The Caribbean: A Cultural Encounter
2019 Abstracts & Speaker Bios
(in alphabetical order by author)
Jesuit Cartographic Endeavor in Florida
Institute of Social Sciences, Croatia
The tenure of the jesuits in the Florida mission field was a comparatively short one, but the story of their expeditions is a chapter in the history of the attempts by Spain to affirm its ownership of North America in the area outside of that held by sedentary native gorups, whose stage of culture was best adapted to the colonial institution developed during the early days of the conquest. After the presidio of St. Augustine was established in 1565 as the first permanent Spanish settlement in Florida, already in 1566, the first group of Jesuits, led by Father Pedro Martínez, arrived in Florida. In the period between 1568 and 1572, they invested major efforts in setting up and maintaining the missions, but, because of great resistance of the local population, all their efforts ended tragically. In 1572, the few surviving members of the Jesuit order left Florida and went to Mexico. No maps of Florida produced by the Jesuits were found from this period. In their intent to settle Florida, they used a rudimentary sketch of Florida and Cuba delineated in 1567 by Adelantado Pedro Ménendez de Avilés in order to give the missionaries some idea of the lands which they were to missionize.
Nearly two hundred years later, while the conflict between Britain and Spain was in full swing, the Jesuits would once again try to establish their missions in Florida. Tensions between Britain and Spain began to grow in particular in 1702, when the British forces attacked the presidio of St. Augustine. Hostilities continued to exist, escalating into a conflict known as the War of Jenkins’ Ear (1739-1748). In 1743, in order to maintain control of the most vulnerable part of the eastern coast, the Spanish authorities in Havana decided to establish a new settlement in Florida with a fort at Biscayne Bay. The task was assigned to the Jesuits who, through the establishment of a new mission, were to peacefully consolidate the Spanish rule in Florida. In June of 1743, an expedition of priests and soldiers was therefore ordered to sail from Havana to Florida and establish a mission. For the purposes of his 1742 expedition, Jose Javier Alana drew a maritime map of the sea route between Cuba and Florida, which were separated by the dangerous coral reef of the Florida Keys. In this paper we will analyze the content of this map, its role models and influence that the map had on the mapping history of Florida. We also will evaluate the Jesuit contribution to the cartography of Florida and the Caribbean in general.
Note on Contributor: Dr. Mirela Altić is a chief research fellow at the Institute of Social Sciences in Zagreb, Croatia. In the Department of History, University of Zagreb, Dr. Altić holds the rank of full professor and lectures on the history of cartography and historical geography. Besides here specialization in South Eastern and Central European map history, in the last few years she has published extensively on the Jesuit cartography of the Americas and conducts research in European and American Jesuit archives and libraries. She is the author of twelve books,numerous scholarly papers, and a contributor to The History of Cartography Project. She is Vice-Chair of the ICA Commission on the History of Cartography and Vice-President/President-Elect of SHD.
Discovery through Native American Eyes: Columbus, Cabot, and Cortés
Mount Allison University
European textual claims that Native American peoples found Europeans wondrous for their knowledge and technology increase in frequency in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century history books about the Spanish conquest and colonization of the Americas.Mythologies developed around these encounters that later historians further narrativized. This presentation considers historiography and Indigenous material and visual culture as a means of reflecting on European alienation to reframe the intercultural encounter through indigenous eyes and according to their intellectual productivity. Particular attention will be paid to Native American responses to the arrivals of Columbus, Cabot, and Cortés and the primary sources that scholars can use to better apprehend indigenous experiences during the late fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. In tandem, this presentation will problematize textual culture and instead propose that scholars invest in studying visual and material sources of information in order to gain access to authentic indigenous accounts of this period.
Note on Contributor: D.r Lauren Beck is the Canada Research Chair in Intercultural Encounter, professor of Hispanic Studies at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick, Canada, and former editor of Terrae Incognitae (2013-2018). She specialized in the early modern Atlantic world and is interested in visual culture and European-Native American exchanges during this period. Her books include Firsting in the Early Modern Transatlantic World (expected 2019); with Christina Ionescu, Visualizing the Text: From Manuscript Culture to Caricature (2017); with Chet Van Duzer, Canada before Confederation (2017); and Transforming the Enemy in Spanish Culture (2013). She is presently preparing her next book devoted to place naming practices in the Americas.
