The Spanish Caribbean and the Atlantic World in the Long Sixteenth Century


The Spanish Caribbean and the Atlantic World in the Long Sixteenth Century

Edited and with an introduction by Ida Altman and David Wheat

330 pages
4 maps, 3 tables, index


June 2019


$40.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

June 2019


$40.00 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

June 2019


$40.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

The Spanish Caribbean and the Atlantic World in the Long Sixteenth Century breaks new ground in articulating the early Spanish Caribbean as a distinct and diverse group of colonies loosely united under Spanish rule for roughly a century prior to the establishment of other European colonies.

In the sixteenth century no part of the Americas was more diverse; international; or as closely tied to Spain, the islands of the Atlantic, western Africa, and the Spanish American mainland than the Caribbean. The Caribbean experienced rapid growth during this period, displayed considerable ethnic and religious diversity, developed extensive networks of exchange both within and beyond the region, and played an important role in the broader Spanish colonization of the Americas. Contributors address topics such as the role of religious orders, the development of transatlantic and regional commercial systems, insular and regional political dynamics in relation to imperial objectives, the formation of colonial society, and the effects on Caribbean colonial society of the importation and incorporation of large numbers of indigenous captives and enslaved Africans.

Author Bio

Ida Altman is a professor emerita of history at the University of Florida. She is the author, coauthor, or editor of several books, including Emigrants and Society: Extremadura and Spanish America in the Sixteenth Century and The War for Mexico’s West: Spaniards and Indians in New Galicia, 1524–1550. David Wheat is an associate professor of history at Michigan State University. He is the author of Atlantic Africa and the Spanish Caribbean, 1570–1640.


"The Spanish Caribbean and the Atlantic World in the Long Sixteenth Century conveys the foundational character of the region for the immediate postcontact Americas while also allowing room for debate and more subtle articulations of the period's historical diversity. . . . Educators will benefit from assigning the book in its entirety to specialized classes or using its many valuable individual essays to fill in the cracks of Latin American, Caribbean, or Atlantic history syllabi."—Jesse Cromwell, H-LatAm

"Covering both standard topics and less conventional subjects, this volume reminds us of the multiple research opportunities related to the sixteenth-century Caribbean that still deserve attention from scholars. It also provides plentiful evidence that the early colonial Spanish Caribbean functioned as a social, economic, and immigration incubator for the Atlantic world with far-reaching ramifications."—Daniel S. Murphree, Hispanic American Historical Review

“The editors have assembled a uniformly strong collection of essays. This is essential reading for those interested in Iberian America, the West Indies, and the Atlantic world. Bravo to Altman and Wheat!”—Carla G. Pestana, professor of history and Joyce Appleby Endowed Chair of America in the World at the University of California, Los Angeles

“This extremely interesting collection of highly original, engagingly written essays demonstrates persuasively the enormous richness and tantalizing complexity of the initial century of contact between Europeans and indigenous Americans in the Caribbean. This work provides a wonderful window on the early Americas.”—Franklin W. Knight, Leonard and Helen R. Stulman Professor Emeritus and Academy Professor at Johns Hopkins University

“This excellent volume brings together the work of veteran historians with that of a new generation of scholars in a series of detailed and innovative studies.”—Stuart B. Schwartz, George Burton Adams Professor of History at Yale University

Table of Contents

List of Maps
List of Tables
Ida Altman and David Wheat
Part 1. Indians in the Early Spanish Caribbean
1. The Cemí and the Cross: Hispaniola Indians and the Regular Clergy, 1494–1517
Lauren MacDonald
2. The Revolt of Agüeybaná II: Puerto Rico’s Interisland Connections
Cacey Farnsworth
3. War and Rescate: The Sixteenth-Century Circum-Caribbean Indigenous Slave Trade
Erin Stone
Part 2. Europeans in the Islands
4. Vasco Porcallo de Figueroa: Ambition, Fear, and Politics in Early Cuba
Ida Altman
5. Two Doñas: Aristocratic Women and Power in Colonial Cuba
Shannon Lalor
6. Between Acceptance and Exclusion: Spanish Responses to Portuguese Immigrants in the Sixteenth-Century Spanish Caribbean
Brian Hamm
Part 3. Africans and the Spanish Caribbean
7. The Early Slave Trade to Spanish America: Caribbean Pathways, 1530–1580
Marc Eagle
8. Biafadas in Havana: West African Antecedents for Caribbean Social Interactions
David Wheat
Part 4. Environment and Health
9. Environment and the Politics of Relocation in the Caribbean Port of Veracruz, 1519–1599
J. M. H. Clark
10. Hospitals and Public Health in the Sixteenth-Century Spanish Caribbean
Pablo F. Gómez
Part 5. International Commercial Networks
11. The Hispano-German Caribbean: South German Merchants and the Realities of European Consolidation, 1500–1540
Spencer Tyce
12. The Azorean Connection: Trajectories of Slaving, Piracy, and Trade in the Early Atlantic
Gabriel de Avilez Rocha

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