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Iberian empires in modern times. Some reflections on globalization – Summary Session

"Last January 13 we celebrated in Fide, within the framework of the History Lessons forum: Men, facts and stories, the session on Iberian Empires in the Modern Age. Some Reflections on Globalization "

Fide convened this session with the aim of analyzing globalization as a phenomenon with many epicenters in which empires -and in particular the Portuguese and Spanish empires- have been decisive actors since the fifteenth century.

In this session, the forces that contributed to this process were analyzed, both from Spain and Portugal and from other areas and empires of the planet -often forgotten from the European perspective but whose importance in globalization is also worth considering-, as well as the coordinates in which both imperial formations moved, united in the crown of the Spanish Habsburgs in a decisive period of said process (1580-1640/69). Similarly, Professor Yun emphasized the relevance of social actors not necessarily subordinate to empires but which were central to early globalization, such as those by diasporas -Hebrews, Armenians and others- or by religious orders and networks of Asian merchants. and Europeans.

From this perspective, there was the opportunity to delve into the process of building a globalized world, as well as the problems that this represented for various parts of the world and, in particular, for the Iberian empires themselves. Although the presentation and approach to the debate focused on questions of a historical nature, it was thus intended to present some reflections and proposals that contribute to the understanding of the difficult relationship between globalization and empires until today.

The historical dimension of the globalization process has attracted the attention of many historians in recent years. It is particularly interesting in the Iberian context, given the protagonism that both Spain and Portugal had in it. Professor Yun-Casalilla offered in his speech a complete panorama, both chronological and spatial, of the different circuits that were weaving said network of relationships at a planetary level, not only by economic agents but also by others. They were both land and sea; long and short distances, and they spread both from east to west and in the opposite direction from the Middle Ages to the present day. In this sense, Professor Yun devoted particular attention to the incorporation of China into this process, as well as the qualitative and quantitative impact that it has had on the planet.

We have in the session with the intervention of Bartolomé Yun-Casalilla, Professor of Modern History, Pablo Olavide University of Seville and the moderation of the Director of the Forum, Juan E. Gelabert Gonzalez, Professor of Modern History, University of Cantabria.

Recommended reading:

  • John Darwin, After Tamerlane: The global history of empire since 1405 (London: Blumsbury, 2008).
  • John H Elliott, Empires of the Atlantic world. Spain and Great Britain in America, 1492-1830, (Madrid: Taurus, 2006).
  • Bartolome Yun Casalilla, The Iberian empires and the globalization of Europe (Barcelona: Gutenberg Galaxy, 2019).

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