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Empires of the Atlantic World: Britain and Spain in America 1492-1830

3.87  ·  Rating Details ·  231 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
This epic history compares the empires built by Spain and Britain in the Americas, from Columbus’s arrival in the New World to the end of Spanish colonial rule in the early nineteenth century. J. H. Elliott, one of the most distinguished and versatile historians working today, offers us history on a grand scale, contrasting the worlds built by Britain and by Spain on the r ...more
Hardcover, 560 pages
Published April 15th 2006 by Yale University Press (first published January 1st 2006)
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Sep 08, 2009 Nancy rated it liked it
Again, reading on my Kindle. Lots and lots of interesting factoids. I'm reading it in conjunction with Don Quixote. I'm pretty interested in Spanish culture mostly because I love travelling in Spain. If you haven't been to Andalusia, you have to go. This is a great antidote to the ultra-Anglophilic history of my youth.
Sep 14, 2010 Arbitrista rated it really liked it
A fascinating comparison of the British and Spanish colonial empires, it demonstrates the tremendous role that chance played in the development of British and Spanish America. Both empires were conditioned by the facts on the ground (particularly the presence of large, urbanized native populations to serve as a labor force, as well as of precious metals) and the nation's previous colonial experience (whether in Ireland or Andalusia). As Elliott teasingly describes, history would have taken a pro ...more
I had to cram this down one weekend in college. I remember thinking it was smart, and now that I'm spending some more time learning about Cuban history and Cuban music I'd love to revisit this.
Dan Gorman
Aug 29, 2015 Dan Gorman rated it really liked it
Strong prose makes this synthesis of Atlantic and transnational history stand out. Elliott argues that a combination of homeland cultures and conditions on the ground in the Americas shaped the British and Spanish empires, so that the imperial colonies differed from each other, but also from the mother countries. Sometimes the comparative format makes for tricky reading, though. Elliott tends to alternate between the Spanish and British empires within the same paragraph, prompting the reader to ...more
Sam Newton
Sep 06, 2011 Sam Newton rated it really liked it
The new movement among historians seems to lie in comparative regional analysis. Historians supporting this effort argue that rather than the narrowly-focused examination of a particular nation-state’s effect on a region, the better methodology lies in a multi-national or multi-ethnic analysis of a particular location. J.H. Elliott takes a position somewhat in the middle of this debate. He does not pick a narrow, isolated location, like the West Indies or Louisiana. Rather, he tackles the entire ...more
Apr 09, 2014 John rated it really liked it
I can't really say that people should just sit down and read this cover to cover (I didn't read it cover to cover, only the first 2/3 or so). I think Elliott tries to cover too much ground here. There are a lot of fascinating similarities and differences between the British and Spanish Empires, yes, and I was only bored occasionally, but really. Over four hundred pages...and I did find myself wondering at times, "do we really need to get into this weirdly complicated fight that the Franciscans h ...more
May 23, 2009 Amy rated it really liked it
Absolutely fascinating. I think I've said this before, but the more I learn about history, the more I know that I just don't know as much as I thought I did. There are so many written accounts of the early explorations of the New World that we never have a chance to dig into in a general history class. This book also highlighted some of the interactions between the Spanish and English explorers. The English tried to use what they learned from the Spanish accounts of exploring Central and South A ...more
Jun 28, 2008 Andrew rated it liked it
Shelves: history-skim
A hefty tome with an excellent premise: comparing and contrasting the Spanish and English empires in the New World. Solid tripartite organization into three parts:

1. Occupation (e.g., Ch. 1 Cortes and Newport: Motives & Methods)
2. Consolidation (e.g., Ch. 5 Crown and Colonists: The framework of empire; authority and resistance)
3. Emancipation (e.g., Ch. 11 Empires in crisis: Ideas in Ferment; a community divided; a crisis contained)

However, the prose is rather dense, meandering and unengagi
Gabriel Alonso arias
Oct 18, 2015 Gabriel Alonso arias rated it it was amazing
Superb in the descriptive and comparative part, not so comprehensive in the explanatory part. I would have liked a more explicit theory and variables presented and studied and not just some paragraphs about the difference in circumstances and culture between the two empires. Anyhow highly recommended!
Kevy Nathalie
Oct 13, 2013 Kevy Nathalie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Very good insight on a comparation between Spain & Great Britain's colonization of America. It gives the impression that it's biased but when yoh finish it you see that it doesn't. Gives you a lot of detail and a bunch of reference. Great for historians and economists interested in the topic.
May 14, 2010 !Tæmbuŝu marked it as to-read
Shelves: europe, history
Marty Monahan
Aug 25, 2013 Marty Monahan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic book that was pretty easy to read. It really helped me to understand who 2 types of colonies turned out so differently.
Sep 20, 2007 Jen rated it liked it
Shelves: history
Interesting but boring at the same time. I guess the main problem is it's too dense.
Jan 02, 2013 Colin rated it it was amazing
Excellent story and highly recommended.
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Sir John Huxtable Elliott, FBA, who normally publishes as J. H. Elliott, is a historian of sixteenth and seventeenth century Europe specialising in Spanish history.
He is Regius Professor Emeritus at Oxford University, Honorary Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford and Trinity College, Cambridge, Fellow of the Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford, and holds Honorary doctorates from the Aut
More about J.H. Elliott...

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