Atlantic History Iberian Empires, 1600-1800
by
Jane Landers
  • LAST MODIFIED: 10 May 2010
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199730414-0056

Introduction

By 1600 Spain had completed the conquests of the core areas of its vast empire and established an elaborate network of administrative, legal, religious, and commercial institutions. Viceregal capitals in Mexico City and Lima and hundreds of smaller municipalities attempted to recreate Spain in the New World. Persons born in the Iberian Peninsula were accorded the highest social status, but wealthy Creoles formed a local elite. From first contact, Europeans, Native Americans, and Africans created new mixed-race peoples in the Americas known as castas. American societies were further transformed in the 17th century by the decimation of native peoples and the resulting expansion of the African slave trade to the Spanish colonies. Elaborate naming and legal systems failed to enforce racial separation because factors such as education, wealth, and patronage networks could modify racial categories. Some form of Catholicism connected all the varied groups, although indigenous and African religions proved resilient. Portugal, meanwhile, established a royal colony in Brazil, headquartered in Salvador da Bahia, while also maintaining smaller trading posts (feitorias) scattered along the coasts of Africa and Asia. On the death of King Sebastian during a North African Crusade in 1578, Spain assumed control of the vacant Portuguese throne and held it from 1580 to 1640. The Atlantic consequences of this union were many. Dutch forces attacked and seized formerly Portuguese areas of Brazil and Africa. Dutch, French, and English corsairs also attacked Spanish silver fleets and cities around the Caribbean. In 1640, Portugal launched a war of independence against Spain, and in 1655 the British seized Jamaica. Over the course of the disastrous 17th century, a terrible cycle of droughts, famines, and epidemic diseases decimated remaining indigenous populations in the Americas, silver revenues dropped, and Spain entered a period of severe economic depression. Brazil also suffered economic decline after local forces finally ejected the Dutch from northern Brazil in 1654 and the Dutch transferred their sugar technology, investments, and slaves to the Caribbean. The Brazilian economy only revived at the end of the 17th century, when frontier slave raiders (bandeirantes) in search of indigenous captives discovered gold and diamonds in what is now the state of Minas Gerais. In 1700, Charles II died without an heir, and the War of the Spanish Succession ended with a French Bourbon ruling Spain. The Bourbon kings launched a major economic, administrative, and defensive overhaul of the weakened Spanish Empire, designed to enhance royal control and revenue flows. From 1750 to 1777 Portugal’s Minister of the Kingdom, the Marquis of Pombal, launched enlightened reforms similar to those of Spain, designed to centralize, modernize, and rationalize the administration of Brazil.

General Overviews

General works on this period often focus on the general decline of the Spanish economy, the decimation of indigenous populations, and resulting economic decline in the colonial economies, as well as the Bourbon and Pombaline reforms. For a general overview one should begin with The Cambridge History of Latin America (Bethell 1984–2008), a collection of essays by the top scholars of Latin America. Other excellent general treatments by senior scholars include Lockhart and Schwartz 1983 and McAlister 1984.

  • Bethell, Leslie, ed. The Cambridge History of Latin America. 11 vols. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1984–2008.

    E-mail Citation »

    This is the place to start for research on Latin American colonial history. Essays are by top scholars of Latin America and include critical bibliographies. Volumes 1 and 2 cover colonial Latin America, and both are now available online.

    Find this resource:

    • Lockhart, James, and Stuart B. Schwartz. Early Latin America: A History of Colonial Spanish America and Brazil. Cambridge Latin American Studies 46. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1983.

      E-mail Citation »

      Sophisticated volume by two of the foremost scholars of colonial Iberian America. Probably best suited to upper-division classes. Includes a useful annotated bibliography.

      Find this resource:

      • McAlister, Lyle N. Spain and Portugal in the New World, 1492–1700. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1984.

        E-mail Citation »

        Elegantly written survey that covers institutional and social history of both Iberian nations and their New World colonies.

        Find this resource:

        • Weber, David J. The Spanish Frontier in North America. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1992.

