How the Spanish Empire Was Built

Felipe Fernández-Armesto


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Reaktion Books
14 March 2024
ISBN: 9781789148404
480 pages

From the publisher

"Sixteenth-century Spain was small, poor, disunited and sparsely populated. Yet the Spaniards and their allies built the largest empire the world had ever seen. How did they achieve this? Felipe Fernandez-Armesto and Manuel Lucena Giraldo argue that Spain's engineers were critical to this venture. The Spanish invested in infrastructure to the advantage of local power brokers, enhancing the abilities of incumbent elites to grow wealthy on trade, and widening the arc of Spanish influence. Bringing to life stories of engineers, prospectors, soldiers and priests, the authors paint a vivid portrait of Spanish America in the age of conquest. This is a dazzling new history of the Spanish Empire, and a new understanding of empire itself, as a venture marked as much by collaboration as oppression."