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Preface This book is about the interaction of Spaniards and Portuguese and numerous Indian and African peoples in a "New World" over a span of two centuries. It may help readers to find their way over the varied terrain ahead if I identify some of the conceptual and organizational problems I encountered while planning and writing and explain how I resolved them. First, a word about the identities of the Europeans. Until the eve of American expansion Spain was only a geographical and cultural concept. It consisted of a peninsula bound by the Pyrenees, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Mediterranean Sea, and of the folk who dwelt within these confines. Its names—Spain in English, Espana in Castilian,Espanha in Portuguese —all derived from Roman Hispania. In the Middle Ages the "Hispanic peoples" included Castilians, Leonese, Basques, Galicians, Navarrese, Aragonese, Catalans, and Portuguese, organized politically into separate kingdoms and counties. Portugal retained its identity as a state and a nation into modern times. The other polities gradually conjoined through a series of dynastic unions culminating in the marriage of Ferdinand of Aragon to Isabella of Castile. The state so formed became known as Spain. It was not yet a nation, however, for its constituent kingdoms and counties retained their cultural and constitutional identities. Spanish discovery, conquest, and colonization were mainly the enterprises of the Crown of Castile and its subjects. However, I have followed convention and described them as the work of Spain and Spaniards, except when the context requires attribution to Castile or to Castilians. When referring collectively to Spanish and Portuguese actions in America and their results, I use the adjective "Hispanic" rather than "Iberian" or "Latin American," for the common xni x i v P R E F A C E homeland of Portuguese as well as Spaniards was then Hispania. Long before the American discovery, the ancient Iberians had been Hispanicized, so to speak, and Iberia was re-created in modern times, principally as a geographical concept. Latin America likewise is a modern invention. As a basis for ordering the book, I experimented with fitting events into long-term demographic and economic structures or into general system models such as dependency structures or the rise of capitalism in the West, but found that I had too many good pieces left over. I therefore fell back on developing several key themes that struck me as providingunity, continuity, and meaning to Hispanic expansion in America. The themes chosen were: (1) the effects of vast distances and extraordinary extremes of terrain and climate on the direction and forms of Hispanic action in the New World; (2)the enormous efforts made by Spain and, within its means, Portugal, to create and to colonize territorial empires in those regions; (3) the elaborate structures that both monarchies developed to give justice and good government to their American subjects as well as to exploit them; (4) the formation of American societies with their own reasons for being; (5) the contradictions and tensions among these several processes; (6) the archaic qualities of American societies and imperial systems; and (7) the great^ durability of these societies and systems. The book is periodized in a more or less traditional way. Part I deals with the experiences of the Hispanic peoples at home and abroad from roughly the ninth century A.D. to the first American discoveries. This is a lot of ground to cover and the number of pages consumed may appear excessive. But Hispanic expansion in America was not a sudden or random phenomenon. It was a temporal and spatial extension of centuries of experiences gained in peninsular wars against the Moors; dynastic and commercial enterprises in the Mediterranean; and discoveries, conquests, and colonizations in Africa and the Atlantic islands. I have therefore tried to do more than sketch out a "background," a concept that skews the balance and violates the unity of history : I have endeavored to identify and explain persistent continuities in the behavior of Spaniards and Portuguese in the Old World and the New. The second period, part II of the book, extends from the discovery of the New World into the 1560s. It is interpreted as an epoch of dynamic activity, including the rapid uncovering of the coastlines and the exploration of the interiors of two continents, the acquisition and organization of vast territories and innumerable subject peoples, the formation of the main components of an American population, the establishment of basic patterns of economic P R E F A C...


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