Entangled Empires: The Anglo-Iberian Atlantic, 1500-1830

Entangled Empires: The Anglo-Iberian Atlantic, 1500-1830

Entangled Empires: The Anglo-Iberian Atlantic, 1500-1830

Entangled Empires: The Anglo-Iberian Atlantic, 1500-1830


According to conventional wisdom, in the sixteenth century, Spain and Portugal served as a model to the English for how to go about establishing colonies in the New World and Africa. By the eighteenth century, however, it was Spain and Portugal that aspired to imitate the British. Editor Jorge Cañizares-Esguerra and the contributors to Entangled Empires challenge these long-standing assumptions, exploring how Spain, Britain, and Portugal shaped one another throughout the entire period, from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries. They argue that these empires were interconnected from the very outset in their production and sharing of knowledge as well as in their economic activities. Willingly or unwillingly, African slaves, Amerindians, converso traders, smugglers, missionaries, diplomats, settlers, soldiers, and pirates crossed geographical, linguistic, and political boundaries and cocreated not only local but also imperial histories. Contributors reveal that entanglement was not merely a process that influenced events in the colonies after their founding; it was constitutive of European empire from the beginning.

The essays in Entangled Empires seek to clarify the processes that rendered the intertwined histories of these colonial worlds invisible, including practices of archival erasure as well as selective memorialization. Bringing together a large geography and chronology, Entangled Empires emphasizes the importance of understanding connections, both intellectual and practical, between the English and Iberian imperial projects. The colonial history of the United States ought to be considered part of the history of colonial Latino-America just as Latin-American history should be understood as fundamental to the formation of the United States.

Contributors : Ernesto Bassi, Benjamin Breen, Jorge Cañizares-Esguerra, Bradley Dixon, Kristie Flannery, Eliga Gould, Michael Guasco, April Hatfield, Christopher Heaney, Christopher Schmidt-Nowara, Mark Sheaves, Holly Snyder, Cameron Strang.


Jorge Cañizares-Esguerra

Like Nehemiah, Thomas Dale rebuilt the temple of Jerusalem. As marshal and then governor of Virginia between 1611 and 1616, Dale brought marshal law to the disorganized Virginia plantation, introduced a new regime of private property to finally put an end to chronic famine, established peace treaties with the Powhatan and the Chickahominy, and had new cities like Henricus and Bermuda City built. the secretary of the Virginia Company Ralph Hamor devoted his 1615 True Discourse of the Present Estate of Virginia to the successes of the new Nehemiah in the new Jerusalem that was Virginia. Whereas Nehemiah had foreign Ammonites and Horonites, like Sanballath and Tobiah, willing to make pacts with treasonous local Jewish Levites to undermine the reconstruction of Jerusalem, Dale had foreign papists and irreligious merchant adventurers plotting against the success of the plantation. According to Hamor, success in Virginia meant the conversion of the natives away from the clutches of both Satan and Spain. Hamor thought that Algonquian heathens would “be brought to entertain the honour of the name and glory of Gospel of our Blessed Saviour.” One day, the natives would realize how lucky they were and “shall break out and cry in rapture of so inexplicable mercie: blessed be the King [James] and Prince [Henry] of England; blessed be the English Nation; blessed for ever be the most High God … that sent these English as angels to bring such glad tidings to us.”

Any casual reading of Hamor’s True Discourse shows the importance of the Spanish colonial experience to the English colonization of the New World. Like the Spaniards, the English sought to “civilize” and convert the Indians and subordinate them as tributaries of the crown. To describe this process, Hamor used the very term the Spaniards deployed, namely, to “reduce” (from the Latin to lead back): “What more honourable vnto our country, then to . . .

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