          E-mail Citation »

          A deeply researched work that was among the first to integrate histories of the Spanish frontiers across what is today the United States. Useful for thematic classes at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

          Find this resource:

          Textbooks and Surveys

          Good surveys for courses that cover Latin America history through the modern period include Eakin 2007 and Bakewell 1997. Brown 2005 is more detailed, since it covers only the colonial period. There are also several excellent collections of representative primary sources for Latin America designed for classroom use, including Boyer and Spurling 2000 and Mills, et al. 2002. Also very useful is Andrien 2002, which contains original essays by noted scholars on historical actors of indigenous or African descent.

          • Andrien, Kenneth J., ed. The Human Tradition in Colonial Latin America. Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 2002.

            E-mail Citation »

            This collection of essays features original research by noted scholars. The focus is on actors of indigenous or African descent, many of whom challenged the colonial order. Good for undergraduate classes.

            Find this resource:

            • Bakewell, Peter. A History of Latin America: Empires and Sequels, 1450–1930. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 1997.

              E-mail Citation »

              A well-written and detailed text of almost five hundred pages that is particularly strong on environment and economy. Includes good maps, photographs, and a glossary.

              Find this resource:

              • Boyer, Richard, and Geoffrey Spurling, eds. Colonial Lives: Documents on Latin American History, 1550–1850. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.

                E-mail Citation »

                An excellent collection of primary documents translated and analyzed by colonial specialists. Designed to explore the varieties of evidence for the cultural history of colonial Latin America. Useful in both advanced undergraduate and graduate classes.

                Find this resource:

                • Brown, Jonathan C. Latin America: A Social History of the Colonial Period. 2d ed. Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth, 2005.

                  E-mail Citation »

                  Good for use in an undergraduate colonial survey class. Includes indigenous groups like the Guaraní, as well as borderlands not generally covered in other texts of its kind.

                  Find this resource:

                  • Eakin, Marshall C. The History of Latin America: Collision of Cultures. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.

                    E-mail Citation »

                    A richly researched and well-written text by a master teacher, who also hosted the Teaching Company video series based on this book. Covers through the modern period and is excellent for use in undergraduate classes.

                    Find this resource:

                    • Mills, Kenneth, William B. Taylor, and Sandra Lauderdale Graham, eds. Colonial Latin America: A Documentary History. Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 2002.

                      E-mail Citation »

                      An excellent collection of primary documents and illustrations, introduced by the editors, all of whom are noted historians of Latin America. Includes useful bibliographies and is recommended for undergraduate classes.

                      Find this resource:

                      Reference Works

                      Among the most comprehensive published bibliographies of Latin America are Covington, et al. 1992 and Library of Congress’s Handbook of Latin American Studies. The primary encyclopedia to consult is Tenenbaum 1996. Stavig and Schmidt 2008 is an interesting anthology of sources on 18th-century indigenous revolts in the Andes.

                      • Covington, Paula H, David Block, Dan Hazen, Peter Johnson, and Barbara Valk, eds. Latin America and the Caribbean: A Critical Guide to Research Sources. New York: Greenwood, 1992.

                        E-mail Citation »

                        A National Endowment for the Humanities grant funded this invaluable bibliography, which features essays by top Latin American scholars. Each essay includes a critical bibliography. Researchers will need to consult some of the other bibliographies listed here for works published after 1992.

                        Find this resource:

                        • Hispanic American Periodicals Index (HAPI).

                          E-mail Citation »

                          References more than 275,000 journal article citations about Central America, South America, the Caribbean, Mexico, Brazil, and Hispanics/Latinos in the United States. Provides over sixty thousand links to the full text of articles appearing in more than six hundred key social science and humanities journals published throughout the world.

                          Find this resource:

                          • Library of Congress. Handbook of Latin American Studies Online.

                            E-mail Citation »

                            Edited by the Hispanic Division of the Library of Congress, the HLAS is a multidisciplinary bibliography of works selected and annotated by scholars. It alternates annually between the social sciences and the humanities and includes over five thousand works per year. Published continuously since 1936.

