A Missionary Nation


A Missionary Nation

Race, Religion, and Spain's Age of Liberal Imperialism, 1841–1881

Scott Eastman

252 pages
7 photographs, 14 illustrations, 2 maps, index


October 2021


$60.00 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

October 2021


$60.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

October 2021


$60.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

A Missionary Nation focuses on Spain’s crusade to resurrect its empire, beginning with the so-called War of Africa. Fought in Morocco between 1859 and 1860, the campaign involved more than forty-five thousand troops and led to a long-lasting Spanish engagement in North Africa. With popular support, the government backed French invasions of Indochina and Mexico, and many veteran soldiers from the African war were reenlisted in the brutal and protracted conflict following the reannexation of the Dominican Republic in 1861. In addition, expeditions to West Africa built a colonial presence in and around the island of Fernando Po.

Few works in English have examined the impact of these nineteenth-century imperial ventures on Spanish identity, notions of race, and culture. Agents of empire—from journalists and diplomats to soldiers, spies, and clerics—took up the mantle of the “civilizing mission” and pushed back against those who resisted militarized occupations. In turn, a gendered, racialized rhetoric became a linchpin of Spain’s growing involvement in North Africa and the Caribbean in the 1850s and 1860s.

A Missionary Nation interrogates the legacy of Hispanic identities from multiple axes, as former colonies were annexed and others were occupied, tying together strands of European, Mediterranean, and Atlantic histories in the second age of global imperialism. It challenges the prevailing notion that secular ideologies alone informed imperial narratives in Europe. Liberal Spain attempted to reconstruct its great empire of old, but the entangled issues of nationalism, race, and religion frustrated its efforts.


Author Bio

Scott Eastman is a professor of history at Creighton University. He is the author of Preaching Spanish Nationalism across the Hispanic Atlantic, 1759–1823.


“A detailed and archivally rich perspective on the ideas that shaped mid- to late nineteenth-century Spanish attitudes toward its empire. . . . Eastman both builds on and works to insert Spanish historiography into broader critical histories of European imperialism.”—Joshua Goode, author of Impurity of Blood: Defining Race in Spain, 1870–1930

A Missionary Nation closes an important gap in the scholarly literature that usually focuses only on the British and French empires. It is impeccably documented and the result of years of research on both sides of the Atlantic. Not only should it appeal to those interested in Spanish history, but it should be of relevance to anyone studying the dynamics of European expansion during the nineteenth century.”—David Stenner, author of Globalizing Morocco: Transnational Activism and the Postcolonial State

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
1. “The War of Africa Has Been the Dream of My Entire Political Life”
2. They “Were Calling Us Their Liberators”: The Taking of Tetuán
3. The Visual Culture of Mid-Nineteenth-Century Spanish Imperialism
4. Order, Progress, and Civilization: The Annexation of the Dominican Republic
5. Anatomy of an Uprising: Race War and Dominican Independence
6. Death to Spain!: Mexican Views of Spanish Intervention
7. The Traveling Society of La Exploradora: Imperial Enterprises in the Río Muni


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