ESIL Interest Group History of International Law

ESIL Interest Group History of International Law

donderdag 13 december 2018

BOOK REVIEW: Jorge Díaz CEBALLOS reviews Jorge CAÑIZARES-EGUERA, Entangled Empires: The Anglo-Iberian Atlantic, 1500-1830 (Philadelphia: University of Philadelphia Press, 2018), 344 p. ISBN 9780812249835, 55 USD [H-DIPLO]

(image source: HNet)

First paragraph:

In his influential book, which appeared in 1970, The Old World and the New, John H. Elliott traced the origins and development of European’s perception of the New World since 1492. Elliott emphasized how nineteenth-century historiography set the standards of interpretation for this event, creating a “Europocentric conception of history” that celebrated, in a somewhat optimistic fashion, the pursuits and the impact of European nations in faraway lands.[1] That conception of history was based on a liberal interpretation of history as a linear and uninterrupted path of progress. According to Elliott, twentieth-century historiography maintained the interpretation of European’s conquest of the New World. The difference was that twentieth-century scholars wrote about “European superiority” “burdened with the consciousness of European guilt.”[2] Although Elliott’s historiographic analysis only covered books published until 1970, his conclusions remained valid until recent times. This book has had a long-lasting influence on scholars working on the relationship between the New World and Old; two congresses, later published in books, even sprang from that influence.[3] Elliott’s own chapter in one of these books qualified as “blunted” the impact between Renaissance Europe and America, and declared that, in the moment of the first contact a linear advance did not start; instead “we find ourselves at the beginning of a winding road which twists back on itself, and involves retreats, advances, and more than one false start.”[4] That very spirit moved Elliott’s own research on a comparative history of Spanish and British Empires in the New World to a very well-built monographic study of the conquest and colonization of America by the two nations. Elliott’s Empires of the Atlantic World: Britain and Spain in America 1492-1830 (2006), although deepened by his analysis, was constructed with a parallel structure that compared two empires chronologically and thematically.



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(source: H-Diplo)