The purpose of this course is to provide students with a solid knowledge of the general trends that characterized the Spanish Empire from 1450 to 1800. Through readings of primary and secondary sources that offer a complex vision of the cultural, religious, ethnic, intellectual and economic contexts and processes, students will be able to appreciate the intricacies of historical evolution and human undertakings. Spain in the middle of the fifteenth century was a country in disarray, ripped by civil and foreign wars. Less than a century later, Spain was a worldwide power with control over the entire Iberian Peninsula, parts of Italy, Central Europe, and numerous colonies in the Americas, Asia, and Africa. By the second half of the seventeenth century, however, Spain had lost its power in Europe and in Asia. The course focuses on the rise and decline of the Spanish monarchy: the conditions that enabled Spain to become the most powerful monarchy in early modern times, and the conditions that led to its decline. This course also touches upon other important aspects critical to understanding Golden Age Spain: the relationships among Christians, Muslims and Jews, and when and why these relationships shifted from coexistence to persecution and expulsion of Muslims and Jews. The analysis of this topic requires an examination of the Spanish militant church (best represented by the Inquisition and the Jesuits), as well as of the opposition to the imposition of religious orthodoxy. This course also covers the conquest and colonization of the Americas; the cultural repercussions of the encounter with the Inca, Aztec and Maya civilizations; the debates on Spain's rights to control the Americas and on Spanish destruction of the indigenous societies and cultures. We will also discuss Spanish expansion in Asia and Africa. Last, we will study the events that led to Spain's defeat by other European powers as well as rebellions against the authority of the Spanish monarchy, both inside and outside the Iberian Peninsula. The course will end with discussions of the reign of Charles II (the last Spanish Habsburg), the civil and international war that ensued after his death, and the attempts at reforming the monarchy and empire during the eighteenth century.
Day and Time: 
TR 1030AM-1200PM
Cross Listings: 
  • LALS179401
  • ROML250401
Registration Notes: