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Pacific Conquests

Pacific Conquests

(p.139) 5 Pacific Conquests
The Indies of the Setting Sun
Ricardo Padrón
University of Chicago Press

The establishment of a Spanish colony in the Philippines and the discovery of a workable return route from Southeast Asia to Mexico during the 1560s transformed Spain’s relationship with the Pacific and Asia. This chapter examines the geographical and cartographical work of Juan López de Velasco, the first official chronicler-cosmographer of the Council of Indies, exploring how Velasco turned the tables on a discourse about the Indies that was coming to be exclusively concerned with the New World. Velasco develops a fully transpacific vision of Spain’s overseas empire shot through with contradictions and anxieties, but also emblematic of a new approach, one that mapped East and Southeast Asia as an extension of the New World and of Spain’s colonial experience there, rather than seeing America as an extension of Asia.

Keywords:   Juan López de Velasco, Geografiía y descripción de las Indias, official geography, Indies of the West, imperial geography

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