Plano del Puerto de la Calidonia hasta la Isla de Pinos:
A Spanish Cartographic Perspective on Scotland’s Colony in Panama
Gina G. Bennett
The University of Texas at Arlington
In 1696, The Company of Scotland Trading to Africa and the Indies was tasked to establish a colony for the purpose of creating an entrepôt in the Indies as a means of ushering Scotland into the expanding transatlantic markets. Initially, there was some discussion as to the most advantageous location to position their efforts; ultimately Panama was chosen. In 1698 and 1699, two separate expeditions were mounted from Scottish ports, one from the Firth of Forth near Edinburgh, and the Port of Glasgow. This unfamiliar region in the west was to be their home, a place for trade, and an imagined boon for the coffers of Scotland. The colony ultimately failed, but had lasting implications for all nations throughout the Atlantic.
A Spanish manuscript map of Caledonia, archived at The University of Glasgow Special Collections, offers what is undeniably the best representation of what the 3,000 Scottish men, women, and children encountered when they first cast a gaze on the Panamanian coastline. A map featuring this boat-view perspective is so useful for understanding the terrain, as interpreted from one standing in the bow of the ship. It captures a moment in time that functions as the most accurate piece of visual evidence that historians can utilize as a snapshot of the historical moment. Surprisingly, historians on the subject have yet to fully explore this map or its usefulness as a tool for telling the story of the region.
This presentation will utilize map images from the Plano del Puerto de la Calidonia hasta la Isla de Pinos to explain the provenance of this Spanish manuscript map within the other more widely utilized and discussed maps associated with monographs on the venture. It is understood that the General Archives of the Indies houses maps associated with the maritime charts and maps, yet the 1700 map that offers more detail with this coastline remains underutilized. Asking questions of why the map is overlooked, especially when comparing other Spanish or British maps against the Spanish map, now in Glasgow, with other maps of the region is important for explaining how and why some maps are more popular or useful than others. Additionally, the presentation hopes to explore the ways cartographic evidence elevates historical analysis in ways that go beyond the written word.
Note on Contributor: Gina G. Bennett is a doctoral candidate of Transatlantic History at the University of Texas at Arlington, and is currently writing her dissertation on the role of women investors, producers, and migrators for Scotland’s Company of Africa and the Indies in the 1690s. She most recently received the 2018 Leah Leneman Essay Prize for Scottish Women’s History Network for her paper, “‘If any women come over,’ Exploring Early Modern Migration in Scotland,” which will be peer reviewed for possible publication in the Journal of Scottish Historical Studies. She will be presenting portions of her work at the Hakluyt Society in Leiden, the Netherlands, in 2019. In addition to numerous conference presentations, in 2017 she received a research award allowing for a six week trip to Scotland, where she also presented at “Invisible Hands: Reassessing the History of Work” at the University of Glasgow in May 2018. She has conducted extensive archival research at the Royal Bank of Scotland, University of Glasgow, The Mitchell Library, and the National Library of Scotland, as well as at archives in the United States.
Difference and Disunity on the Early Georgia Frontier
Florida Atlantic University
Deeply connected to the greater Caribbean, the Georgia-Florida frontier of the early eighteenth century was a site of constant encounter among different peoples, including Native Americans, enslaved and freed Africans, and a wide variety of Europeans, representing but not necessarily originating in the British, Spanish, and French empires. Along this Anglo-Spanish border, empires experienced trouble with asserting their claims to the lands they had “discovered” in previous centuries. These troubles both drove and were complicated by their need to incorporate diverse populations as a pragmatic move to meet the goals of the empire.
This paper investigates the unusual mix of people living in the Georgia colony, a set of migrations allowed and supported in part as a method of protecting the frontier with Spanish America by creating dense British-controlled settlements. It explores the incorporation of these diverse groups in the new colony during the Trustee Period (1732-1752), arguing that the protection of the frontier was conceived of as more important than the original plan for populating the colony with Britons who were perceived to be economic burdens in England and a potential boon in the under-settled colony. Faced with difficulty in recruiting substantial numbers of British subjects to populate the area in accordance with the Georgia trustees’ original intentions, the colony’s leaders were forced to improvise, and they made few attempts to connect deeply or even ensure the ability to communicate with the populations they welcomed. This was a divided colony, one in which Scots, Germans, and others lived in discrete towns, associated largely with people who shared their own identities, and for the most part did not learn the English language. This interpretation of the role of migration and the failures of Georgia’s leaders in adequately responding to that migration by creating a unified colonial community on a dangerous frontier reveals the limits to the experimentation that characterized early eighteenth-century British colonization projects.
This paper is based on research in a wide variety of primary sources, including the papers of the Earl of Egmont, the British National Archives, and the Colonial Records of the State of Georgia.