                            Find this resource:

                            • Stavig, Ward, and Ella Schmidt, eds. The Tupac Amaru and Catarista Rebellions: An Anthology of Sources. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett, 2008.

                              E-mail Citation »

                              Very useful anthology of sources on the most important 18th-century indigenous revolts in the Andes.

                              Find this resource:

                              • Tenenbaum, Barbara A., ed. Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture. 5 vols. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons Reference, 1996.

                                E-mail Citation »

                                Entries include brief bibliographies of key articles and books.

                                Find this resource:

                                Journals

                                The most important journal of colonial Latin American history remains the Hispanic American Historical Review. Other important journals covering the colonial period are The Americas, Ethnohistory, and Colonial Latin American Review, which is interdisciplinary. All but Colonial Latin American Review are searchable through JSTOR. The most useful databases for locating periodical literature are the Hispanic American Periodicals Index (HAPI), PRISMA, the Handbook of Latin American Studies Online (cited in Reference Works), JSTOR, and Historical Abstracts. JSTOR does not index the most recent three to five years, but Historical Abstracts indexes all, including the most recent issues. One should refer to the Luso-Brazilian Review for additional coverage on Brazil, and to Slavery and Abolition for related subjects on the Spanish and Portuguese colonies. The best guide to this literature is the Hispanic American Periodicals Index (HAPI), discussed in Reference Works.

                                • The Americas.

                                  E-mail Citation »

                                  Published by the Academy of American Franciscan History since 1944. This peer-reviewed journal includes articles and book reviews on the colonial history and ethnohistory of Latin America and is published by the Catholic University Press.

                                  Find this resource:

                                  • Colonial Latin American Review.

                                    E-mail Citation »

                                    Interdisciplinary peer-reviewed journal published since 1992 by Routledge. Covers history, anthropology, art, literature, and other disciplines, and includes articles, review essays, debates, and book reviews.

                                    Find this resource:

                                    • Ethnohistory.

                                      E-mail Citation »

                                      This multidisciplinary journal, launched in 1955, includes articles, review essays, and book reviews, and is published by Duke University Press. In the last decade it has included more work on the Iberian Atlantic.

                                      Find this resource:

                                      • Hispanic American Historical Review.

                                        E-mail Citation »

                                        The premiere journal in Latin American history and culture, published by Duke University Press. Launched in 1918, includes essays, review essays, and book reviews on the Iberian Atlantic.

                                        Find this resource:

                                        • Luso-Brazilian Review.

                                          E-mail Citation »

                                          This interdisciplinary journal is published semiannually by the University of Wisconsin Press and includes articles and book reviews on the Portuguese Atlantic in English and Portuguese.

                                          Find this resource:

                                          • Slavery and Abolition: A Journal of Slave and Post-Slave Studies..

                                            E-mail Citation »

                                            This interdisciplinary journal is published quarterly by Routledge and is the premier journal for slavery studies in the Atlantic World and beyond. Includes original essays, reviews, and documents (on occasion). Also publishes special thematic issues.

                                            Find this resource:

                                            Primary Sources

                                            Along with maps and illustrations, many of which can be found online, primary documents relating to the Iberian Empires are available in large part through the portal to the national archives of Spain, Portal de Archivos Españoles (PARES).

                                            Maps and Illustrations

                                            Among the most important primary collections of maps and illustrations are The Luso-Hispanic World in Maps at the Library of Congress and the collections held in the Archivo Histórico Nacional in Madrid (León Tello 1979). Handler and Tuite’s collection of images on slavery is the most valuable on its theme.

                                            • Handler, Jerome S., and Michael L. Tuite, Jr. The Atlantic Slave Trade and Slave Life in the Americas: A Visual Record.

                                              E-mail Citation »

                                              Includes more than 1,235 images arranged in eighteen categories from a diverse set of sources, many of which relate to slavery in the Iberian Atlantic World.

