on to Action Area B. Contracts that are relative to that area are resolved, then move on to actions in that area. Then move on to the next Action Area and so on.