Note on Contributor: Adrian Finucane is an assistant professor of History at Florida Atlantic University. She received her Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2011. Her first book, The Temptations of Trade: Britain, Spain, and the Struggle for Empire, was published by the University of Pennsylvania Press in 2016. It explores the close, sometimes cooperative relationships between agents of the British and Spanish empires through the slave trade in the early eighteenth-century Caribbean. She is currently working on a book project about the Trustee period in colonial Georgia. She has held fellowships through the John Carter Brown Library, the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History, and the USC-Huntington Early Modern Studies Institute.
Loyal Vassals or Devious Traitors?: The Portuguese in the Spanish Circum-Caribbean, 1580-1595
Throughout the colonial era, Portuguese immigrants were important catalysts of cultural encounter in the Spanish circum-Caribbean. In this regard, the role of the Portuguese in the trans-Atlantic slave trade is well known. However, there were other dimensions as well. For instances, starting int eh mid-sixteenth century, Portuguese pilots frequently guided French and English corsairs to the Spanish Indies in search of plunder and trade. A key shift occurred in 1580, when Philip II of Spain ascended to the Portuguese throne. With the Union of the Iberian Crowns, the Portuguese were transformed into subjects of the Habsburg monarch. In both Spain and Spanish America, new opportunities soon opened up for Portuguese merchants and settlers. However, not all Portuguese welcomed the dynastic change. Resistance soon centered around the person of Dom Antonio, the Prior of Crato, who was forced to flee Portugal after his ragtag army was defeated by the duke of Alba. Thanks to French (and to a lesser extent, English) support, the Antonists held out in the Azores until 1583.
In hindsight, it is easy to view the Antonist cause as doomed and quixotic. Yet, at the time, the Spanish could not be so thoroughly dismissive of Dom Antonio, due to the pretender’s alliances of mutual interest with various English corsairs and adventurers. Throughout the 1580s, Dom Antonio looked to both the West and East Indies as potential sites of continued resistance to Philip’s “usurpation” of the Portuguese throne. This paper examines multiple schemes involving Portuguese agents of Dom Antonio in the Spanish circum-Caribbean. The first major episode in his regard was Sir Francis Drake’s West Indian voyage in 1586. Drake allegedly used a Portuguese spy to collection intelligence for Dom Antonio, and the entire affair starkly divided Spanish opinion on the trustworthiness and loyalty of those Portuguese who resided in Cartagena and Santo Domingo. In the early 1590s, a second incident involved an English admiral who secretly encouraged Portuguese crypto-Jews in Hispaniola to steal a Spanish ship full of treasure and move to England, in order to help finance the ongoing activities of the Portuguese pretender. Although not successful, such news helped fuel Spanish anti-Semitism in the region, contributing to the rise of the increasingly common stereotype linking Portuguese nationality with Jewish ancestry.
The threat of Dom Antonio in the Spanish circum-Caribbean during the 1580s and early 1590s altered relations between Spaniards and Portuguese. Not only were the Portuguese increasingly viewed as possible Jews, but questions of Portuguese treason became increasingly urgent. However, many Portuguese pushed back against these narratives by emphasizing their efforts to defend the Spanish Empire against English corsairs and Dom Antonio’s allies. Especially significant int his regard was Portuguese service in local militias and imperial fleets. Despite sometimes strident anti-Portuguese rhetoric, Spanish officials nevertheless typically rewarded individual Portuguese settlers for their services to their local community and to the Crown. This paper is based on research conducted during my postdoctoral fellowship year at the University of Michigan. It draws primarily from sources found in the Archivo General de Indias in Seville.
Note on Contributor: Brian Hamm earned his Ph.D. in Latin American history from the University of Florida in 2017. He has recently published an article in Anais de História de Além-Mar, and he has a book chapter forthcoming in an edited volume on the sixteenth-century Caribbean. Hamm is currently working on a book manuscript entitled, “Crucibles of Belonging: Portuguese Immigrants in Spanish Circum-Caribbean, 1500-1680.” During the 2018-19 academic year, he was a Frankel Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Michigan. Starting in the fall of 2019, he will be assistant professor of Latin American History at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama.
