The Spanish and Portuguese Empires in the Golden Age: 1450-1700

History 168A

Spring 2014
Day & Time: 
TuTh 1230-2P

This course will focus on the rise and development of early modern Europe's most powerful empires. Rising from the unlikely setting of a weak and fragmented Iberian peninsula in the fifteenth century, the Spanish and Portuguese Empires went on to become the world's first truly global powers. As such, they had a tremendous impact on the political, economic, cultural, and religious life of not only Iberia, but on significant parts of Europe and the New World. These were the empires of Henry the Navigator, Cervantes, Quevedo, Velasquez, and Vittoria. At the same time, they were also the powers that produced the conquistadors, the Inquisition, and Machiavelli's model prince, Ferdinand. The course will combine a chronological and thematic approach. While the lectures will focus on the dramatic narrative of the political and economic rise, expansion and decline of the empires from the later half of the fifteenth century through the seventeenth century, our readings and precepts will focus on the literary, artistic, social, and religious texts and themes that combined to create the sense that this was Spain and Portugal's Golden Age.

Course Books

Spiritual Exercises by St. Ignatius of Loyola Image. ISBN: 978-0385024365 Required
The Conquest of New Spain by Bernal Diaz del Castillo Penguin. ISBN: 978-0140441239 Required
The Lusiads by Luiz Vaz de Camoes Oxford. ISBN: 978-0199539963 Required
The Four Voyages by Christopher Columbus Penguin . ISBN: 978-0140442175 Required
A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies by Las Casas Penguin. ISBN: 978-0140445626 Required
Two Spanish Picaresque Novels by Quevedo Penguin. ISBN: 978-0140449006 Required
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes penguin. ISBN: 978-0142437230 Required
Autobiography by Theresa of Avila penguin. ISBN: 978-0140440737 Required
The Poem of the Cid by anonymous penguin. ISBN: 978-0143105657 Required