                                              Find this resource:

                                              • León Tello, Pilar. Mapas, planos y dibujos de la Sección de Estado en el Archivo Histórico Nacional. Madrid, Spain: Ministerio de Cultura, 1979.

                                                E-mail Citation »

                                                Contains 386 maps, plans, and drawings from the collections of la Sección de Estado of the historical archive. Materials are mainly of the 18th and 19th centuries and include 124 printed and manuscript maps relating to America.

                                                Find this resource:

                                                • The Luso-Hispanic World in Maps: A Selective Guide to Manuscript Maps to 1900 in the Collections of the Library of Congress.

                                                  E-mail Citation »

                                                  Includes more than one thousand maps of five continents produced by cartographers from Spain, Portugal, France, the Netherlands, Great Britain, various Latin American countries, and the United States over a 350-year period. Includes military maps (including plans of fortifications and attack), maps of land ownership, maps produced by scientific expeditions, territorial boundary maps, and maps related to commercial development, among others.

                                                  Find this resource:

                                                  Documents

                                                  The single most important source for primary documents, maps, and illustration for the Spanish Atlantic world is the amazing portal of Spain’s national-archive system, Portal de Archivos Españoles (PARES). This wonderful tool allows researchers to search seven major Spanish archives simultaneously or individually. These hold millions of documents of all kinds, dating to the Middle Ages in some cases, and many are digitalized. The second most important source for primary materials on the Hispanic and Portuguese Atlantic is the US Library of Congress; see Hébert 1996 for a guide to the relevant collections. Other important collections of primary materials are held in archives of US universities with strong programs in Latin American studies, such as the University of Texas and the University of California (both of which focus heavily on Mexico and the US Southwest), the University of Florida (which holds unparalleled materials on the Spanish Caribbean and the Southeastern and Gulf regions of the modern United States), and Tulane University (which has important Mesoamerican collections). An important multivolume documentary collection for Spanish America is Konetzke 1953–1962. Primary accounts of scientific expeditions to Spanish America, such as Humboldt 2001, and Juan and Ulloa 1978 are also available in English.

                                                  • Hébert, John R. Library of Congress Hispanic and Portuguese Collections: An Illustrated Guide. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 1996.

                                                    E-mail Citation »

                                                    The Hispanic and Portuguese Collections of the Library of Congress are the most extensive in the world and include more than ten million books, maps, periodicals, government serials, and newspapers, dealing with Spanish and Portuguese expansion into the Atlantic, Native American cultures, and the colonial histories of Spain, Portugal, France, and England in what is now the Caribbean, the United States, and Latin America.

                                                    Find this resource:

                                                    • Humboldt, Alexander von. The Island of Cuba: A Political Essay. Translated by J. S. Thrasher. Princeton, NJ: Markus Weiner, 2001.

                                                      E-mail Citation »

                                                      Translation and preliminary essay by by J. S. Thrasher. Introduction by Luís Martínez-Fernández. Humboldt was a German scientist who traveled to Cuba in 1800 and commented on the economy, society, politics, and racial composition of the island.

                                                      Find this resource:

                                                      • Juan, Jorge, and Antonio de Ulloa. Discourse and Political Reflections on the Kingdoms of Peru: Their Government, Special Regimen of Their Inhabitants, and Abuses Which Have Been Introduced into One and Another. Edited by John J. TePaske; translated by John J. TePaske and Besse A. Clement. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1978.

                                                        E-mail Citation »

                                                        A translated account of the Noticias secretas de América, an account by Spanish bureaucrats and scientists of their official expedition to South America. Includes commentary on the geography, economy, politics, and society of South America in the mid-18th century.

                                                        Find this resource:

                                                        • Konetzke, Richard, ed. Colección de documentos para la historia de la formación social de Hispanoamérica, 1493–1810. 3 vols. Madrid, Spain: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, 1953–1962.

                                                          E-mail Citation »

                                                          An excellent collection in three volumes and five parts, organized chronologically and by theme.

                                                          Find this resource:

                                                          • The Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection.

                                                            E-mail Citation »

                                                            Holds an important array of rare manuscripts, books, maps, and photographs on subjects as diverse as evangelization of the Native Americas, Mexico’s early sugar and mining industries, French and US interventions in Mexico, and more.

                                                            Find this resource:

                                                            • Portal de Archivos Españoles (PARES).

                                                              E-mail Citation »

                                                              The Internet portal of twelve major archives of Spain and two national centers of documentation. It easily searches them all and provides amazing access to millions of documents, many of them digitized.

                                                              Find this resource:

                                                              Race, Culture, and Society

                                                              A number of fine works address race, culture, and society in the mature colonies, much of it focused on the viceregal capital of Mexico. Cope 1994 is one of the earliest works to recognize that the casta system was not as fixed as first conceived. Stern 1995 examines connections between power and violence in gender politics in late colonial Mexico. Taylor 1996 analyzes Bourbon-era tensions between Mexican parishioners and their priests. Eltis and Richardson 2008 is an edited collection that provides the latest research on the African slave trade to the Americas. Sweet 2003 connects African and Brazilian cultural patterns. Several works examine race, culture, and society on the fringes of the Spanish empire. Ganson 2003 examines Jesuit-Guaraní relations on the Río de la Plata frontier and the disruption of the Bourbon period. Landers 1999 examines how a diverse group of African descent, free and enslaved, negotiated political, social, and economic rights on a Spanish Atlantic frontier, while Weber 2005 analyzes Spanish attempts to incorporate previously isolated indigenous people on the northern and southern frontiers into the Bourbon economy.

                                                              • Cope, R. Douglas. The Limits of Racial Domination: Plebeian Society in Colonial Mexico, 1660–1720. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1994.

                                                                E-mail Citation »

                                                                Analyzes marriage and burial records, wills, and criminal records of casta populations in Mexico City to show the fluidity of racial designations.

                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                • Eltis, David, and David Richardson, eds. Extending the Frontiers: Essays on the New Transatlantic Slave Trade Voyages Database. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2008.

                                                                  E-mail Citation »

                                                                  Includes essays on: the earliest Iberian Atlantic slave trade into the Caribbean by Antonio de Almeida Mendes; Africans in Cuba by Oscar Grandío Moráguez; and the slave trade to various Brazilian ports by Daniel Barros Domingues da Silva, David Eltis, Alexandre Vieira Ribeiro, and Manolo Florentino. One should also consult Voyages: The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database, which is frequently updated.

                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                  • Ganson, Barbara. The Guaraní under Spanish Rule in the Río de la Plata. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2003.

                                                                    E-mail Citation »

                                                                    Important archival study of Guaraní-Jesuit interaction in the Río de la Plata region. Covers the Treaty of Madrid, which transferred some missions to Portuguese control, as well as the resulting Guaraní War of 1750, and examines the impact on the Guaraní of the expulsion of the Jesuits in 1767–1768.

                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                    • Landers, Jane. Black Society in Spanish Florida. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1999.

                                                                      E-mail Citation »

                                                                      Based on extensive archival research and archaeological evidence, this work shows how a multicultural black society, free and enslaved, exploited Spanish necessity to gain political, economic, and social rights on a contested frontier.

                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                      • Stern, Steve J. The Secret History of Gender: Women, Men, and Power in Late Colonial Mexico. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1995.

                                                                        E-mail Citation »

                                                                        A deeply researched exploration of gender rights, power struggles, and violence, and how these forces shaped society, culture, and eventually politics in distinct regions of late colonial Mexico. Debunks traditional stereotypes. Includes valuable tables and extensive notes.

                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                        • Sweet, James H. Recreating Africa: Culture, Kinship, and Religion in the African-Portuguese World, 1441–1770. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003.

                                                                          E-mail Citation »

                                                                          One of the first works in English to connect African cultural patterns to those found in Portugal and Brazil. Based on archival research in the Inquisition records of Lisbon as well as secondary works on Africa, Portugal, and Brazil.