Navigating China in the Post-Colonial Caribbean: Chinese Identity within Jamaica
Indiana University at Bloomington
From its colonial inception, Jamaica has been a site of globalization–a byproduct of the forced migration of African, Chinese, and East Indian people by the British Empire. After the abolition of slavery in the nineteenth century, England sought laborers from their colonies in Asia with the intent to depreciate wages against the requests of the newly freed African population (Look Lai 1993, Wolf 2010). As nomadic, poor, ethnic minorities, Hakka ( or “guest people”) Chinese were frequent targets of this initiatives–developing unique south-south networks that ultimately served as the foundation for a distinct Chinese Jamaican community. In the past decade, development investment from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has reconstructed Jamaica-China relations and rejuvenated migration from China to Jamaica. However, the majority of these new migrants are Mandarin-speaking Han Chinese, and are socio-linguistically different from the Hakka, Chinese Jamaicans who arrived as indentured laborers at the end of slavery almost two centuries prior (Carter 2016, Johnson 1983, Hibbert 2014, Serju 2014).
Foreign direct investments from the PRC into Jamaica have skyrocketed from $20,000 USD in 2006 to $79.7 million USD in 2013 (Bernal 2017, Jamaican Information Service 2018). As the Jamaican government sits poised to join the “One Belt, One Road” initiative–China’s modern-day re-imagination of the silk route that spans Eurasia, Africa and Latin America–local critiques against PRC “economic colonialism” have become increasingly prominent in Jamaican media. Anti-Chinese rhetoric and crimes against Chinese-owned businesses have increased, causing Chinese Jamaican community leaders to express concerns that growing anti-Chinese sentiment will result in riots that implicate the entire Chinese community–similar to ones that struck cities across Jamaica in the mid-twentieth century. Inherent within these conflicts is an understanding of Chinese Jamaicans and new Chinese migrants as connected members of a larger globalized imagined Chinese diaspora–and thus complicit in the new-liberal PRC development projects across the island. However, the coherence of this diaspora is one much debated by Chinese cultural scholars (Ant 2005, Sui 2001, Tu 1991). This paper will interrogate the idea of this “diaspora” by examining how post-indenture Chinese communities of the global South navigate conflicting discourses around race, identity, globalization, and development in response to the global and local pressures surrounding the PRC and ethnic identification. I argue that politics of space, race, and class within Jamaica, globalized “cosmopolitan” discourses around race centered on understandings of American racial politics, and new migrants’ models of acceptable Chinese identity provide the complex area in which Chinese Jamaican identity is developed. In response to these pressures, a distinct Hakka identity has emerged–serving as a flexible ethnic category for upper-middle class Chinese Jamaicans to both maintain ties to a complex racial identity and distinguish themselves as different from the new migrants. Spatial analysis is used as a unique lens with which to trace historical development of the Chinese Jamaican community, as well as ethnographic data and interviews from Chinese Jamaicans and new Chinese migrants. Research is based on unpublished material from dissertation fieldwork collected from February to December 2018.
Note on Contributor: Jordan Lynton is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Anthropology at Indiana University, Bloomington. Her research examines issues of race, national identity, development and diaspora within Chinese communities in Jamaica.
Gender, Sex, and Ambition: Early Anglo-Caribbean Encounters with Arawak and Carib People
Eric J. McDonald
Columbus State Community College
This paper explores the complex and sometimes intimate relations between native peoples of the southeastern Caribbean and early English explorers sand settlers. It asserts that the colliding (and occasionally symbiotic) ambitions of both Englishmen and Indians brought them together. These encounters sometimes led to sexual or romantic relationships between English men and Indian women. Enslavement and violence tended to follow, but not inevitably or without important exceptions. Through a gendered perspective, this paper will bring greater nuance to the English treatment of native peoples in Guiana, Barbados, and Antigua during the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. Gender shaped English accounts and, more broadly, became the basis for the planters to eventually subordinate and abuse those Indians they met. Scholars, particularly of colonial Barbados and Antigua, have traditionally given little attention to the settlers’ relationship with native peoples. Their numbers were small and whatever role they served as slaves or guides quickly succumbed to African slavery. Indians appear only tangentially in most studies of race, slavery, and gender in the Caribbean. Some ethno-histories, histories of exploration, and anthropological studies of Guiana give us a sense of native culture and society in the region. Jerome Handler has written more in-depth about the process by which Barbadian colonists enslaved native people of the mainland. He explained, as well as the records allow, what became of those native people who helped to plant the island.
This work will build on all of this scholarship to complicate our understanding of power relations between English planters ans the Arawak and Carib people inhabiting the area. It highlights the importance of gender, particularly manhood. It also gives deeper consideration to the role of Indians in shaping colonial strategies by emphasizing the native perspective. The impetus of their own goals and desires i9mubted their interactions with Englishmen. The resources used include travel accounts, journals, minutes of the Barbadian Assembly, and petitions to the king.
