Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-59b7f5684b-qn7h5 Total loading time: 0.598 Render date: 2022-10-04T15:45:31.885Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "displayNetworkTab": true, "displayNetworkMapGraph": true, "useSa": true } hasContentIssue true

9 - Spain and America in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries

from PART TWO - EUROPE AND AMERICA

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 March 2008

Get access

Summary

METROPOLITAN ASPIRATIONS

The Emperor Charles V adopted as his emblematic device the pillars of Hercules decorated with scrolls bearing the motto: Plus Ultra. When the device was first invented in 1516 it was essentially a humanist conceit designed to suggest that there would be no limits to the power and dominions of the young Charles of Ghent; but increasingly, as more and more of the New World was discovered and subjected to his rule, the device acquired a special kind of geographical appropriateness as the symbol of global empire.

Spain's conquest of America created the possibility of the first genuinely world-wide empire in human history, as Hernán Cortés was characteristically quick to perceive when he wrote to Charles from Mexico that it now lay within his power to become ‘monarch of the world’. Indeed, for Cortes, impressed by the might of Montezuma, Mexico constituted an empire in itself: ‘one might call oneself emperor of this kingdom with no less glory than that of Germany, which, by the Grace of God, Your Sacred Majesty already possesses’. For Charles V and his advisers, however, there could be only one empire in the world, the Holy Roman Empire; and even after Spain and the Empire were separated on the abdication of Charles in 1556, Philip II respected this convention by retaining the style of ‘king of Spain and the Indies’. Yet it became increasingly obvious that America had added a new, imperial dimension to the power of the king of Spain. Philip II and his successors might officially be no more than kings of the Indies, but that great chronicler of the New World, Gonzalo Fernandez de Oviedo, had written of ‘this occidental empire of these Indies’ as early as 1527, and the recurrent appearance, especially in the seventeenth century, of the phrase imperio de las Indias, and even of emperador de las Indias, testified to an underlying consciousness of American empire.

Type
Chapter
Information
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 1984

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

Casas, Bartolomé Las, In defense of the Indians, trans. Poole, Stafford (DeKalb, Illinois, 1974).
Cortes, Hernán, Letters from Mexico, ed. Pagden, A. R. (Oxford, 1972).
Dussel, Enrique, Let Evéques bispano-americains (Wiesbaden, 1970)
Elliott, J. H., Tbe revolt of the Catalans (Cambridge, 1965).
Grice-Hutchinson, Marjorie, The School of Salamanca (Oxford, 1952).
Hamilton, Earl J., American treasure ami tie price revolution in Spain, 1501–1650 (Cambridge, Mass., 1934).
Hanke, Lewis Los virreyes españoles en America durante el gobierno de la Casa de Austria, ed. (Biblioteca de Autores Españoles, CCLXXIII, Madrid, 1976), I.
Marín, F. Rodríguez, Estudios Cervantinos (Madrid, 1947).
Marzahl, Peter, ‘Creoles and government: the cabildo of Popayán’, Hispanic American Historical Review, 54 (1974).Google Scholar
Miranda, Jose Sumario de la natural bistoria de las Indias, ed. (Mexico, 1950).
Monbeig, Juliette Du Japon et du bon gouvernement de I'Espagne et del Indes, trans, and ed. (Paris, 1972).
O'Gonnan, Edmundo Mexico m 1554 y Túmulo Imperial, ed. (Mexico City, 1963).
Phelan, J. L., The kingdom of Quito in the seventeenth century (Madison, 1967).
Spedding, J. The works of Francis Baton, ed. (London, 1859), VII.
Stock, L. F., Proceedings and Debates of tie British Parliaments respecting North America (Washington, D.C., 1914), I.
Thompson, J. Eric S. Thomas Gage's Travels in the New World, ed. (Norman, Oklahoma, 1958).
3
Cited by

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×