5AAPHS17 History of Colonial Latin America
Module value: 15 credits
Years: 1 & 2
Module tutor: Dr Adrian Pearce
Assessment: One 2000 word tutorial essay (40%); One 2-hour examination (60%)
Teaching arrangements: 2 hours per week
The Spanish and Portuguese colonies in the New World constituted the largest and most enduring of all the European overseas empires. Covering a vast swathe of territory in North America, and virtually the whole of South America, they were brought under Iberian rule in the early sixteenth century and achieved emancipation only by the 1820s, more than three centuries later. This module provides a concise overview of the history of a period which continues to influence the character of the countries of the region, looking primarily at society and ethnicity, political life, and the economy.
The module begins with the European conquest of the Americas, seeking to place this event within broader global and historical perspective. Successive lectures focus on the fecund early colonial period, with sessions devoted to the ‘spiritual conquest’ of evangelisation of the native peoples, forced labour and its political and social repercussions, the character of early-colonial society, and the economy and its social repercussions (above all mining and the land). This section ends with a lecture which seeks to ‘situate’ the colonies at mid-seventeenth century, both with regard to Spain and Portugal, and in terms of a world system argued by Frank and others to have been anchored in China.
Later lectures focus on the eighteenth century and its denouement in the Wars of Independence of the 1810s and early 1820s. We consider sweeping projects of imperial reform aimed at curbing American autonomy and boosting the profitability of empire. We take as a case study the Andean region in the mid- to late 1700s, and the ‘Great Rebellion’of Jose Gabriel Túpaq Amaru in 1780-81. The final lectures discuss Independence itself, with a focus on the motivations and participation of both elite and non-elite sectors, and the interplay between events and developments in the metropolises and the colonies.
The module focuses on both Spanish America and Brazil, though with some weighting towards the former. It draws on the exceptionally rich literature of colonial Latin America, generated in the United States, the region itself, and Europe, which has fundamentally reshaped crucial aspects of our understanding of the period in recent years.
Andrien, Kenneth J., Andean Worlds: Indigenous History, Culture and Consciousness under Spanish Rule, 1532-1825 (Albuquerque: 2001).
Andrien, Kenneth J., The Human Tradition in Colonial Latin America (Wilmington: 2002).
Bethell, Leslie (ed.), Colonial Brazil (Cambridge: 1987).
Bethell, Leslie (ed.), Colonial Spanish America (Cambridge: 1987).
Burkholder, Mark, & Lyman Johnson, Colonial Latin America 6th ed. (Oxford: 2007).
Knight, Alan, Mexico: The Colonial Era (Cambridge: 2002).
Lockhart, James, Spanish Peru, 1532-1560: A Colonial Society (Madison: 1994).
Lynch, John, The Spanish-American Revolutions, 1808-1826 2nd ed. (Oxford: 1987).
Restall, Matthew, Seven Myths of the Spanish Conquest (Oxford: 2003)