Note on Contributor: The author is finishing his Ph.D. in History in the summer of 2019 at the University of Houston. He has published papers and presented on the early Anglo-Caribbean and English exploration at multiple national and international conferences. He is currently an instructor in U.S. and World History at Columbus State Community College in Ohio.
Remembering the Prospects and Perils of Jamaica’s Port Royal: Edward Barlow’s, William Hack’s, & John Taylor’s Late-Seventeenth-Century Pilotage Charts of Port Royal, Jamaica
Texas Wesleyan University
Three exquisite pilotage charts produced int he 1680s depict the difficulties and vibrant possibilities of one of England’s principal colonial outposts, Port Royal, Jamaica. Consumed by the sea in the violent earthquake of 1692, Port Royal was one of the most important ports in the English Atlantic in the seventeenth century–rivaled only by Boston as a commercial hub. In fact, the Caribbean writ large played an enormous role in all English endeavors throughout the Atlantic world in the 17th and 18th centuries; yet, the Caribbean remains encased in North America’s historiographical shadow. One of the best ways to help recapture the Caribbean’s rightful place in our histories is to provide vivid reminders of its definitive role in English activities. Perhaps no finer locale exists to hightligh the vicissitudes of the 17th-century Caribbean than Port Royal’s unique history, made all the more real by surviving cartographic renderings of this now lost leading entrepôt.
Rather than merely being remembered for pirates and plunder, three surviving English charts of Port Royal accentuate its inherent commercial identity–the perils of its navigational hazards and the prospects of its safe harbor. Edward Barlow’s maritime journal (1659-1703) recounts numerous voyages and incorporates sketches of port-views and charts throughout the Caribbean, including one of Port Royal in 1680. William Hack, a notable English mapmaker and member of the Thames School of nautical cartographers, produced numerous charts of the Atlantic World, including copying Basil Ringrose’s infamous “Buccaneers Atlas,’ as well as a pilotage chart of Port Royal in 1683. Though neither a professional mariner nor mapmaker, John Taylor’s 1687 reflections of his adventures as a mathematician, bookkeeper, and finally a ship’s clerk on the Jamaica station aboard the H.M.S. Falcon provide dramatic observations of the island, including a chart of Port Royal that bustles with activity and architectural insights. All composed within a seven-year time span, these three charts of Port Royal are strikingly similar and contain not only dozens of navigational notations and rich views of the ill-fated town, but potent reminders of the dangers and opportunities of a safe and bustling harbor. Barlow’s port-view accompanies tales of hurricanes and lost ships, while Hack’s chart includes the course of the doomed frigate, H.M.S. Norwich, which sank in rough seas after running aground in 1682; whereas Taylor’s chart details the town of Port Royal amid exotic climes. Nonetheless, these charts exude the prodigious possibilities of trade despite its perils; Barlow’s chart accompanies an itemized list of lucrative Caribbean commodities while Taylor describes the slave trade along side the fascinating and lucrative flora and fauna of Jamaica. Comparing these contemporaneous charts helps to remind one that the perils and prospects of Caribbean commerce were a defining feature of the English Atlantic world, and Port Royal was at its quintessential epicenter–in spite of the allure of Captain Morgan and his seemingly merry band of pirates or the eventual preeminence of the North American colonies in our historical memories.
Note on Contributor: Alistair Maeer is an associate professor of History at Texas Wesleyan University. His research and publications address maritime, cartographic, and trans-Atlantic history from 1400 to 1850. Recent publications include entries for the History of Cartography Project, and forthcoming chapters in Britain in the Islamic World (Palgrave), another in Britain and Its Neighbors (Routledge), as well as one in The Routledge Companion to Marine and Maritime Worlds. He is currently working on a monograph about Edward Barlow, a 17th-century mariner who chronicled his rise from below decks as an able-seaman to the quarterdeck as captain of an East Indiaman from 1659 to 1705.
The Varied Images of Cuba on Early Sixteenth-Century Maps of the “New World” and the Confused Interpretations They Reveal
The discoveries of extensive new lands to the west of Europe set this continent into a flurry of naval explorations. The first two recorded European explorations of the coast of Cuba were made in 1492 and 1494. Although these voyages were well document, the geographical information they described often reflected what the explorers wished to see rather than what they were seeing. This information and the additional geographical information obtained from later voyages led to assorted images of this newly-discovered island, ranging from a small island to a continental-size landmass. A review of “New World” maps of the first two decades of the sixteenth century, including maps associated with the names Juan de la Cosa, Martin Waldseemüller, Johannes Ruysch, Bernard Sylvanus, Petrus Apianus, and others, will demonstrate the reasons as to why such a vast and varied array of images of Cuba occurred–first from the difficulty of obtaining the closely held geographical information regarding these recently discovered lands; second, the accuracy of the information they received; and third, the individual interpretations of these contemporary cartographers of the conflicting information they shared.
