Empire by Henry Kamen
How Spain Became a World Power, 1492-1763

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Synopsis

How did a barren, thinly populated country, somewhat isolated from the rest of Europe, establish itself as the world's first superpower? Henry Kamen's impressive new book offers a fresh and highly original answer.

Empire is a global survey of the two and a halt centuries (from the late fifteenth to the mid-eighteenth) in which the Spaniards established the most extensive empire the world had ever known, ranging from Naples and the Netherlands to the Philippines. Unlike previous accounts, which have presented the Empire as a direct consequence of Spanish power, this provocative work of history emphasizes the inability of Spain to run an imperial enterprise by itself The role of conquest was deceptive. Spain's rise to power was actually made possible by the collaboration of international business interests, including Italian financiers, German technicians and Dutch traders, in the task of setting up networks of contact ranging across the oceans. At the height of its apparent power, the Spanish Empire was in reality a global enterprise in which non-Spaniards -- Portuguese, Basque, Aztec, Genoese, Chinese, Flemish, West African, Incan and Neapolitan -- played an essential role. It is this vast diversity of resources and people (which included many of its greatest adventurers and soldiers) that made Spain's power so overwhelming.

There is no better account in English of this time. Henry Kamen's book provides a highly relevant analysis of the origins and nature of imperial power, and of global economic activity. Challenging, persuasive and unique in its thesis, Empire explores Spain's complex impact on world history with admirable clarity and intelligence.

 

About Henry Kamen

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Henry Kamen is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society in London and an emeritus professor of the Higher Council for Scientific Research in Barcelona. He is the author of Empire: How Spain Became a Great Power, 1492-1763, as well as several other books on Spain. He divides his time between Barcelona and the United States.
 
Published March 4, 2003 by Harper. 640 pages
Genres: History, Travel. Non-fiction

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where formerly it had been a congeries of small kingdoms united only provisionally by the task of driving out the Moors, in the face of the common goal of subduing faraway lands “the Galician, the proud Asturian and the rude inhabitant of the Pyrenees,” in the words of a contemporary observer, jo...

Mar 01 2003 | Read Full Review of Empire: How Spain Became a Wo...

The Guardian

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Spain's Road to Empire by Henry Kamen Allen Lane, Penguin Press $25, pp640 There is an inevitable Stars Wars touch to modern perceptions of empire building.

Dec 08 2002 | Read Full Review of Empire: How Spain Became a Wo...

The Guardian

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Spain's Road to Empire by Henry Kamen 640pp, Allen Lane, £25 The conquistadores were wrongly named.

Feb 01 2003 | Read Full Review of Empire: How Spain Became a Wo...

Publishers Weekly

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Whether the term "globalization" is defined as the global imposition of a hegemonic culture or as a more creative dynamic of global interactivity, it's nothing new—it can be traced at least as far back as the Spanish Empire of the 16th and 17th centuries.

Feb 24 2003 | Read Full Review of Empire: How Spain Became a Wo...

BC Books

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Twenty years ago, Empire and its best known hit song, "Silent Lucidity" was my introduction to Bellevue, Washington's heavy metal/prog metal band Queensryche.

Nov 26 2010 | Read Full Review of Empire: How Spain Became a Wo...

London Review of Books

According to him, Spain did not make the Spanish Empire, the Empire made Spain.

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