The Spanish Seaborne Empire

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University of California Press, 1990 - Biography & Autobiography - 416 pages
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The Spanish empire in America was the first of the great seaborne empires of western Europe; it was for long the richest and the most formidable, the focus of envy, fear, and hatred. Its haphazard beginning dates from 1492; it was to last more than three hundred years before breaking up in the early nineteenth century in civil wars between rival generals and "liberators."

Available now for the first time in paperback is J. H. Parry's classic assessment of the impact of Spain on the Americas. Parry presents a broad picture of the conquests of Cortčs and Pizarro and of the economic and social consequences in Spain of the effort to maintain control of vast holdings. He probes the complex administration of the empire, its economy, social structure, the influence of the Church, the destruction of the Indian cultures and the effect of their decline on Spanish policy. As we approach the quincentenary of Columbus's arrival in the Americas, Parry provides the historical basis for a new consideration of the former Spanish colonies of Latin America and the transformation of pre-Columbian cultures to colonial states.
 

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Contents

Introduction by J H Plumb
13
PROLOGUE The tradition of conquest
27
THE ESTABLISHMENT OF EMPIRE 1 Islands and mainland in the Ocean Sea
39
Seville and the Caribbean
53
The kingdoms of the sun
65
The conquerors
83
The society of conquest
99
The maritime lifeline
117
The enforcement of law
192
THE COST OF EMPIRE 11 Demographic catastrophe 313
213
Economic dependence
229
Peril by sea
251
THE ENDURANCE OF EMPIRE 14 Decline and recovery
273
Caribbean conflicts
292
Growth and reorganisation
307
THE DISINTEGRATION OF EMPIRE
327

THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF EMPIRE 7 Rights and duties
137
The spreading of the Faith
152
The ordering of society
173
The Creole revolt
344
CONCLUSION The aftermath of empire
361
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About the author (1990)

J. H. Parry (1914-1984) was educated at Cambridge and Harvard, taught at the University of the West Indies, the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, and the University of Wales. He was appointed Gardiner Professor of Oceanic History and Affairs at Harvard University in 1965. Among his many books are The Age of Reconnaissance and The Age of Discovery (California).

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