Note on Contributor: Dr. Donald L. McGuirk, Jr. is a retired physician with a keen interest in early world maps, cartographic myths, and early exploration of the New World. He is a founding member and former president of the Rocky Mountain Map Society. He has been a member of the Philip Lee Phillips Map Society since its inception, and now sits on its steering committee. McGuirk also has been a member of the Society for the History of Discoveries for over thirty years. Additional, he is a member of long-standing of the Washington Map Society and the Texas Map Society. A summary of his cartographic publications can be found at: https://independent.academia.edu/DonMcGuirk
Santa Elena: Some Comments and a Proposal on Location
Sixteenth-century Spanish explorers made a number of expeditions into the wilderness continent, that is now the southeastern United States, called the “land of Florida.” Among the most important of these were expeditions under Captain Juan Pardo into the interior from Santa Elena, the Spanish coastal base. Santa Elena was contemporary with and of equal importance with Saint Augustine, but being in the “debatable land,” was abandoned and lost for almost five centuries. Based upon a new method of research, it will be possible to finally determine the true location of the site and to open a new window on the earliest settlements and European explorations of North America.
How Business, Colonization, and Tourist Maps of Cuba Helped to Shape North American Views of Cuba, 1898-1915
Library of Congress
This article will survey a selection of maps associated with North American investment, colonization, and tourism in Cuba during the first fifteen years following the Spanish American War; during this period, the United States intermittently occupied Cuba and contemplated annexing the country. First, reports of the U.S. military governor of Cuba contained numbers of maps that helped to justify costly investments in street and sewer repairs and in the “sanitation” of Havana. At the same time as the U.S. government commitment to transform the physical environment of Havana, American companies and American-backed Cuban companies began to invest heavily in railroads, agriculture, and mining. Indeed, various railroad, steamship, and land companies, as well as journals such as the Cuba Review and the National Geographic began to publish maps of Cuba. These included single sheets as well as maps in brochures, travel books, and newspaper articles. Reflecting the latest developments in chromolithography, these were bright, colorful, and frequently simplified maps framed by photos featuring people, places, roads, and railroads. According to James Martin, these maps emphasized to the prospective tourist or business traveler how seamless and effortless travel could be from North America to Havana and beyond. And expanding on Louis A. Perez’s view that “the Cuban tourist industry was driven by North American tastes and preferences,” this paper will further show how these maps helped to make certain towns, plantations, and scenic areas visual and tangible to the (North American) traveling public. Maps were often part of the promotional literature leading tourists, colonists, and investors to have certain expectations of a new Cuba in which they could experience a healthy, safe, modern land of abundance, but whose long history with Spain and long experience with multi-culturalism were either minimized or erased.
Note on Contributor: Anthony Mullan is cartographic reference specialist emeritus with the Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress, focusing on the cartographic history of Latin America and the Caribbean Basin. He also now is an associate editor of SHD’s journal, Terrae Incognitae. A long-time member of SHD, trained as an art historian, he has a long, abiding interest in the relationship of art and cartography.
Representation of Cuba in 19th-Century Women’s Travel Writing
Dayamí Abella Padrón
Ave Maria University/Universidad de Navarra
The first half of the 19th century was decisive in the territorial unification of Cuba. The railway construction, the large-scale exploitation of maritime lines of cabotage and the invention of the telegraph helped build a global awareness of the insular territory. By this time, Havana, the country’s capital, had become the key port of the Spanish Empire in the Americas and also contained the most productive agricultural area of the country. During this time, the capital grew and prospered into a flourishing and fashionable city, bringing a series of foreign travelers, mostly Americans and Europeans, who visited briefly or stayed for a period of time. The goal of this paper is to gather the narrative testimonies left by American women and analyze their insight into different aspects of everyday life, their views on the city, its people and other women. To achieve this, thirteen testimonies have been selected that range from 1804 to 1897. Through their texts, these women provide insight into their ideas of life, expectations, and prejudices. This is relevant because, according to Edward Said, Sara Mills, and Mary Louise Pratt, the combination of images of the “other” gathered by travelers in their writings contributed to consolidate their self-identity, legitimize their civilizing mission, and therefore the imposition of modernity.