                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                          • Taylor, William B. Magistrates of the Sacred: Priests and Parishioners in Eighteenth-Century Mexico. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1996.

                                                                            E-mail Citation »

                                                                            A masterful work by one of the most respected historians of colonial Mexico. Taylor analyzes the tensions between priests and indigenous societies during the Bourbon reforms of the 18th century.

                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                            • Weber, David J. Bárbaros: Spaniards and Their Savages in the Age of Enlightenment. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2005.

                                                                              E-mail Citation »

                                                                              Deeply researched and well written, this work analyzes how Enlightenment ideas shifted Spanish Indian policy on the frontiers of North and South America, from missionization to economic integration. Includes an extensive bibliography.

                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                              17th-Century Depression

                                                                              After estimating dramatic declines in indigenous populations in New Spain, historical demographer Woodrow Borah first posited the idea of the 17th-century depression caused by labor shortages (Borah 1951). Chaunu and Chaunu 1955–1959 next utilized shipping records to track reduced flows of silver and other commodities in the Americas, and Bakewell 1971 is a case study of the decline in the silver economy of Zacatecas. Works like Lynch 1984 argue instead that “Spain’s recession was America’s growth,” and MacLeod 2008 demonstrates that certain local industries and intercolonial trade actually flourished in this period. Schwartz 1985 and Novais 1991 track the economic decline in the Brazilian sugar economy after the expulsion of the Dutch in the mid-17th century.

                                                                              • Bakewell, P. J. Silver Mining and Society in Colonial Mexico: Zacatecas, 1546–1700. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1971.

                                                                                E-mail Citation »

                                                                                Valuable archival study of the silver-mining industry in Zacatecas. Bakewell challenges the conclusions of Borah 1951 on New Spain’s century of depression, based on a reinterpretation of external trade statistics.

                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                • Borah, Woodrow. New Spain’s Century of Depression. Ibero-Americana 35. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1951.

                                                                                  E-mail Citation »

                                                                                  This brief volume by a member of the famed “Berkeley School” of historical demography links the 17th-century economic depression of New Spain to the decimation of Indian labor and is considered one of the most important works of 20th-century economic history.

                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                  • Chaunu, Huguette, and Pierre Chaunu. Séville et l’Atlantique, 1504–1650. 11 vols. Paris: Colin, 1955–1959.

                                                                                    E-mail Citation »

                                                                                    This exhaustive piece of research, undertaken over many years in the customs records of the Archivo General de Indias in Seville, focuses on transatlantic shipping, including the Atlantic slave trade. Features detailed analysis of source materials in the footnotes.

                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                    • Lynch, John. Spain under the Habsburgs. Vol. 2, Spain and America, 1598–1700. 2d ed. New York: New York University Press, 1984.

                                                                                      E-mail Citation »

                                                                                      In this key work, Lynch argues that “Spain’s recession was America’s growth,” and that local industry and trade was stimulated when Spain’s fleets could not provide the colonies’ customary imports.

                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                      • MacLeod, Murdo J. Spanish Central America: A Socioeconomic History, 1520–1720. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2008.

                                                                                        E-mail Citation »

                                                                                        Updated edition of a 1973 landmark study of economic depression and recovery in Central America by one of the foremost scholars of colonial Mesoamerica. Based on intensive archival research and elegantly written.

                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                        • Novais, Fernando A. “Brazil in the Old Colonial System.” In Brazil and the World System. Edited by Richard Graham, 11–56. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1991.

                                                                                          E-mail Citation »

                                                                                          English synthesis of Novais’s important work Portugal e Brasil na crise do antigo sistema colonial (1777–1808) (Sao Paulo, Brazil: Editora HUCITEC, 1979).

                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                          • Schwartz, Stuart B. Sugar Plantations in the Formation of Brazilian Society: Bahia, 1550–1835. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1985.

                                                                                            E-mail Citation »

                                                                                            Exhaustive archival research by one of the foremost scholars of colonial Brazil. Covers the rise and decline of Brazil’s plantation economy and how it shaped society. Includes valuable tables, a glossary, and an essay on sources.

