Early Latin America, a history of colonial Spanish America and Brazil
The great eighteenth-century Scottish historian William Robertson wrote that the Iberians, 'having acquired a species of dominion formerly unknown, adopted a plan for exercising it, to which nothing similar occurs in the history of human affairs.' So how did that Portuguese and Spanish dominion come about, and what internal and external factors affected it? We look to Early Latin America for an answer, since anything jointly written by Lockhart and Schwartz raises expectations. And they will not be disappointed. In little more than 400 pages the history of the Iberians' American possessions is surveyed, distilled and sometimes reinterpreted. The need for this was the keener because so much new material has appeared in recent years.
The book is divided in three. 'The Context' first discusses Iberian society at home, and then the indigenous cultures it was to confront in the New World. The main section of the book,, in six chapters, examines the origins and then the 'Middle Times' (1580-1750) of society in the central areas of Mexico and Peru; in Brazil; and in 'fringe' zones such as Chile, southern Brazil, Amazonia, Venezuela, etc. The closing section ('Reorientations') surveys late colonial times, the Bourbon reforms, the Enlightenment, and the coming of independence. Though footnotes are omitted (as being irrelevant for newcomers and general readers, and unnecessary for professionals) there is a critical bibliography of books, articles and available theses. This section is introduced by a valuable essay.
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