Note on Contributor: Dayamí Abella Padrón is an instructor of Spanish at Ave Maria University and a graduate student at Universidad de Navarra. Mrs. Abella teaches a comprehensive assortment of courses in the Modern Language Department, ranging from the elementary, intermediate, and advanced language sequence, to seminars on Spanish identity, history, culture, and literary production. Her scholarly interests include teaching methodology, foreign language acquisition and Spanish and Latin American Literature.
Espada, Machete y Garrote: The Creolization of Combat in the Caribbean
Alberto M. Pérez-Rueda
Florida State University
This presentation will survey the fighting systems and martial arts developed and practiced in the Caribbean in the 17th and 18th centuries. The main focus will be on aspects such as the role of race, ethnicity, and social status in the development of fighting systems as well as the weapons used, and the written and artistic material produced, while also comparing and contrasting the various techniques.
The heart of the presentation covers the development of an American form of Spanish fencing (Destreza) in New Spain, in contrast to the European and Peruvian traditions. Destreza, however, seems to be a practice limited to the colonial elite, with very little known of how much of it permeated into the lower classes. Far less is known in regard to the training of soldiers and sailors in sword combat. Other practices include Antillean, Venezuelan and Colombian stick-and-machete fighting styles whose historical record comes mainly from art representations and oral traditions which have survived to today. These comparisons provide a small window into the variations and spread of sword fighting schools of thought in the early modern Atlantic. These fighting systems were developed within a colonial caste system, including the multiracial Spanish Sistema de Castas or the more directly binary English and French ones. These connections between martial arts and class influenced how these systems spread, and how they survived to this day.
Note on Contributor: Alberto M. Perez-Rueda was born in Venezuela and came to Florida State University through the International program of FSU Panama. He graduated with a double degree in History and Media/Communications Studies in 2017. Afterwards, he worked as a research assistant at the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience as FSU and concurrently interned at the US national historic landmark, Mission San Luis de Apalachee. His passion for historical fencing and antique arms and armor–especially swords–drove him to pursue a master’s degree in HIstory with a minor in Public History in order to pursue a career in conservation and research. He hopes to work in museums and conduct further research on weapons and fighting systems used through the Latin American colonial period to the 19th century.
Re-Interpreting Discovery: Revisions to the New World in an Unstudied World Map of ca. 1535
Chet Van Duzer
John Carter Brown Library
British Library, Sloane MS 117, ff. lr-4r contains a manuscript world map in two hemispheres that has been dated to about 1530 and has been mentioned in the cartographic literature several times, but never properly studied. The most remarkable feature of the map are the revisions in the hemisphere devoted to the New World, which can be seen in multispectral images of these folios.Originally the map showed the New World as separate from Asia, but it was changed to show the new World as being connected to Asia. The map thus vividly demonstrates the difficulty Europeans faced in interpreting the new discoveries in the West, and in deciding what the relationship was between those discoveries and Asia–this confusion dates back to Christopher Columbus, of course, who thought that the lands he encountered after crossing the Atlantic were in Asia.
It has not been previously noted that the two hemispheres, prior to the revisions, were based on the inset hemispheric maps at the top of Martin Waldseemüller’s 1507 world map: not only are they visually similar to Waldseemüller’s inset maps, but some of the texts on the hemispheric maps were copied from elsewhere on the 1507 map. It seems likely taht the hemispheric maps were produced in the workshop of the Swiss humanist Henricus Glareanus (1488-1563), as their visual style is similar to that of Glareanus’s other maps, and Glareanus made multiple manuscript copies of Waldseemüller’s maps. Justin Windsor and Henry Harisse had suggested that the details of the revised New World map were copied from Oronce Fine’s 1530 world map, but in fact they were copied from Fine’s 1534 world map, as is demonstrated by some texts and place names on the map. The revision of the map is dramatic visual demonstration of the difficulty of interpreting discoveries. Unfortunately it is not clear who made the revision, or what that cartographer’s specific reasons were for abandoning Columbus’s conception of the New World.
Note on Contributor: Chet van Duzer is a Research-in-Residence at the John Carter Brown Library and a board member of the Lazarus Project at the University of Rochester, which brings multispectral imaging to cultural institutions around the world. he has published extensively on medieval and Renaissance maps. His 2017 NEH-Mellon project at the Library of Congress was a study of the annotations in a heavily annotated copy of the 1525 edition of Ptolemy’s Geography; he recently completed a David Rumsey Research Fellowship at Stanford and the John Carter Brown Library studying Urbano Monte’s manuscript world map of 1587. His recent project is a book about cartographic cartouches.