                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                            • Studnicki-Gizbert, Daviken. A Nation upon the Ocean Sea: Portugal’s Atlantic Diaspora and the Crisis of the Spanish Empire, 1492–1640. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.

                                                                                              E-mail Citation »

                                                                                              An important study of Portuguese transatlantic mercantile networks, focused primarily on Mexico City, Cartagena (Colombia), and Lima. Argues for the early formation of a Portuguese “Nation.”

                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                              Enlightenment Reforms

                                                                                              Many historians focused on the impact of Enlightenment thinking and the Bourbon and Pombaline reforms in specific regions of Latin America. Fisher, et al. 1990 is an edited collection focused on northern South America. McFarlane 1993 is a detailed study of Bourbon rule in Colombia. Fisher 2003 is an important synthetic overview of the Bourbon reforms in Spain and the Spanish colonies, while Stein and Stein 2003 and Stein and Stein 2009 focus on the reign of Charles III, during which many of the most significant reforms were undertaken. Most of these studies focus on the array of important institutional and economic transformations enacted in the 18th century. Maxwell 1995 is an important study of the Marquis of Pombal’s reforms in Brazil. Díaz 2000 and Twinam 1999 examine social aspects of the Bourbon reforms in Spanish America.

                                                                                              • Díaz, María Elena. The Virgin, the King, and the Royal Slaves of El Cobre: Negotiating Freedom in Colonial Cuba, 1670–1780. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2000.

                                                                                                E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                Archival study of a unique group of Cuban copper-mining slaves who sent a delegation to Spain and used their status as royal slaves to pursue rights during the Bourbon era.

                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                • Fisher, John. Bourbon Peru: 1750–1824. Liverpool, UK: Liverpool University Press, 2003.

                                                                                                  E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                  A useful synthesis by one of Britain’s foremost historians of the Bourbon period and of the viceroyalty of Peru. Based on extensive archival research in Peru and Spain, it addresses Spain’s economic and political reforms in this critical mining colony, as well as the multiracial nature of its society. Also covers the Túpac Amaru revolt and moves toward independence.

                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                  • Fisher, John R., Allan J. Kuethe, and Anthony McFarlane, eds. Reform and Insurrection in Bourbon New Granada and Peru. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1990.

                                                                                                    E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                    An older but still valuable collection of original essays by noted scholars of the region. Includes essays on mining, the military, smuggling, economic and commercial reforms, and the urban protests these reforms triggered.

                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                    • Maxwell, Kenneth. Pombal, Paradox of Enlightenment. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

                                                                                                      E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                      Important and well-written work on Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, the Marquis of Pombal and Portuguese Minister of the Kingdom, who was responsible for major enlightened reforms in Brazil while also strengthening absolutism in Portugal.

                                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                                      • McFarlane, Anthony. Colombia before Independence: Economy, Society, and Politics under Bourbon Rule. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993.

                                                                                                        E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                        A detailed study of Colombia from 1700 to 1810, covering geography, demography, and political economy, with great attention to gold mining, commerce, and the imposition of Bourbon taxes and controls that triggered the Comunero rebellion. Includes valuable tables of population, gold production, and other exports by region, and an extensive bibliography.

                                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                                        • Stein, Stanley J., and Barbara H. Stein. Silver, Trade and War: Spain and America in the Making of Early Modern Europe. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000.

                                                                                                          E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                          The first in a trilogy by these noted experts, this work traces Spain’s early transition from medieval economic structures to commercial capitalism, funded by American silver. Also discusses French and English challenges to Spanish hegemony, Spain’s economic decline under the Hapsburgs, and Bourbon attempts to revive Spain’s economy in the 18th century.

                                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                                          • Stein, Stanley J., and Barbara H. Stein. Apogee of Empire: Spain and New Spain in the Age of Charles III, 1759–1789. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003.

