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

History 168A

Spring 2016
102 Wurster
Day & Time: 
TTh 11-12:30

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

The Conquest of New Spain by Bernal Diaz del Castillo Penguin Classics. ISBN: 978-0140441239 Required
The Lusiads by Luis Vaz de Camoes Penguin Classics. ISBN: 978-0199539963 Required
The Four Voyages by Christopher Columbus Penguin Classics. ISBN: 978-0140442175 Required
A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies by Bartolome de las Casas Penguin Classics. ISBN: 978-0140445626 Required
Two Spanish Picaresque Novels by francisco de quevedo Penguin Classics. ISBN: 978-0140449006 Required
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Penguin Classics. ISBN: 978-0142437230 Required
The Life of Saint Teresa of Avila by Herself by Teresa of Avila, trans. J.M. Cohen Penguin Classics. ISBN: 978-0140440737 Required
The Poem of the Cid by translation by Burton Raffel Penguin Classics. ISBN: 978-0143105657 Required