Humboldt’s Exploration Narrative and the Diversification of Economic Culture: Mexican Reformulations of Political Essay on the Kingdom of New Spain
Purdue University, Fort Wayne
In Political Essay on the Kingdom of New Spain (1811), Alexander von Humboldt explicitly contested what he described as a dominant narrative about Mexico’s natural wealth and offered a corrective. More specifically, he attacked the notion of Mexico’s riches that emphasized the ways that Mexico’s precious metals contributed to Spain’s grandeur and economic power. He countered that Mexico’s wealth was based in agricultural production for local consumption because true prosperity was assessed by the socioeconomic conditions of the local population. In Humboldt’s discourse, agriculture also replaced silver as Mexico’s leading export. Humboldt predicted Mexican grandeur based on the colony’s extensive natural riches. Humboldt’s reimagining of the Mexican economic and social landscape was clearly an attempt to shape Mexican economic culture and values.
This paper assesses the success of Humboldt’s enterprise of shaping Mexican economic culture by examining the extent of his influence on Mexican economic discourse in the early national era. Humboldt’s text was comprehensive in that it divided the economy into different branches (manufacturing; minerals; agriculture for national production and for export) and discussed the dynamic interplay between sectors. his text was clearly influential; citing Humboldt was practically obligatory. However, writers borrowed selectively from Humboldt. Thus, while they utilized his writings they also made significant departures form his vision, creating distinct visions of Mexican grandeur. Consequently, despite the fact that the Humboldtian idea that Mexico was naturally rich and destined for grandeur proved influential, Humboldt’s attempt to create a new paradigm of prosperity, ironically, inspired the diversification of economic culture.
The theme of a selective borrowing from Humboldt for a range of visions and projects in post-independence Latin America is nothing new. Mary Louise Pratt dedicated a chapter of Imperial Eyes (“Creole self-fashioning”) to the subject and Jose Enrique Covarrubias conceived of Humboldt’s Political Essay on New Spain as a “work in progress” that Mexicans built upon in a range of ways. This paper makes a contribution to this scholarship by examining economic culture din g Mexico’s early national era, an under-examined topic in the work on the reception of Humboldt in Mexico and Latin America.
Note on Contributor: Richard Weiner is professor and chair of History at Purdue University Fort Wayne and editor of SHD’s peer-reviewed journal, Terrae Incognitae. He is writing a book on Alexander von Humboldt and Mexico’s legendary wealth.
Post-Columbian Alliances and Legal-Political Interpretations on the Caribbean Individual in the time of War: The “Vision” of the explorer Juan Navarro de Virues and the attempted Conquest of he Dominican Island in 1511-1512
Jorge Zevallos-Quiñones Pita
This research will show unknown alliances between Genoese businessmen friends of Christopher Columbus and allies of his son Diego Colón, with important explorers-conquerors who set out to conquer the islands adjacent to the island of Hispaniola, in the context of the way against the Caribbean ordered by Carlos V in 1511, before the revolt started on the island of San Juan (present-day Puerto Rico) and neighboring islands by the Caribbean Indians, thanks to the discovery of a set of manuscripts that became foundational manuscripts and are the oldest survivors known about the Dominica (One of them written and sent from the same island). At the same time, the legal political thought outlined by a conquistador will be shown to justify the taking of prisoners and subsequent enslavement for violating the legal regulations of this time.
The Genoese merchants were fundamental partners in several post-Columbian expeditions within the Caribbean initiated by Diego Colón and a series of illustrious conquerors (Francisco de Garay, Rodrigo de Bastidas, etc), however, there were no surviving manuscripts that could prove it. The letters under study are the oldest surviving manuscripts that describe an attempt to conquer the island of Dominica . The vision of the conquest of the Dominican island by Captain Juan Navarro de Virués (+1517)–described in the recently discovered manuscripts–depicts the predominant juridical-political thought. The combative prestige of the Caribbean Indians of the island of Dominica can be corroborated with this direct testimony given by Navarro de Virués and confirms the difficulty of conquering this territory.
Note on Contributor: Jorge Zevallos-Quiñones Pita is a mining lawyer with a Master’s degree in International Economic Law from the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (PUCP), and with completed doctoral studies at the University of Buenos Aires. He has been a professor at the Universidad Femenina and has published two books, several legal and historical articles and numerous newspapers articles, compiled at www.jzqp.pe.