                                                                                                            E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                            An important and deeply researched study of the failed reforms of Charles III to try to modernize and revitalize Spain’s stagnant economy. A major focus is Spain’s shift to comercio libre, or free trade. A second focus is Spain’s dependency on silver from New Spain. Continues the study begun by these noted historians in Stein and Stein 2000.

                                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                                            • Stein, Barbara H., and Stanley J. Stein. Edge of Crisis: War and Trade in the Spanish Atlantic, 1789–1808. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009.

                                                                                                              E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                              Third volume in a trilogy examining Spain’s failed attempts to control transatlantic trade as the global economy shifted from commercial to industrial capitalism.

                                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                                              • Twinam, Ann. Public Lives, Private Secrets: Gender, Honor, Sexuality, and Illegitimacy in Colonial Spanish America. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1999.

                                                                                                                E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                Archival study of illegitimacy among elites in the Spanish colonies and how social and legal systems devised mechanism to protect their honor.

                                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                                Rebellions and Revolutions

                                                                                                                The Bourbon and Pombaline reforms produced a series of protests and rebellions by those groups most oppressed by increased enforcement of tax and tribute collections, European usurpation of indigenous lands or political power, and other forms of cultural violence. The older study of New Granada’s Comunero Revolt, Phelan 1978, is updated by Mond 1993. Serulnikov 2003 covers the Andean revolts by Túpac Amaru and Túpac Catari, while Stavig 1999 focuses on the former. Langfur 2006 breaks new ground by covering contemporary violence between indigenous people and settlers in eastern Minas Gerais, Brazil.

                                                                                                                • Langfur, Hal. The Forbidden Lands: Colonial Identity, Frontier Violence, and the Persistence of Brazil’s Eastern Indians, 1750–1830. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2006.

                                                                                                                  E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                  Innovative study of the frontier violence that occurred when the Portuguese Crown attempted to curtail gold smuggling and tax evasion in eastern Minas Gerais by making indigenous lands off-limits to settlers. Langfur finds a “cult of terror” created by the interethnic violence.

                                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                                  • Mond, Rebecca Earle. “Indian Rebellion and Bourbon Reform in New Granada: Riots in Pasto, 1780–1800.” Hispanic American Historical Review 73.1 (1993): 99–124.

                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.2307/2517631E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                    A detailed case study, based on extensive archival research, of mob violence and the murder of the local governor attempting to establish a royal monopoly on aguardiente. Useful for teaching.

                                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                                    • Phelan, John Leddy. The People and the King: The Comunero Revolution in Colombia, 1781. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1978.

                                                                                                                      E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                      Analyzes the Creole revolt against increased Bourbon taxation and monopolies, which became organized into councils of elected representatives before being crushed.

                                                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                                                      • Serulnikov, Sergio. Subverting Colonial Authority: Challenges to Spanish Rule in Eighteenth-Century Southern Andes. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2003.

                                                                                                                        E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                        Traces the causes of indigenous protests and organization of reformist and restorationist groups who sought legitimacy through connections to the Inca rulers of the 16th century.

                                                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                                                        • Stavig, Ward. The World of Túpac Amaru: Conflict, Community, and Identity in Colonial Peru. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1999.

                                                                                                                          E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                          Archivally based study of the revolt of Túpac Amaru II, a privileged mestizo from Cuzco who adopted Inca identity and authority to lead a revolt against the Bourbon reforms and the changes they imposed on indigenous communities and values.

                                                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                                                          back to top

                                                                                                                          Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.

                                                                                                                          How to Subscribe

                                                                                                                          Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions and individuals. For more information or to contact an Oxford Sales Representative click here.

                                                                                                                          Purchase an Ebook Version of This Article

                                                                                                                          Ebooks of the Oxford Bibliographies Online subject articles are available in North America via a number of retailers including Amazon, vitalsource, and more. Simply search on their sites for Oxford Bibliographies Online Research Guides and your desired subject article.

                                                                                                                          If you would like to purchase an eBook article and live outside North America please email onlinemarketing@oup.com to express your interest.

                                                                                                                          Article

                                                                                                                          Up

                                                                                                                          Down